Another Thanksgiving meal in the books, albeit for fewer people than normal.
Each year as I prepare the meal, I get flashbacks of debacles from the past.
Forgive me if I’ve written about this before; I can’t always remember what I’ve covered in prior blog posts. The older I get, the more difficult it is to keep track – can anyone relate? – so I’m liberating myself by not even trying.
The first mishap occurred during my first big holiday hosting gig; I was around 28 years old. I wanted to start making memories in my new home, while also establishing the notion that I was in fact capable of producing a delicious meal for my loved ones.
I invited my parents and siblings as well as my then-husband’s family to come around 4 pm for appetizers. I warmed apple cider and prepared sweet and sour meatballs in the crockpot – no vegetarian husband at that time – to enjoy while we all schmoozed.
As we dug into the meatballs, I soon saw looks of disgust on everyone’s faces, but no one said anything initially. Soon a brave soul came up to me privately to explain that the meatballs were raw.
UGH. Seriously?!?! They had been in the crock pot for most of the day. Was it not on? How could I serve without tasting one?
I don’t recall what the problem was…I think I didn’t move the meatballs around enough when they were in the crockpot and the porcelain pot itself wasn’t cooking evenly, so while some of the meatballs may have been OK, others were definitely not. I ended up tossing them all because at that point everyone was skeeved out.
16 years later (16 years ago)...
I was excited about Thanksgiving in my new house with my new husband and his family, as well as my parents, siblings and all our kids. I think this shindig totaled some 30 people.
Dinner was scheduled for 6, which meant the turkey needed to be done by 5 to sit for about 20 minutes before my orthopedist brother-in-law Mark would expertly carve it – in full surgical gear, I might add. And then when the turkey came out of the oven, the other dishes would need to be warmed inside.
It may have been my first year preparing a kosher turkey, and I had high hopes for the taste and moistness of the bird. It didn’t come with a pop-up thermometer, so my plan was to cut into the thigh bone below the breast to determine when it was done.
When it came time to do the final check, I couldn’t believe it…the turkey was still raw! Again with the raw issue!
This was soooooo frustrating since I had followed the recommended timing of 15-20 minutes per pound for an unstuffed turkey and had multiple discussions leading to what I had hoped was a well-thought-out plan.
It wasn't as disturbing as the first scenario because no one actually took a bite of raw turkey – so I didn’t have to see grossed-out faces – but I saw a lot of disappointed faces crowded around the oven when I shrieked.
The turkey had to stay in the oven for at least another hour, and the hungry masses weren’t happy about it. So, we ripped open a couple bags of pretzels and chips that we had in our pantry (Whew!) and dug into the desserts too, which for someone like me is always the perfect start to any meal 😊.
I am constantly reminded of this incident whenever I am responsible for the turkey, especially since I get messages early in the afternoon from my sisters-in-law jokingly asking if it’s in the oven yet.
Here’s to next year’s Thanksgiving…and the making of some wonderful memories.