Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Forgot to Buy Jellybeans: TGiving '08

Tuesday, November 25
1) Find out I'm cooking for six people day after tomorrow.
2) Fret briefly, then start making lists.
3) Suddenly realize that there are little stacks of papers everywhere.
4) Start cleaning.
5) Stop cleaning and start making little tableaux of dinosaurs.6) Start cleaning.
7) Stop cleaning and decide to make arrangement on mantel.
8) Start cleaning.
9) Stop cleaning because dog is looking especially adorable as she maintains a Turkey Vigil--gazing out window, waiting for turkeys to show up.* Try to take dog's picture. Wags tail but will not look towards camera. Also seems to exude some kind of dense puppy fog that makes all pictures very hazy.
10) Start cleaning.
11) Stop cleaning due to sudden fear that people will get bored--despite fact that people are all family of one kind or another and unlikely to get bored. Assemble games and activities, including concertina (third shelf down), on which it is immediately possible to play a very effective soulful tune.
12) Night falls across the land (with an audible thud). Decide to light fire. Flue somehow remains partially closed. House fills with smoke. Smoke alarm keeps blurting, "Warn-ing. Fi-re. Fi-re. Car-bon Mo-no-xide." Close fire doors. Open all windows. Take down smoke alarm, which is not helping situation, and remove batteries. Open back door. Dog--deathly afraid of smoke alarms and smoke (possibly from something that happened in Old Country)--remains in back yard in semi-fetal position, staring reproachfully up at me. Open fire doors. Poke flue open. Close fire doors. Close some windows. Re-open some windows. Spray air freshener. Coax dog inside by frolicking playfully at the bottom of the deck stairs, hands full of treats and toys. Frolic awkwardly into pile of puppy poo lurking amidst leaves overlooked during earlier yard clean-up. Dog saunters up the deck stairs and into house in relaxed fashion. I remain in semi-fetal position in yard trying to clean shoes off.
13) Call it a night.

Wednesday, November 26
1) Watch Deep-Fried Turkey Snuff Film--recommended by Clinky--several times with increasing degrees of alarm.
2) Make final menu and shopping list:
Chex Party Mix, Parmesan Cheese 'n Herb Twists, Tiny Carrots, Giant Olives
Exploding Fireball Deep-Fried Turkey
Mashed potatoes w/cheddar 'n chives
Gravy
Stuffing w/walnuts for vegetarians
Stuffing w/sausage for non-vegetarians
Roasted butternut squash 'n sweet potatoes w/arugula & herbs
Marinated green beans w/red onion, garlic, & mint
Spinach salad w/green apples, feta cheese, and caramelized pecans
Cranberry sauce w/fresh pineapple & orange; Jellied cranberry sauce for traditionalists
Primavera sauce w/spaghetti squash for vegetarians
Pumpkin cheesecake
3) Go grocery shopping. Am captivated by happy, happy peppers. "Yaay! We're Tasty!"
4) Keep poking turkey in refrigerator to determine whether it is becoming a breeding ground for lethal bacteria OR is dangerously undefrosted and will become a fireball when slowly immersed in a vast quantity of boiling oil. Jot down list of things to save when fire breaks out. Find that Chex Party Mix tops list.
5) Start prepping and cooking and do not stop until 10:00 p.m. Would have taken 15 minutes, had I not paused to take meaningless pictures. Thursday, November 27
1) During cleaning process, turkey fryer proves to have an immense leak NOT conducive to safely boiling vast quantities of oil.
2) After consulting the Google, Plan B is swiftly hatched to follow the current vogue for "High Heat Roasting." Make sure oven is clean, salt and pepper the turkey inside and out, cook the turkey at 450 or 500 degrees for 2 hours or until proper temperature is reached, and that's it. Is supposed to result in most delectable turkey ever. Casting aside grave doubts that this sounds like a cockamamie scheme I could easily come up with entirely on my own--"There's no time! I'll jack the heat up!"--I decide to go for it.
3) Harebrained--yet apparently extremely popular--turkey scheme works just fine.
4) Food eaten in approximately 5 minutes. Any leftovers go home with guests.
Friday, November 28
1) Turkeys show up for breakfast and dinner, as usual. However, a head count reveals four less turkeys than before. Hmm.