The day of gorging on turkey began as usual with my
He says,"Honey, I just want to be close to you,"as his leg vibrated uncontrollably against the outside of my thy.
Realizing this was the first test to my new found inner calm, I remained passive. The reality was that in my head I was screaming, "Aggghhhh!" Kind of like Peppermint Patty in a rage. But no yelling at the husband on Thanksgiving. I promised my self I would remain peaceful-like today. After all, I could not let the good thoughts from the meditative hippie be in vain, right?
"It's party time." Mike's statement went unanswered due to my slow, deep breathing which was controlling my urge to throttle him or at least throw a hard hockey style elbow.
My carefully metered reply was, "Can you tone it down just a little today? Like maybe get down to about 100 decibels or so?"
Mike's giddy smile followed, accompanied by some goofy faces. My request was of no use. He remained a gigantic puppy with floppy ears and no facial hair. A little drool and the picture would be complete. At this point I am making Note to self No. 1: Stay clear of hyper active husband today. I would just have to keep my distance where possible.
Next The Food:
I attempted to tackle a complexity of cuisine never before seen from my kitchen at Thanksgiving, with a level of difficulty at about 7. With my play book straight out of Sunset Magazine I made a game plan to launch me to culinary victory. My assignments for our fabulous feast were: stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and the rolls. Suzi tackled the bird, sautéed mushrooms, green beans, hoerderves (holy crap I spelled it right on the first try), and Mother-in-law Darlene made the desserts and gravy. Yes, it was a real team effort here.
My Dish No. 1: Overnight Soft Herb Rolls. First, I must say Thank You to Sunset magazine. Because of your inspirational photography, I decided to go extra fancy this year with home made bread rolls that require about 15 minutes of kneading. However, editors of Sunset please note: The directions should say: "Knead dough until carpel tunnel syndrome flairs and your wrists are searing." Since I made two batches of 12 rolls, I now know why the European baking goddesses have shoulders like linebackers and baseball mitts for hands.
My Dish No. 2: Meyer Lemon Cranberry Sauce. Directions say use one 12 oz bag of cranberries and add two Meyer lemons. I was in trouble at the onset since the store only had plain lemons. Am I allowed to make such substitution? What happens if you don't have Meyers? Well I have lived to tell the tale: nothing happens. I made the sauce with regular old lemons and amazingly the sky did not fall from the heavens.
My Dish No. 3: Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing. This extra special stuffing was chosen due to the King men's love of artichokes and the wifes love for mushrooms. I figured everyone gets something they like out of it even though my father-in-law, Greg, says, "Eatin' mushrooms is like chewin' on a rubber tire." But we were not competing in NASCAR now were we. What could possibly go wrong here?
First instructions were to "brown the vegetables in a 12 inch pan." This would have been nice if all the produce would have fit in a 12 inch frying pan. Dear Sunset, please edit recipe to say,"brown vegetables in horse trough sized container." Then about the so called "browning." All the cooking vegetables made a lovely brown broth at the bottom of the pan. So now I was making soup. I figured I had to remove the broth...a task for which I was not prepared. How to get the broth out without dumping the vat of veggies was illusive. Spooning it out was not working so well. Then the power play kicked in and I found my kids hot pink colored easy dose dropper. You know those sucky bulb things you use to medicate your kids with Tylenol and Ibuprofen. So there I am suctioning one teaspoon of vegetable broth at a time with a fuchsia colored baby baster. Lovely. I must have made Martha proud at that point.
While the mirepoix was cooking, Mike came in to investigate. Then the hysterics broke out. The bellow explodes, "You're cooking onions....." According to my husband onions are toxic vegetables who's only purpose is to inflict agonizing blindness on people like him. Note to self No. 2: Cook onions to get Mike out of house.
With my brief window of opportunity I showed Mike the large quantities of ingredients and explained my cooking pot and bowl size problems. He surmized, "You could have just halved the recipe." How can I argue with logic... But that being said my last note to Sunset Magazine is: The recipe should be revised to say, "use small satellite dish to mix vegetables, bread cubes, artichokes and cheese."
Lastly, the stuffing recipe from Satin calls for a final ingredient. Mix in one one solitary scrambled egg. At this point I thinking... huh?? WTF!! Then a whinny brings me back from the abyss. I have forgotten to feed my horses their lunch. Big oops. Then worse I remember they still have their blankets on. Oh crap. The poor horses are out in the barn sweating under their blankets since it warmed up to like 65 degrees. Sorry horses, I am coming.
Things get a little fuzzy about here. The arrival of the relief pitcher containing beerritas occurred somewhere after this. Suzi to the half time rescue. Coincidentally, that brought us up to naps for the kids. Except as I am half snookered as well I have to lay down for a few minutes too. Note to self No. 3: Drinking on an empty stomach is stupid and for amateurs.
After my recovery period in time out, I was blessed by my baby Ella reentering the game but looking a bit injured. She came walking out from her room holding her butt. "What is it?" I asked.
"Owie, owie, pocket, owie pocket owie..." she babbled. I reached down to check her back pocket and extracted a two inch long yellow brontosaurus from her buttt. OK who did this to her? And she slept on it too. Poor baby.
And then finally, My Dish No. 4. Instant mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon. Picture a lady cooking bacon with white bed sheet wrapped around her midriff to protect her
And mommy Julia chose the following subtle leopard print apron with pink trim to be delivered by her Secret Santa, aka Suzi:
The MEAL itself went off nicely with all the dishes being eaten by the majority of our family. Since the eating part usually spans no longer than 20 minutes at best, there was not much to report. However, the topping of the evening was the statement by brother-in-law, Jeff, who said at the very end of the meal, "I really don't like Thanksgiving food. The food is just not what I want to eat."
And my somewhat prompt and aggressive reply was, "Why don't we just cancel Thanksgiving then."
Then there was a stunned silence for the next few seconds in the dinning room. A few people looked at Jeff and then looked to me. Tension was mounting greater with every second that ticked away. I really do know how to shut down the conversation at a family gathering. It's a special talent that I have acquired over the years especially when interacting with my brother-in-law. But it was not to last too long.
The backtracking Jeff came back with, "Well, I would rather have lobster or ribs or something..." and at that point I just walked away.
Since no one complained we were eating "swamp grass" or said "this food is full of weeds" Suzi and I deemed it a successful Thanksgiving meal. Dessert was somewhere in the distant horizon but I was too full to look for it. At this point in the evening, I was not even thinking about what to do for next year. We have 364 more days to worry about that anyhow.