** I will be hosting another holiday giveaway TOMORROW! Be sure and stop by! **
** The winner of the Stella & Dot necklace is: Mary Lu with comment #74 **
** The winner of the LeAine Dehmer Clinical Skincare Starter Kit is: Hallie with comment #30 **
I've been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for years. The first few times I took on such a monumental cooking task, I worried excessively about making everything perfect. The table centerpiece, the food, the timing of the dishes, the desserts – everything needed to be perfect or I felt like a failure.
One good thing about the car accident?
My perfectionism has gone right out the window.
When things go wrong, I no longer worry (much) about it. Life goes on, and most of the things we worry about on a day to day basis aren't really of much lasting importance anyway.
This year, more things went wrong in preparation for Thanksgiving than any other year.
To start with, every year I've used a recipe for roasting my turkey which has been handed down through generations. It doesn't require brining the turkey. It's delicious.
This year, I bought a 23 pound, free range, antibiotic free, hormone free, super natural turkey. It was allowed to live a fun turkey life before someone killed it for my dinner. (A carefree turkey life also resulted in it being the most expensive turkey on the face of the earth.)
The day before I cooked it, I started reading more and more about the need to brine free range turkeys since they aren't injected with all the crap the regular store bought turkeys are. I started worrying I might ruin the most expensive turkey on earth if I prepared it the way I've prepared a zillion other turkeys before it.
Twitter friends began giving me advice on their favorite turkey brine recipes. I've never brined a turkey before. I put the big, gigantic, turkey in a huge brining bag. I might have overfilled the bag with too much brine.
Then, as I went to seal the bag something went wrong and brine came rushing out all over me. I was drenched in turkey brine. (And yes, I do mean drenched!) I hastily mopped brine off the counter top, the floor, and myself – all the while musing how juicy, tender, and tasty I would be the next day. Fortunately, I was able to salvage enough of the brine to still soak the turkey overnight.
Thanksgiving morning found me busy making oyster stuffing. My stuffing recipe takes quite a long time to make, and it needs to be made before the turkey can go in the oven since I stuff the turkey with it.
When I pulled out the cans of oysters I bought, I realized they were not actually oysters at all. Somehow, I had mistakenly bought clams instead.
I quickly dressed and bolted to the grocery store (sans makeup or brushed hair) to buy the needed oysters. Of course, looking like a total disaster meant I ran into numerous people I knew while there. By the time I got home and made the stuffing, I was running an hour behind schedule.
As I worked on the stuffing, I asked Briefcase if he could change a light bulb for me. My kitchen has recessed lighting and a bulb had burned out. A minute later, I heard the crash of splintering glass and Briefcase swearing profusely. While standing on a ladder, he had dropped the bulb and it had shattered everywhere on impact. Briefcase began cleaning up splinters of broken glass.
At this point, I began to giggle.
What else could go wrong?
Well, it turns out – plenty.
I got the turkey in the oven, but I had leftover stuffing.
I pulled out my, one and only, really nice (Emile Henry) ceramic casserole dish to put the remainder of the stuffing in. As I did so, I realized *someone* had thrown another heavy dish on top of it in the cupboard and broken it. Briefly, I mourned the dish. I have other casserole dishes, but this was my only nice company-worthy one. I transported it to the trashcan, all the while reminding myself it's only a casserole dish. There was a story behind that dish, however, and I felt like I was discarding an old friend.
I began working on the next side dish which was sweet potatoes. I had three cans of sweet potatoes to open. (No, I wasn't using fresh – don't judge me, I'm three weeks post-surgery.)
I opened the first two cans. When I placed the third can in our can opener, it EXPLODED.
And yes, I mean EXPLODED!!
"Light syrup" became an eight foot geyser rupturing out of the can. It coated my stove, my kitchen cabinets (reaching up to the ceiling), my coffee maker, the floor, and ME. Everything within eight feet, in every direction, was coated with sticky syrup. It was ALIVE, I swear it was! I've never seen anything like it in my life.
I had a toxic can of sweet potatoes (with a good code date) on my hands and it wouldn't stop spewing sticky syrup over everything. I held the can at arms length, yelling at it to STOP!
How does that happen?
RC came running in to see what was happening. I handed him some money and begged him to make our second trip to the grocery store on Thanksgiving morning to buy more sweet potatoes. While he did, I began scrubbing down myself, and the entire sticky kitchen. When he returned, I was still tackling the viscid mess.
Awhile later, the sweet potatoes caught on fire. I'm not joking. Huge 18 to 24 inch flames were lighting up my kitchen! We managed to extinguish them fairly quickly. I discarded the burned parts and managed to salvage the dish without it affecting the flavor. There's nothing like an extinguished kitchen fire on Thanksgiving to make you feel grateful. (After all, we did save the house from burning down.)
Oh – also, there was one more thing!
I bought two cheesecakes from The Cheesecake Factory this year. (I don't do this normally – but again, three weeks post surgery!) When I picked them up at the restaurant, they told me to keep them frozen until one hour before serving. "Just set them on the counter an hour prior to serving and they'll be perfect," said the cute little 19 year old at the counter.
I pulled them out TWO HOURS prior to serving and they were still frozen as hard as rocks when it was time to serve dessert. They did taste very good the next day with leftovers, however. (A couple bites of frozen cheesecake goes pretty nicely with coffee anyway.)
In spite of it all, the turkey ended up being the best tasting turkey I've ever prepared. In addition, although my timing in the kitchen got screwed up, all the side dishes turned out fabulously. We did end up having a later meal than originally planned which meant more Wine Time before dinner. With enough wine, no one really cares what time they eat or whether or not everything is exactly perfect.
Now it's your turn.
Make me feel better. (Please?!)
What holiday kitchen disasters have you experienced?
© Twenty Four At Heart