I absolutely love Thanksgiving. I know, I know. Part of the reason is that my birthday always occurs during that week (hint, hint :), but it is more than that. What's not to love? Food, family and fun.
And this is the time of year for the recycled stories. You know: the ones that family members recite to humiliate other family members.
I am going to tell these two stories for all the world so hopefully THIS Thanksgiving I can escape without having to relive them again. Let me lay down on the couch and tell all.
The first one occurred when John and I had received a smoker for a wedding gift. We were so excited! We decided to have my parents and John's parents over for a big turkey dinner. Sounds good so far, huh?
There is the matter of my housekeeping or lack thereof. Even though we only had a two bedroom apartment (probably all of 300 square feet) I was unsuccessful in keeping it clean. Nothing like the parents coming over to get me going to do the deep cleaning. I remember that I had asked John to take out the umbrella that the neighbor's cat had peed on. As I write this, I am beginning to notice the theme of cat pee in my entries. I digress.
John apparently forgot and I started crying because he didn't do the one thing I asked him to do. OK, probably the truth was that he had already done 500 other things to get the apartment cleaned up, but that would take away the drama. Great start for the family gathering.
So we have a turkey smoking out out on the grill and John has to go to the store. When left alone, I usually start talking to myself. One of the questions I asked, but didn't have an answer was, "How does one know when the turkey is done?" OK, it probably wasn't asked exactly like that (who uses one anyway?) Anyway, I dug out the booklet that came with the smoker and found the handy-dandy chart. Ah, there it was: TURKEY Leg moves easily 180 degrees
John was gone, it was just me and Buster (yes, I had a habit of naming our turkeys) Soooo, I thought, hmmm, leg moves easily, 180 degrees. I had to lift the lid (even though that was against the smoker code of conduct) I had to move the leg. Yep, I was right--it DID move easily! And more than 180 degrees! I also tested the other leg just for good measure. The lid was quickly replaced. No harm done! Right?
So John returns and after checking the gauge, according to the smoker code of conduct, to see if it was OK. He lifted the lid, fully expecting to see the Butterball picture with Buster in the legs back position, all golden and pretty. Instead, what he found was a bird with gnarled leg joints, each leg jutting in different directions. John, knowing full well that I was the only one left at home with Buster, demanded to know what happened. I pulled out the chart and showed him just how smart I was to make sure Buster was ready for the parents. "See?" I asked. "TURKEY Leg moves easily 180 degrees" John, not to be outdone, pointed out to me that it also had a ham listed and that there was nothing to twirl on the ham to test whether it was done. He said, "Sharon, that is not the degree of movement, it is the internal temperature!" Yikes. Gone were the dreams of pulling out the turkey and showing it off to our parents. We had to act fast. John got out our electric knife (another wedding gift) and assumed the scrubbed surgeon position and cut ol' Buster up as fast as he could.
I quickly got the broth and whipped up the gravy. Whew. All in time before the parents arrived. We presented the turkey in all of its sliced glory. No one was the wiser. Except one thing: don't ever make gravy with smoked broth. It is seriously nasty. Busted by Buster.
Story number two: Just a small assignment. Bring the LeSeur peas. Not Del Monte. Not any other brand. LeSeur. Got it? 5 cans. Tough assignment, huh? Go to Costco, get the little case which costs about 4.89 for 8 cans. Purchase made. Peas in the bag on the counter.
We get to the family gathering. The whole family is looking forward to the peas. The LeSeaur Peas. Not Del Monte. In the bag on the counter. At our house. Not at the family gathering. Yikes. Did you know that NO grocery stores are open on Thanksgiving? What's with that? John had to drive around and he finally found a gas station with a convenience store attached. Yep. They had them. 1/2 the size of the regular cans. And four times the price. No kidding. John had to buy 10 cans to equal what we had at home at a whopping $2.63 PER can. Yikes. $26.30 for peas. Cans were dusty and even a little rusty on top. The gas station owner was probably really giving thanks for people who can't get their act together on Thanksgiving. Glad somebody was happy.
OK, now you know my dirty cooking secrets. No need to be retold. I'm hoping for a pass this Thanksgiving! Pass the Constance (this year's turkey's name). Yes. We are bringing the turkey this year. I can guarantee no whirlybird legs. Just say a prayer that we don't forget to bring it!