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Thanksgiving with the Murphys


Sorry this is late. I would have had it up sooner had my laptop not decided to be a massive PITA.

For a girl who has spent the better part of 24 years in the kitchen, this Thanksgiving came within inches of being an utter failure food-wise. For that, I have to thank my good ole friend Murphy (yes, he of that ever famous law that defines my life).

I am normally an ace in the kitchen. You just have to forget about my first foray into cooking when I decided I wanted to reheat some enchiladas by putting them on a plastic plate, setting the plate on the stovetop, and turning the burner on high. In my defense, I was five and enchiladas are my favorite dish.

Enchiladas aside, cooking Thanksgiving dinners has been a breeze for me since I started cooking them seven years ago. I have a game plan that I have carefully crafted over the years. I know what needs to be done, and when, in order to get dinner on the table on time.

So, I thought this year would be a breeze.

I really should stop thinking.

This Thanksgiving, there was a slight change to my plans. I would not be utilizing my own kitchen, which I'm accostumed to. Nope, instead, I would spend the day in my sister's kitchen cooking up a storm.

I thought I'd adjust to the change easily. I handled cooking in new kitchens in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 (each time I moved).

But again, I really should stop thinking.

Things were off to an immediate rocky start as I found Brandy had no butter. I'd have to get more if I wanted to send my first two items off to the oven - the turkey and the stuffing. So, I set off to the grocery store.

Thirty minutes later, with butter and the brown sugar I picked up on a whim (at least following whims seems to still work for me). I cleaned and prepped the turkey. I just needed to make the stuffing and shove it in the bird.

Of course, that's when Murphy walked back in the kitchen for a snack.

For the sake of ease, we went with Stove Top stuffing...especially since only a couple of people in my family actually like stuffing. I mixed the water and butter, but the water was not hot enough to melt the butter, only slightly softening it. I grabbed the mixing bowl with the goal of heating the watery mix in the microwave. My goal was NOT to slosh it all over myself...but I sometimes have a hard time meeting my goals.

I finished the stuffing and put it in its rightful home within the turkey, in spite of my now-soaked right leg. Without further incident, I got the turkey in the oven.

Turkey and stuffing cooking, I moved on to the next item on my to-cook list, the green bean casserole.

Again, with the green beans, we opted for wase over tradition. I had lugged my gorgeous new Crock Pot over. I'd throw all the items in, set it on four hours, and when the turkey came out of the oven, my brother Allen's favorite part of Thanksgiving would be good to go.

You'd think that it would be easy to dump everything into a one five-quart pot.

One day I'll learn to stop thinking.

That is why I ended up wearing splatters of cream of mushroom soup.

All traces of soup wiped away (I purposely wore jeans and a T-shirt and brought a spare set of clothing because I pretty much knew I'd cover myself with food. Accident-prone peeps tend to know themselves very well.), I started on my favorite Turkey Day meal, the sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are easy: cut them in chunks, boil until fork-tender, remove peels, mash, add butter and brown sugar, then roast with marshmallows on top until golden and gooey.

My only hitch was the fact that Brandy did not have a pot big enough to boil all of the sweet potatoes at once. Too impatient to cook them in batches, I decided to use her two largest pots and cook them at the same time.

I filled up each pot...too full as I learn when I began tossing sweet potato chunks into them and was greeted with the angry sizzle of water overflowing onto the burner. In my panic, I grabbed the first cup I could find and began bailing out the pots. My third bail, I tripped over my feet and managed to spill scalding hot water down my left leg.

Yup, it hurt. Not to mention that I now had two wet legs.

Soon after I wrapped up the sweet potatoes, I determined that I could do no more until Brandy returned (she was handling the mashed potatoes, and I could do no baking until the turkey was done). Less than ten minutes later, she walked in. She and her family had returned early from her mother-in-law's, and when I saw Nathan, I realized why: his face was caked in dried blood.

Poor Nathan had fallen at Jared's mom's house, splitting his gums against her coffee table. Brandy shared the story while waiting to talk to someone at the Nurse Line to determine whether an emergency room visit was necessary (thankfully, it was not). Once Nathan was cleared, Brandy set to work on her potatoes while I held Nathan. I did not realize it right away, but Alexis and Brittany soon pointed it out to me that the left sleeve of my long-sleeved T-shirt was soaked in blood. Well, it was the least I could do to help my poor nephew.

I went ahead and changed and then started back to cooking. And it was as I made my final dish that good ole Murphy stopped in one last time.

I started making the pumpkin pie, tossing all the ingredients into a bowl and mixing them well. I then poured everything into the shell. Just as I turned to put the pie into the oven, I saw one unopened can on the table. I had missed the evaporated milk.

In any other situation, I would have just poured the batter back into the bowl, stirred in the milk and then repoured it into the crust. But that is impossible when your only crust is cracked into chunks and you were trying not to disturb its fragile formation. I had no choice; I would have to solve it the Mindy way. I poured the milk into the batter and did my best to mix it up without destroying the crust or splashing batter all over the counter.

That pie tasted awesome by the way.

Despite my series of kitchen blunders, dinner itself went quite smooth. The food was awesome, the company was great, and we had a lovely evening.

Thank God!

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
wihtgar
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I'm formulating a Mindy suit in my head. It will start with a soft, absorbent, heat resistant under layer similar to astronaut undergarments, then a layer of Kevlar over the vital organs. Over that will be a layer of chain maille going from neck to ankles. The final layer will look like normal clothing, but will be coated with Teflon so as to repel any sort of stains or liquid incursions. This layer will also contain reusable air bags in case of sudden impacts. And the entire ensemble will be topped with a stylish, yet steel reinforced, Jackie O type hat. :-)
rosietherivter
Dec. 9th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
mental note...if mindy invites me out to KC for thanksgiving...take entire family OUT to dinner.

falls on floor laughing. gods i love you !!!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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