Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I've Learned from Thanksgiving

Since becoming an independent adult and a mom, I've been responsible for cooking several Thanksgiving dinners for my family. This responsibility has taught me many things about myself and about life in general. Here goes:

I am incapable of cooking rolls or bread of any kind. Not that I ever really try to cook bread or biscuits from scratch. I usually get frozen yeast rolls or the Pillsbury canned biscuits. No matter, I burn them every single time without fail. Needless to say, I no longer put bread or rolls on my menu for Thanksgiving (or any other meal frankly).

Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are two different things. Really, I have a strangely sweet and kinda soupy pan of homemade macaroni and cheese to prove this. 

Turkeys scare me! The first time I ever cooked a turkey on my own was when I was in college. My workplace gave all their employees frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. I brought it back to my little apartment and called Mom to ask how to cook a turkey. That's when I learned what that little red plastic thingy is in the Turkey (pop-up thermometer) and that your cook time is based on time per pound. Even with this expert advice, my first turkey-cooking experiment resulted in a turkey so overcooked and dry it separated from the bone and was more like turkey-jerky.

The next time I tried to cook a turkey was a couple of years ago (yes it was almost 20 years before I attempted to cook the big bird again). Since thawing a big frozen turkey seems like a salmonella outbreak waiting to happen in my opinion, I purchased a fresh, free-range turkey from the local butcher. Man do those things cook MUCH faster than previously frozen turkeys! My turkey was cooked and ready hours before anything else.

Don't ask my mom to bring the cranberry sauce. From the earliest Thanksgiving I can remember to modern time, my mother purchased canned cranberry sauce to serve for our holiday meal. And she forgets to serve it nearly every time. Usually we find it in the cabinet the next day when we are eating Thanksgiving leftovers, so it eventually winds up on plate with (leftover) turkey and dressing.

Hope you benefit from my "lessons learned." Feel free to share some of the lessons you've learned at Thanksgiving. It might just save a turkey or a pan of dressing for someone . . .


Anonymous said...

Things I've learned from Thanksgiving......1)timing is everything (b/c everything can't fit in the oven at one time), 2)get up early and start drinking mimosas, 3)just before the dinner is ready (around noon) start drinking wine, 4)offer the wine to angry mob walking into the kitchen to snatch a piece of turkey. Doing these things in this order will have you "happy" and the angry mob will be so "happy" they won't notice you overcooked the turkey, burnt the bread and forgot the jelly cranberry sause!!! After all, it has been said that Wine is God's proof he wants all to be HAPPY! Happy Thanksgiving From Charming Cousin's Girlfriend....

Anonymous said...

just another "don't forget to do" take the giblets bag out of the turkey before you cook it! and always remember , its not about the turkey ,its about being together with family, They booboos do make some great stories around the table though.

Native Mom said...

Thanks for the tips Luvely Lynn. I bought 3 wine boxes at Target because of your advice!

Luckily I've never forgotten the bag of giblets, but I've heard from people who have. Very funny!

The Florida Blogger said...

The thing I've learned from Thanksgiving is to always--always--fry your turkey. Any other way is just a travesty.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and your family have a wonderful day!

Sandcastle Momma said...

I'm with anonymous - wine is the answer. I have the same problem with bread and that's the thing I always ask someone else to bring.

When my great grandmother was 99 (she lived to 104) she cooked a big dinner for everyone. Lots of folks were cranky that day and it made her mad that she'd cooked all day for a house full of grumps so after the turkey was done she stuck 4 firecrackers inside of it.
When it was time to carve it everyone was sitting at the table and she managed to light the firecrackers without anyone noticing.
Those things went off and that turkey exploded all over everyone at the table.
When the screaming stopped she told everyone they could go home and fix their own damn food.
Then she took all of us kids out back and fed us dessert. The grownups got nothing.
Best Thanksgiving I've ever had!

Nicolezmomma said...

My husband gave up on me when I burned broccoli. He is the cook in the house and is much better than I.

If I don't have a recipe, all bets are off!

Sandcastle Momma, you are hysterical.