Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving, Part 1: The Day Before

I went and got the turkey this morning at Earth Fare, one of our two local hippie supermarkets. I hadn't ordered one ahead of time, which is a faux pas, I know, because last year they yelled at me on the phone and I had to go get one at Greenlife. I don't know what it is, I'm compelled to buy eco-friendly turkeys only, despite the fact that all year long I eat meat from horribly abused factory farm animals and succeed in just not thinking about it while saving beaucoups de dollars. But once a year, I can't avoid the guilt and thus go majorly organic. Instead of calling, I just showed up, made my way through the hordes of obnoxious rich baby boomerslovely ex-hippies who make up the Earthfare audience, and went to the meat counter to ask humbly if I could have a turkey. "No," they said, "You have to go to the Community Room and talk to them." I went to the Community Room, where I had a cup of free hot cider and sat in front of two nice ladies to talk about my turkey needs. They interviewed me. I thought they were going to ask if I was going to give my turkey a good home and I was prepared to lie through my teeth. Instead we got into a conversation about brining, and juniper berries. Since I was nervous (I'm always nervous when I'm being interviewed by total strangers) I started cracking bad jokes about bathtub gin. One lady laughed and the other looked at me pityingly. I took my slip of paper that said I was approved to buy an extremely expensive semi organic turkey and went back to the meat counter.

At home I made Alice Waters turkey brine and put the turkey & brine into my biggest stock pot. It didn't quite fit. "This happened last year too." said M lazily from his video game. "Last year you got all freaked out. Just jam it in there." So I did, and put it out on the front porch with rocks on top to weigh it down and discourage any animals. Then I got M to split the white pumpkin that's been sitting on the porch since Halloween (the old man I bought it from at the Farmers' Market said it would make a good pie, so I didn't carve it; yeah, okay, a month, kind of eepy, but a month is as nothing in the life of a pumpkin. Right?) M used the big enormous axe and parts of pumpkin flew all over the yard. The split parts were full of mud because the axe kept landing in mud - M was enjoying himself way too much. No matter. Mud is good for you. It's full of minerals.

Roasted the pumpkin, then followed the recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin to make a pie. There was way too much pumpkin, so I threw the rest of it into a buttered pie dish with no crust. Then I made an apple pie. Then I made squash soup. Then I washed a million dishes. We ate the crustless pumpkin pie, or, well, rather I ate the crustless pumpkin pie and the kids made retching noises over the sink. "It tastes like mud!" they said
"It's earthy," I said, loyal to my pie, "It's organic and natural and old fashioned."
"Gross!" they said, "I just got a big old glump of mud in my mouth! I'm not eating dirt, Mom!"
Damn modern kids.

Somewhere in here my friend J came over and we drank some beer and A went out and M & I ate the rest of the tuna casserole and watched Donnie Darko and then, eventually, I fixed up the table with an old Indian hippie bedspread and what was once my great grandmothers prized handmade Irish lace tablecloth except now it's a bit stained and a trifle dish full of apples and tangerines and some lilies I got at Ingles for $3. Then I felt sad and had another beer and thought about the 20 odd years I've been making Thanksgiving dinner.

"20 years!" I said to M. "And in another 10 years or less it'll be A's turn to do it at her house with her husband."
"Yeah?" said M, "Then what?"
"Then it'll be your wife's turn." I said chauvinistically.
"Forget it." he said, "I'm not getting married."
"Then who will make your Thanksgiving dinner?" I asked.
"Uh, the local homeless shelter?"

He knows how to send me into conniptions. Tomorrow I will go completely berserk and cook 10 things, yes 10, because I am a Taurus with Cancer rising and Thanksgiving must always be the same, the exact same every year, or I become discombobulated. Although going out for Chinese like normal people would probably be a good new start.

Tomorrow's Menu:
Roast Turkey (brined, with herbs)
Stuffing (bread crumbs, apples, mushrooms, bacon, herbs)
Gravy (in the groovy 50s gravy boat)
Cranberry Sauce (2 different handmade kinds - a raw & a cooked)
Mashed Potatos (real, need you ask?)
Green Bean Casserole (the nasty delicious white trash canned kind)
Broccoli (the token healthy dish)
Carrots with Ginger and Honey (the other token healthy dish)
Creamed Onions (my favorite)
Squash Soup (my mom is on a liquid diet)
Roast Turnips with Rosemary (my other favorite)
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie (with real whipped cream)

and away we go, yet again.

No comments: