Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I can reflect on the feast and forgive myself for some mishaps. I loved surfing the web and reading everyone’s Thanksgiving Roundups of the recipes on their lists as the holiday drew near. And the pictures. OMG the PICTURES!! I wanted to make my own Roundup post, but I wasn’t quite creative enough early enough, and truly, I decided the other bloggers’ roundups were sufficient enough without my duplicates tagging along behind them. At any rate, I had a fabulous meal planned for the night before Thanksgiving with some dear friends who were visiting for the holiday: Stuffed wild turkey that Dom brought home from his latest Texas hunt, baked sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, roasted cauliflower, homemade yeast rolls, sautéed spinach and green beans…I had it goin’ ON! Now, the kicker here is that with the exception of the homemade yeast rolls, the entire menu was to be paleo. Yep. Grain- and refined-sugar-free. Dom and I changed our eating habits at the beginning of November, and I wanted to make sure that our dinner was in line with our dietary preferences. I went to my most trusted sites for the ideas and the directions, I shopped till I dropped and I came home from work at noon on Wednesday to begin cooking. I spent the next five hours proofing bread, stuffing turkey breasts, and scrubbing veggies. Our guests arrived, they got a nickel tour of the new home…
And then I burned the turkey.
Yes, folks, you read that right. I burned the turkey. I threw open the oven door and a wave of smoke poured out as we peered in at a darkened pan and some pitifully weathered-looking stuffed turkey breasts. Oh, but that’s not all I did. Moments before my guests arrived, I had turned a half-baked pumpkin bread out of the pan, stuffed it back into the pan and continued cooking it; I failed to follow directions for a paleo piecrust, ate part of the crust by myself while I wondered how to use it in a trifle, and then chucked the idea and whipped up a basic flour-dough pie crust; I frantically and mistakenly added too much agave nectar to the pumpkin pie filling, which resulted in an embarrassingly sloshy pie; I under-roasted the cauliflower; and as I sautéed my green veggies, I noticed that I had neglected to cut the stem ends off of my beans after washing them. All this before I had uncorked the first bottle of wine!!! In fact, by the time we set the table and picked up our forks, the only menu items that had come through unscathed by my kitchen catastrophes were the baked sweet potatoes and the rolls.
What’s a Martha-Stewart-wannabe to do? Well, she’s to open a bottle of red wine, apologize to her guests, fill their glasses and let it go. Except that I’m not really so good at letting it go. Never have been. The only way I can really let something go is to write it all out. Hence, this blog and your personal tour of the crazy in my head.
We had a delightful evening. My guests, Stacey and Lee, were entirely more gracious than I deserved, even if they were a bit hungry at the end of dinner. (I truly hope they weren’t, but I’ll never really know.) However, I awoke the next morning with the awful embarrassment of the final results, much like a foggy hangover through which one vaguely remembers dancing on the table. (Not that I would know anything about that, mind you.) I texted Stacey immediately and confessed my continued mortification, apologizing again for the burned turkey and sloshy pie. There’s a reason she’s my best friend: she has been present for 95% of my embarrassing moments. The other 5% she knows by heart as if she had experienced the drama personally. The only thing she doesn’t know about me is whether or not I was really trying to sing well that one day in college. And I still ain’t sayin’!!!
I shared my culinary failings with my mother on the telephone the next morning, and it was at that point that I realized my fatal flaw for the dinner: I was serving four dishes that I had never made before, with recipes that were vastly different from mainstream holiday recipes, and I gave myself only five hours to pull it all together. I quite technically bit off more than I could chew. Problem was, everyone at my table had to chew it too.
The wine, however, was excellent and the company even better! I hope you and yours had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.