I went to Ingles today and I went to Earthfare and I went also, all ye gods of heaven and earth help me, to the laundromat and the bulk mail processing unit and in the middle of all this fun I even cleaned my car out. A bit. At Ingles I loaded two carts with more food than the average small country consumes in a month and at Earthfare I bought a 19 pound turkey, which, I was happy to see, was available in the case by the butcher so I didn't even have to talk to anyone. Except my friend T who I ran into and who agrees with me that Earthfare, horrid as it often is, still is vastly superior to Greenlife, which always sends us both into fits of psychotic rage. Except that at Greenlife they apparently have these magic pills called Hangover Vitamins which my friend J swears by and which I am very anxious to try. I asked the hippie chicks in the herbal department at Earthfare about them and they looked at me pityingly and with a certain amount of trepidation, like I was about to whip out a paper wrapped bottle of cheap brandy or something and take a long swig. "No," they said, "We don't carry anything like that." They don't carry juniper berries, either, which means that my turkey brine is going to be juniper berry free. Somehow I suspect that this won't make even one tiny iota of difference, because I have a feeling that the whole idiotic foodie turkey brining/roasting/frying/smoking controversy is really only superstition and if you propitiate the gobbling gods, your turkey will be fine, or at least indistinguishable from every other damn turkey you've ever cooked anyway.
Only this one may not be, because this one is giblet free! I don't know why the damn thing has no giblets - maybe it lost them? - but I've never heard of such a thing. Okay, it was written on the wrapping, but of course I didn't actually read the stupid wrapping until I was lowering the turkey into the mop bucket (lined with two trash bags in the hope that the turkey will thus not taste alarmingly of Pine Sol) and pouring the juniper berry less brine over the whole thing. Usually, I take the giblets and I put them in a saucepan with some water and butter and garlic and olive oil and I keep that pot at a low simmer all day and use it to baste the turkey and then at the end I chop the giblets and put the whole pan in the roasting pan and make the gravy. I don't really know why I do this, okay, but it's what my mother always did and so I do it too. Faced with the lack of giblets, I panicked, and, naturally, called my mother.
"Oh you don't need giblets," said my mother. "Don't worry about it." Phew. I wasn't looking forward to going back to Earthfare and demanding turkey giblets from the harassed hippie butchers; I just know, on a deep level, that that would not go well. Hopefully, though, the turkey and the gravy will, and M will get here soon (even though he'll probably turn tail and run when he sees the damn mess in this house, which spent the last week being abandoned to a teenager, a 20 something, 2 crazy large dogs and a lovesick woman who's not very good at tidying up even when she's not on the phone every night for three hours) and young M will stop hovering over my shoulder asking what's for dinner or if I'll take him to Burger King. Ah the holidays. I should have bought vodka.