16 November 2007

Hoedown

So.

Thanksgiving.

We in the U.S. celebrate it next week. I sort of didn't realize it was so soon until my family enlightened me the other night. I've been in one those "don't-know-the-date" fugues of late. I mean, I knew it was November, just not that next Thursday had crept up out of more or less nowhere.

I ran out to the grocery store yesterday (I was auditioning yet another new grocery. It failed miserably. Just so you know.) and bought the necessary items because I do not shop the week of a major holiday. The insanity and bad tempers and shoving people are holiday killers for me. I stay away.

I found a nice little (12 lb.) turkey, and appropriate pie-making things. Potatoes and rolls are a given, not to mention stuff for the dreadful green bean casserole the spouse loves. You know the one. Full of cream of mushroom soup and fried onions from a can.

Still, green bean casserole is better than the godawful brussels sprouts my mother used to make. These days, I actually like brussels sprouts, but I buy the tiny ones, not the huge bitter monsters my mother used to make. GAH.

Oranges for cranberry relish. That's what I'm talking about. A little turkey, some gravy, a lot of cranberry relish, a good bottle of wine, pie and coffee, and I'm happy.

We were, of course, invited to the spouse's parents' for dinner, but that's just too complicated. So we're staying--happily--home.

I cook nearly every day, but Thanksgiving dinner is one meal I really enjoy making. It just smells so good, except possibly for giblets being turned into stock. Even the cat runs from that smell.

But roasting turkey...yum! Yeasty rolls rising...yum! Pumpkin and mincemeat pies baking...yum!

The kids are old enough to take part in the creation of the meal, not just the eating. Last year, the daughter made the cloverleaf rolls pretty much on her own, which was just thrilling for her. And the son did a good job of picking over cranberries to remove the inevitable icky sqooshy ones, and I think he stirred together all the goop for the casserole.

Because I treat raw meat like what it is--a mass of bacteria requiring a HazMat suit--I deal with things turkey and make the gravy because creating the roux is both fussy and fun.

The spouse carefully removes all the skin from the turkey. It is his favorite part of the day, with the possible exception of mimosas for breakfast--his contribution to the actual creation part.

And the cat? His job is to be under foot from the moment I get out of bed. It's a job he does well! I stepped on him at least three times last year.

Perhaps we can set a new record this year.

Go listen to some good music: "Hoedown" (part four of Rodeo) from the album The Copland Collection: Orchestral and Ballet Works by Aaron Copland & the London Symphony Orchestra.

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