Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cooking with the Joyners Part 2

As newlyweds, a couple is always nervous about cooking their first Thanksgiving dinner. Eight years ago my wife and I thought we were in the clear, going to her mother's house for dinner. However, we received a bit of a surprise.

Beccy is a teacher, and had been hired to be the fill-in teacher for a local 5th grade, as the regular teacher had a medical leave for the year. Bec was playing catch-up with the traditions and way things were done. In mid-November she found out that the 5th grade teachers always did a Thanksgiving spread for the kids, and she was responsible for a turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Since people thought we might starve when we married (a reference to our perceived culinary prowess), this was a daunting task. Also, Beccy was swamped with other responsibilities since it was her first year.

So we read up on how to cook a turkey from and tried to get things going. She got the turkey in the oven, but it was in the afternoon. We had decided it would be too hard to try and do it in the morning of the feast, as we'd have to get up so early. The turkey was going to be a while - coming out of the oven around 11 pm or later.

Beccy had other things to do in the morning, so I sent her off to bed, while I stayed up for the turkey and gravy detail. I had carved the turkey for my mom before, but I had never done gravy. So I pour the juices into the pan and I'm stirring it. Boy, it just doesn't seem like it wants to thicken at all. Better add some flour, right? I dump some in, not mindful of doing things a little at a time.

The gravy seizes up like cement.

Ack! What was I to do? It's almost midnight, so I can't call anyone. I thought it was going to be the worst gravy ever. I added some water and got it to the point where you didn't need a knife to serve it, and put it away for the night.

I finish carving up the turkey after midnight, watching Star Trek: TNG on syndication (amazing the details you remember when you're tired and frazzled). I didn't realize Thanksgiving was so much work - and all we were doing was turkey, potatoes, and gravy.

Turns out the teachers raved about our gravy and potatoes, so that turned out alright. The kids weren't too interested in turkey, so we had some leftovers. And we gained new appreciation for what our mothers went through on Thanksgiving!

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