Thanksgivings Past

In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday I thought I would put up some old, related posts…to make one really long post haha. Thanksgiving 2007, the first year I ever cooked a Thanksgiving feast – not all by myself, mind you, although I might like to tell people that ;) – and Thanksgiving 2008.

Thanksgiving Prep 2007: Day 1 and Day 2 (The Day of the Liquid Disease)

Well, as I’m sure all you loyal readers – oh, wait… Okay, as I’m sure you, my dear lone reader, Internet, can see I have now updated the color palette of my blog. Fall colors and before you start kvetching, yes, I know I’m a bit late on the change. I’ve been busy, dear Internet.

I think I’m actually too tired and out of it to chronicle my Thanksgiving activities thus far. Yesterday I made the pasta sauce. Don’t look at me like that. It’s perfectly normal and traditional for us. Crazy Mediterraneans we are. I had wanted to make cranberry sauce today but that didn’t quite happen. I did buy cranberries though, I think that ought to count. There, it counts, I just deemed it such! Huzzah! My pasta sauce was so spot on though. Someone should pat me on the back.

Today I bought an organic turkey. It was so disgusting. Tons of fresh turkeys were in a seafood bin (no, there was no seafood in it; it was just being used since it was large and easy for people to access). Their blood and raw poultry drippings could be seen pooling at the bottom. Liquid pink. Liquid disease is what it was. Ugh. And the man that was being rather helpful just touched them all and would then put them in a plastic bag for you – without sanitizing his hands first. Ugh. I (think) managed to get the carcass safely into my fridge sans spreading of liquid disease. It’s sitting on foil in my fridge. Solid disease holding liquid disease. I should re-title this as “Liquid Disease.” What a fitting name.

Then I went to another store to obtain a particular wine. It better be good. It was rather pricey. I mean, sure, I forgot my wallet so the person I was with had to shuck out the cash, but, still, it was pricey. Mmmm, red wine.

I think I must head to sleep now. No, right, watch ‘The Office’ now. Yes, good plan. Quite.

I, now, bid a good night.

November 20, 2007

It’s officially Thanksgiving! Sort of…

It’s officially Thanksgiving 2007!!

I walked just a few steps into my house and was seduced by the sweet, creamy scent of my dad’s homemade pecan pie. The crust even looks more beautiful this year. My dad cooking almost always signals the beginning of a holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Super Bowl.

Not even two hours have passed but I have now completed peeling, chopping (with help), and boiling my “sweet potatoes” a.k.a. yams. I’ve made lists of everything else that needs to be done for tomorrow. My dad and I have discussed how best to cook our turkey. And now I’m preparing to add all the other ingredients to my yams. My sweet, sweet yams.

Oh, yeah, these are so fantastic! And, trust me, I’m not just saying that because I made them – I’m the first to admit when my creations are crap. Frankly, I rather hate my cranberry sauce – but I’m going to taste it after I let it set a bit. I know orange and cranberry are supposed to go well together but I think it might just not be for me. These are actually good. My only complaint is that they are a bit stringy but, as far as I know, that is because they are mashed yams. Not processed or milled or blended. Just mashed the old-fashioned way. Although, I’m sure there is something out there for me to learn that can help.

I just decided that you gotta have pumpkin at Thanksgiving so now I’m trying to decide between a pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Both are staples at Thanksgiving for me. I don’t want to get too ambitious here, but… I do have a frozen pie crust that I could use for the pie… The bread isn’t too hard… If I do it, it needs to get done tonight so as not to interfere with the turkey.

Alright, it’s 7:33p.m. and I have had a pumpkin pie in the oven for 15 minutes. At most, it’s been 45 minutes since I last wrote. I’m like Rachel Ray on speed – oh, wait, how silly of me – that’s rather redundant (of course, I don’t believe she’s actually on speed).

Alright, 7:55p.m. and all the dishes are done. Okay, except for that one mug and that brush, but I might need melted butter later… I have no idea why I have so much energy right now but I do. I guess that’s good. However, I don’t think I’m going to be able to tackle pumpkin bread tonight. Maybe someone will want to help with that tomorrow.

My deepest apologies for this not being the most entertaining of blogs but you must understand how I’m ever so busy cooking and cleaning now. All alone, too. Oddly enough, I don’t even mind that much. I think tonight is the first time EVER that I keep forgetting to have dinner. I ought to order something. But with the yams, the pie, and all the tasting I’ll be full and orange soon enough.

8:18 p.m. as I opened the oven door I was flooded with sweet and comforting smells. I don’t know how good the pumpkin pie tastes but it sure smells fantastic. I’ve even got the majority of my aromatics prepped so I just have to stick them up the bird’s butt tomorrow. Stick it to him! Haha, okay bad joke… And it’s not really his butt. Or hers.

8:33 p.m. Alright, the pie looks pretty good. I wasn’t expecting it to puff up so much. Anyway, a knife inserted near the center comes out pseudo-clean. I just don’t want to overcook it so I’m letting it sit out, as directed, for two hours. However, I am tenting it in foil for at least awhile. Alright, I best be off now. We’ll see about pumpkin bread and green beans.

My Pumpkin Pie – For Lack of a Better Title – It’s Late, People…

Okay, so I can’t get that first piece out with any dignity whatsoever but – the flavor is good. And my pie crust even turned out better than anticipated. Actually much better than anticipated.

Cranberry sauce – still bleh, imho. Just the smell of it. People are saying they like it and voluntarily eating more than one bite. Okay, fine, I guess I did too, but that was more about research. I need to try it with more sugar and NO orange. Possibly just sugar and cinnamon.

