I hosted Thanksgiving at my place for the first time ever this year. I even cooked the bird all by meself. Here is what I learned from the day, in no particular order:
- One mixing bowl for the Artisan mixer is not enough.
My sister Kate gave me a KitchenAid mixer as a housewarming / birthday present a month ago. (Yes, she rocks.) I used it for the first time yesterday to make chocolate mousse. Now, to make mousse, you must whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and separately beat the yolks until pale and creamy before adding various things like chocolate, coffee, sugar and rum before combining everything together to create a tiny bit of heaven. With only one bowl for the mixer, however, I had to mix up the yolk/chocolate concoction, transfer it to another bowl, then clean the mixing bowl before I could whip up the egg whites. NO GOOD. I have added a second mixing bowl to my Christmas list.
- Chex Mix is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food.
It is cereal, after all.
- Moms are expert bird carcass cutter-uppers.
I sort of watched to learn how to do it myself but I was too busy boxing up leftover care packages to pay close attention. Project for next year, or perhaps Christmas if we have a bird.
- Try a new turkey carving method. It's fun!
Instead of carving off slices of turkey breast - which is not easy and who wants shredded turkey on Thanksgiving? - remove the entire breast then cut it crosswise in one inch wide slices. You end up with short, fat slices of turkey rather than long thin ones. You still have to cut your turkey once it hits your plate anyway and this way you get big meaty pieces instead of thin insubstantial ones. And no stressing about what body part you might inadvertently cut off as you try to stand at the table and carve slices from the still-attached-to-the-bird turkey breast.
- Leaving mom's homemade fudge on the counter sliced into convenient bite-sized pieces is a mistake.
Need I explain? No, I think not.
- Stuffing and baking a turkey is so easy even I can do it.
I cannot believe I have gone 43 years without ever having 1) made stuffing, or 2) cooked a turkey. It's so easy! I used Martha Stewart's Perfect Roast Turkey recipe. For the stuffing, I used my mom's recipe, which calls for butter, celery, onion, poultry seasoning, and bread cubes. That's it. Simple yet tasty, and with no strange foreign objects like meat or fruit. ::shudder::
- Standing all day makes your feet hurt.
If it does not make YOUR feet hurt, you do not sit at a desk all day five days a week. Or you get regular exercise. Or you are an automaton. Whatever. My feet hurt! Whaa! Thank god for ouzo.
- My oven fits an 18" roasting pan widthwise, but not depthwise.
This is not a problem, except when you get to the part of Martha Stewart's recipe that says "Place turkey, legs first, into oven." I compensated by turning the pan every 30 minutes as I basted the bird.
- My kitchen is too small.
Y'all already know I do not like my kitchen very much. Now that I have cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner in there, accompanied by both my mom and my sister at various points throughout the process, I officially hate it. Though hate is such a strong word. Let us just say I have lost all respect for it as a place in which to prepare food, cook it, and clean up afterwards. Oh if only money grew on trees.
- Entertaining by yourself, though enjoyable, is not recommended.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I loved the sense of accomplishment I got from doing all the cooking by myself. I enjoyed the process of the cooking, too. What I did not enjoy was the part where I only got to sit down three times during the entire day: once to have my tea in the morning before preparations began; next at the table to eat the oh so lovingly prepared meal; and finally after cleaning up the dishes and packing leftovers for mom and sis to take home. And then everybody went home. Not really, but that's how it felt. Where did the day go? Of course I would do it again in a heartbeat.
P.S. This is what I am having for dinner.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but I feel a sugar coma coming on. ...send...protein...gaaaaaaaaaaaah...