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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A freezer full of turkeys

I finished up about half of my shopping and errands. More tomorrow or Thursday.

It was one of those wheel-spinning days when the things I can usually complete in a couple of hours took twice as long. However, I have both the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys taking up most of my freezer. (Buy one - get one). They're about 16 lbs each. Usually I try for 20 lbs but didn't see any that large. It'll be more than enough for dinner but we all like leftovers and turkey sandwiches. I can go a week after the holiday without actually cooking. I wish I could have filmed my husband and me juggling to make space. Actually, he juggled, I directed traffic. No - don't put it there, it goes over here. Poor Ray.

Debit card machines non-functioning at one place, long lines at another, and my phone kept ringing. I usually don't carry a purse but this time I did and I could never remember whether I had shoved the phone into my jeans pocket, which jeans pocket, or into my purse. Meantime, it kept on playing the first few measures of Mozart's Turkish March over and over while I'm standing there in public saying almost obscene things to an inanimate hunk of plastic.

What passes for a birthday party at our house went well. I ended up with store bought vanilla cupcakes, a small chocolate cake (also purchased) and ice cream. Cake and cupcakes came with sprinkles (always important). Disposable bowls of course, although I let everyone have real spoons or forks. Big of me. We ended up with all of us, their mom and friend, and the little boy across the street whose 10th birthday is Thursday. Sang Happy Birthday to both and Rebecca and Nicholas shared blowing out candles. He should have been a little older than Rebecca but she was early and beat him by 3 days. The older woman. They're great buddies when they're not squabbling and his mom is one of my coffee klatching friends.

Next birthday is Rochelle in January - she'll turn 11. I might put on a more impressive show but I doubt it. I hate to do something fancy once that will be expected in future. Some of my neighbors go the whole route with bounce houses, full dinners, and a party that always seems more fun for the adults than the kids (except for the bounce house of course). I keep it really simple and nobody seems to mind.

My next move is to prepare for camp. I must finish filling out the forms tomorrow and figure out what I still need. That on top of planning for Thanksgiving. I can do the menu and cooking in my sleep - it never changes (or almost never). The kids (all three generations) expect consistency from me. I don't worry for the one day about calories or anything else - just the very traditional too much food holiday. No one really pigs out that much but they expect it all to be there. I type up a list (I used to write it out), post it on the refrigerator, and check items off as they're completed. I used to forget the cranberry sauce until Elcie came along. She could eat a whole can at one sitting and won't let me forget. One year I didn't make Harvard beets because only a couple of people other than me liked them and I heard about it. Fortunately, they take about 5 minutes to throw together (with canned, pickled beets). I never made that mistake again. I thought it was just we cranky seniors who were set in our ways but my gang has it all over me.

It's always fun. Christmas is much simpler because they spend time with their own families before descending on me and it's an easier meal, although similar.

Thanksgiving Dinner
Turkey and Glazed Ham
Dressing - part cornbread - part lightbread as we say in Arkansas
Mashed Potatoes
Giblet Gravy
Sweet Potatoes - mashed in casserole sort of like pumpkin pie without crust
Deviled Eggs
Harvard Beets
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry sauce
Probably milk, juice, or coffee unless someone else brings sodas. We don't drink many.

Pies - pumpkin for sure and probably apple and maybe berry as well. We'll make the pumpkin, let Sara Lee make the others. Ray loves to make pumpkin pies although we cheat and use frozen pie crust shells. It would be the one thing too much. I cheat on a few other things as well but most of it is actual cooking. And real whipped cream. Might as well do ourselves in completely.

Cole slaw maybe - usually they head for the artery hardening stuff and ignore the slaw but I may make a little as a gesture toward healthy eating.

I sometimes end up with 20 people or more. It's a buffet and my neighbors all know to drop in.

We do love a party - all of us.


Jenorama said...

Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!

I do what sounds like the same sweet potato thing, we call it a souffle. And I make my own pies, apple and pumpkin (sometimes pumpkin cheesecake!) and my own rolls from scratch.

That reminds me, I must ask my new mother-in-law to let me make something this year at her house!

Granny said...

I'm sure it's the same thing only mine varies depending on how I glaze the ham. I use the leftover glaze (minus cloves) in the sweet potatoes. The glaze is usually made of the leftover bits and pieces of jelly in the refrigerator plus marmelade, brown sugar, the usual spices, and whatever juice is lying around. Maybe the juice from the pineapple as well. I cook it for a little while, save some for the ham and throw the rest in the sweet potatoes with a couple of eggs and a little butter. It's a no brainer. Marshmallows on top of course - I don't care how tacky they are, everybody in my house would be bereft without the marshmallows.

L. said...

Wow.... I have to get back in the swing of things after many years outside of America. I haven`t cooked a turkey in a while.

Granny said...

L. I remove a lot of the extra skin and fat and then throw the silly thing in a roasting bag, seasoned, with an onion up its backside. Elcie gets to place the onion. I stew the giblets and neck (and the tail) separately and use the broth for gravy and/or dressing. Fill in with canned chicken broth if I need it.

The purists would shudder but it works for us and I don't have to stand over an oven all day basting a dead bird. Cuts cooking time by at least 1/3 which in turn saves enery and my PG&E bill.

Granny said...

energy - darnit.

uzcubs - sounds like a baseball team to me.

Gawdessness said...

When you said one of yours could eat a can of cranberry sauce it made me grin.
One year I was going to host a little Thanksgiving at my house - our kids were not big and we were having family with three little ones stay with us so I decided to invite the rest of the intown family (one couple w/o children and grandpa) to come over for a meal.
My childless sis in law called and asked if she could bring anything - I said no because I was going the really easy route and buying frozen lasagnas and brown and serve garlic loaves - all food that I knew all the kids liked and that wouldln't make me a wreck trying to prepare.
There was dead silence and then "we aren't having turkey?".

Well, I'm ashamed to say it worked out that to make SIL happy I said that she could bring a turkey, cooked and I would prepare everything else.

Except that...well the mashed potatoes I would make probably weren't going to be as good as hers, so she would bring that.

When I mentioned that I loved the shape that cranberry jelly made in a bowl when it was dumped out of the can - there was the silence again and then "right, I'll bring my homemade cranberry sauce, it's no trouble."

It wasn't the best or most relaxing day - but I have learned and in retrospect it is kind of funny in a surreal kind of way.

Your dinner sounds like it will be great.

Except, I have never gotten the appeal of the sweet potato thing...maybe I will have to try some.

Uncle Roger said...

Ann, do you belong to Costco? You might want to check it out some time if you don't. Two gallons of milk at Costco are not much more than one at Albertsons. For a big family, it can be really cost effective. Turkeys and hams, too, and toilet paper and such. Their fresh fruits and vegetables mostly suck, though. I've been a member for 20 years now. (Price Club before the merger.)

I tend to do the huge-amounts-o-food thing too, whenever Rachel lets me. (It's the clean-up before and after that gets her.) This year, though, I might tell people they can bring something if they want, though.