The crust on my pie tastes a little off, but I think that might be due to all the butter and edges getting pretty crispy – but not burned, mind you!

I found sage. Okay, someone else found sage. But the sage has been found safe and in tact. Just gonna rinse it and add it to my aromatics baggy and then probably hit the bed – once I make it that is. Still pretty excited for tomorrow, yay! I think I’m just excited that I get to cook so much. This week has really made me realize how much I love cooking and how happily I look forward to it. I really have enjoyed having at least one cooking or cooking related project per day. And there’s no rush on it. We’re not eating it RIGHT NOW, so that’s nice.

I, now (hopefully), bid a good night.

Thanksgiving T – 7 minutes.

November 21, 2007

Turkey Day A.K.A. Clorox Day

Well, it’s Turkey Day. My bird’s in the oven and smelling fantastic. However, in related news, my bird is also making a lot of fun noises. Is this normal? It sounds like it’s crackling. It doesn’t smell burned…yet. It is at 500 to crisp and brown it up some… That’s what Alton did. He told me to do it! It’s him, not me!

Okay, okay, coming back down from my mini-crisis… I’m only keeping it that high for 15 minutes. It totally smells like comfort and the holidays (please, how full of cheese), but it really does… And this turkey is starting to smell better and better. Like turkey legs at Disneyland. Oh, do those know how to lure me in! 9:41 in the a.m. We had the turkey in and everything a few minutes before 9:30. Now it’s…. CLOROX TIME, YAY (and the crowds go wild!!)!!

(Insertion at 11:03 in the p.m. I’m such a germ-o-phobe. It was driving me nuts as my dad and I were preparing the turkey for tasty deliciousness. I wanted to just run around with Clorox wipes. Unfortunately I had to wait until we had put the bird in the oven. It was hard. Very hard. But I got it done to satisfy myself.)

10:46 p.m. Well, I would say Thanksgiving 2007 is over but, no, it’s really not. Thanksgiving isn’t over until, at least, Sunday evening, but actual Turkey Day festivities have now ceased.

I must say, I am now confident that I can put not only a decent, but a traditional, warm, moanfully delicious Thanksgiving spread on the table – or table and T.V. tray as it were at my grandparents’ house. Sure, I wasn’t completely satisfied with my turkey – well, the white meat anyway – the dark meat was rather tasty, but I haven’t found a turkey that was moist enough until this evening’s turkey at my second celebration and Thanksgiving meal. Some of the roasted potatoes were a little under-done and, as expected, I suspected the turkey to be under-done. I’ll let you know in a few days… It was also suspected that the second turkey may have been a little under-done too. But the flavor on the potatoes was perfectly classic and perfectly delicious. My grandma’s stuffing was susprisingly exceptional – as always. My yams were just ooooh so good and the green beans were some of the best I’ve had. I’ve decided pumpkin pie may not be my fave, but it was good. My dad’s pecan pie was great and my grandma’s apple pie was just perfect in every way.

My second Thanksgiving meal was good itself, but in different ways. In a way it almost felt more like Thanksgiving, which was very nice. It’s so amazing that many of the same base ingredients were used but the finished products differed in taste – in good and educational ways. (Yes, I can be nerdy).

(I should also add that at my second Thanksgiving we watched ‘The Office’ between dinner and dessert. Then we watched it after dessert. I must say – one of the best ways to celebrate. I now deem it as a new Thanksgiving tradition. Okay, my plan was to watch Thanksgiving episodes of ‘Friends.’ That would still be acceptable.)

During my first Thanksgiving my grandfather came home (something to be truly thankful for) and I spent quality time with my aunt doing dishes. And exchanged wisecracks with my uncles and aunt. Although without the wisecracks would it have really been a holiday?

I truly enjoyed making all that I did and would love to do it again. But maybe not for awhile… say a year?

November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks in 2008

Today was a great example of why I absolutely *love* my family, extended family included. Thanksgiving was at my aunt’s and uncle’s house again. Last year I really enjoyed the holiday and it was very special as my dad and I pretty much put out the whole spread, and my grandfather came home. This year the holiday was great because more of us were together and it was traditional – or at least what has been traditional for the past few years. Getting hassled by my family for not wearing overalls, only to have them harass me when I do wear them. Having our requisite roasted potatoes and my grandmother’s stuffing. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without those foods. All being together, laughing, talking, sharing stories in through the chaos and loud volume. It’s my family and it’s what I love. I get the same feeling when with friends, who, really, are just part of my extended family. Talking on the phone with people I wouldn’t otherwise be able to be in contact with; it’s a way to celebrate together. There is just something so special about family. It’s such a unique thing. A feeling of comfort that, in some cases, comes just from being surrounded by the same people for many years or from the fact that you share DNA. It seems like such an odd connection to have. Really, neither of those mean you’ll be friends or enjoy spending time with each other. But it’s supposed to mean that – and I’m lucky that in my family, more or less, it does. We all can just have a good time together. That’s what it comes down to.

Last night Thanksgiving was already in the air with the scents of freshly baked apple and peacan pies courtesy of my dad. That’s another tradition. I made green beans with bacon and garlic. Now that seems to another tradition.

I am sad that this year I didn’t get to do as much prep for the holiday, but I think for better reason I didn’t get to this year than I was able to last year. Now I have Thanksgiving Continued to look forward to on Sunday. I hope that becomes a tradition as well.

November 27, 2008

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