Thanksgiving 2023

Did not go off without a hitch or two. I was soooo prepared, I thought. This will be easy peasy, I thought. No problem, I thought. Oh, it will be so Norman Rockwellian, I thought.

I thought wrong.

Let’s debrief. We were planning on dinner for about 18 people. I’d handed off sides and pies to various other family members so we were good there. We (OK, he) deboned the turkey the night before and I browned the bones and made stock from them. (I am sparing you the images from the turkey abattoir which are just too gruesome to endure.) The browned bones in the InstantPot, again, too ugly to share. But the next day with a gallon of luscious stock, chopped giblets and 2 bags of Brownberry sage and onion stuffing, plus an addition of Pepperidge Farms marble rye cubes for extra deliciousness, we made the stuffing, filled the damn thing and laced it up.

Heart, giblets and liver, chopped

This is the secret to sublime stuffing. Liver, heart and giblets finely chopped and added to the dressing—before anyone sees because anyone witnessing it will strenuously object to it as “totally gross.” And they’re not wrong but we were using the entirety of the bird. As much and thoroughly as we could. Farm to table, or nose to tail, or whatever. I would say we were honoring the bird by using everything but the beak. But let’s face it, in truth we are just making the best stuffing we could make for deliciousness sake. Furthermore, this is what my mother always did and her stuffing is the quintessence of stuffing splendor.

OK, yes, it was grotesque. I will give you that. It looked vaguely like a headless child. But the deboning the turkey makes it easier, once cooked, to slice and serve. This assumes the turkey is cooked. And that is where we (I) fell down. The heat probe I put into the bird that monitors the temperature whilst in the oven told me it was done.

It was not.

Loaded into the roaster it lost its childlike quality and took on a more, I dunno, pillow-like, proto-blobular aspect that then loses it’s vaguely upsetting appearance for something also unappealing but not immediately repulsive. As I’ve said, the perfectly roasted, deboned bird is the final goal here. No one need see it in its unroasted form. Only to be revealed later, sliced and steaming, artistically arranged on a platter to the oohs and ahh of the assembled masses.

I want you now to imagine 19 people milling around in my small house faint from hunger and, to be honest, with utterly nothing else to do but wait for dinner so the pressure was on. And so when the oven probe announced the proper temperature had been reached we (he) sliced open the turkey only to discover the bloody raw interior.

To my credit I did not, as much as I wanted to, throw my hands into the air, shriek and/or collapse into a gagging heap of tears and choking sobs on the floor, so that was my contribution to the situation. To his credit, Husoor sliced the thing fully in half, exposing the uncooked part, whipped it back into the oven, upped the temp to 375, and announced “dinner in 15!” which, while not exactly accurate was enough to mollify the crowd to the point that they put down their pitchforks and torches and sat calmly back down.

Eventually the food got served and everyone had a fine time and I’d worried needlessly.

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