Thanksgiving 2010 - Thanksgiving Turkey

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Thanksgiving 2010

I had a tough decision to make this Thanksgiving. I’m really the only one in the family who cooks. Or at least who cooks extravagantly. Last year I made the entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. And, for very many reasons, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I wasn’t really in the mood to do that again this year. We tossed around a few ideas. We debated just going out to eat. Which I was really tempted to do. But, since I probably won’t be there next Thanksgiving, and maybe the one after, I kind of wanted a meal at home.

So, with the help of my awesome Whole Foods guys (they know me, because it’s a block away, and I am often quite incapable of planning past a meal or two so they see me a few times a week sometimes) I came up with a good compromise: I would make the turkey and buy everything else pre-made.

When I told people my plan to buy Thanksgiving catered by Whole Foods everyone said “that’s got to be expensive!” But really, it cost about $60 for all the sides and fed six to eight people, which is way less than what it would have cost to try to make it all on my own.

So I got up early on Thanksgiving day and drove to the Whole Foods and stood in line to pick up my food and then drove to my mom’s place and stopped at the Starbucks for a crème brulee latte. Did I mention how thankful I am that Starbucks is open on Thanksgiving?

I got to my mom’s place and loaded everything into the fridge. And then I went to the computer and googled “how to make a turkey.”

It’s not that I’d never made a turkey before, I’ve been helping out with Thanksgiving meal prep since high school and even made a few Thanksgiving feasts for friends in college and made one last year. But it’s one of those things that since I only do it once a year I never remember how long to cook it to or what the temperature should be.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

My sisters and aunt and nephew and brother in law came over and we all ate lunch together: some soup, some bagels, some salad…not even dinner time and I was already eating too much!

Thanksgiving Dinner

My aunt had made other plans and my sister was off to her husband’s family for dinner, so they left a bit later leaving only three of us for dinner.

So I buttered up my turkey and set it a cooking!

Thanksgiving Dinner

And then waited. And waited. And waited.

After three and a half hours I checked the temperatures. Now, in the drawers of the kitchen I found three different thermometers. Three! And, well, each one gave a different temperature! One of them was drastically over the ideal and another drastically under! I decided I would prefer a dry turkey to salmonella so I kept it cooking until the under one reached the correct temp.

And then I took it out to rest and threw all my purchased sides in the oven to heat up.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Did I mention that I had a 12.5 pound turkey…and sides for six to eight…and two pies…for three people? I only cooked up about a third of what I had on hand!

And then I carved the turkey…Now, I consider myself a decent cook…but one thing I have never ever ever learned is how to cut meat. So, by “carved the turkey” I just kind of meant “hacked away at it”…but really who cares?

Thanksgiving Dinner

And then I got everything out of the oven. And then I burned my hand getting the rolls out. And then I got a cold soda can to hold to sooth the burn and any time I let go of the can I felt like I was going to faint so I continued to hold a soda can all through dinner (seriously, it works way better than an ice pack because it is the perfect shape to hold). And it was all kind of ironic because I gave up soda six months ago and it was my first holiday not drinking soda…

But anyways.

All the food was delicious but I told everyone that they weren’t allowed to say it was the best Thanksgiving ever because I didn’t really make most of it.

Thanksgiving Dinner

And then it was time for pie and we ate little slivers. And in the end we had over half a bird and two-thirds of the sides and almost two pies leftover…but who really cares because it just meant I’d have a few meals left to eat.

Thanksgiving Dinner

So I drove home with a box full of food, and got to my freezing apartment with a broken heater and took some leftover vicodin for the pain and it didn’t really work and fell asleep with a cold Pepsi in my hand.

And that was Thanksgiving.


p.s. Here are some random quotes from the night…

Mom: Do you have caller ID on your blog?

Jen: We can eat Jesus!

Me: I want pajama jeans. They’d go well with my snuggie.

Mom: Do I get YouTube on my computer?

Jen: Well, I guess we can have a funeral for her before she leaves.

Me: Oh, you know what I didn’t do? Baste it.

Mom: when you go to Europe and decide you’re going to live in Australia…


p.p.s. you should totally watch this video of how Joey Chestnut does Thanksgiving…even though he hates me.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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