Okay, I have written and re-written, and edited and deleted and cut and pasted and I just am not happy with the way my post-Thanksgiving post is going. But this will just have to do...
I guess this is what happens when you take (nearly) a week off for a major Holiday. It was nice, but now there is so much to get caught up on, I'm just feeling so far behind!
It has taken quite some time, but I think I've gotten my house back together. Our gathering wasn't a rollicking, foundation-rocking, black-out-inducing Thanksgiving bash, requiring hired hands and a Haz-Mat team to clean up afterwards, but it did flatten me for a few days (incidentally, my fancy, comp'ny dishes--though clean--are still sitting in tidy stacks on the dining room table and I still haven't put the pie plates away yet).
Feast-wise, everything was a triumphant success, especially the turkey! The Viking usually spearheads that endeavor, but, this year, I took over, having decided to use my stove to full advantage and cook the turkey the Chambers way. Having never done it before, I was wary (and The Viking and Lenny were downright skeptical), but let me tell you, I will never cook a turkey any other way!
In addition to being absolutely delectable, it was the easiest thing in the world to prepare! WHY don't they make stoves/ovens like this anymore? Wait, I bet it's because they're not as easy to keep clean. But still, what's a little elbow grease and upkeep when you've got the world's meanest cooking machine at your disposal? Wanna see her again? Sure you do:
Marvelous. Simply marvelous. All I had to do was start with a fresh bird ordered from my favorite Amish/Mennonite market, dry salt it (valuable life lesson learned: wear rubber gloves when dry salting, OUCH!), leaving it to wallow in the fridge overnight, rinse and dry it well the next morning, sprinkle inside and out with fresh salt and pepper, rub the skin with some oil, nestle it in the roasting pan, uncovered, in a wee bath of half a cup of water, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees for 10 minutes.
And here comes the best part: 45 minutes after sliding the turkey in the oven, I came back into the kitchen and turned off the gas. That's right, TURNED IT OFF. And crossed my fingers.
I was a little uneasy as our precious main entree cooked away on retained heat in dark secret for three hours while we wiped dishes, peeled potatoes, braised sprouts, dusted shelves, ironed table linens and set the table. But when the moment of truth arrived, lo! and behold! we found ourselves with the most perfect Norman Rockwellesque turkey I've ever seen! Moist, tender, juicy, flavorful, with a perfectly brown and crispy skin, that bird was pure poultry heaven! And with gravy pronounced, "Phenomenal," by Lenny, who lives with Grand Mistress of the Kitchen Lobelia and doesn't give culinary compliments lightly.
So, do I have photos? No, I do not. My family would have brained me with the potato masher if I had suggested we cease for a moment so I could take a picture of the turkey. That's just how they do. Besides, don't you think that's enough about the turkey? I mean, honestly...
The only other things notable about our Feast are, in no particular order:
"Lobelia brought her chocolate cake which was divine. She frosted it with
homemade fudge frosting that looked exactly like poo, so she delighted us all by
writing the word, "poo" on top of it. So, after dinner, we all retired to the
drawing room, to view the photos from the trip abroad, enjoying our coffee and
luscious chocolate cake with "poo" scrawled across the top. Hee!"--June 2007
On Black Friday, Redheaded Snippet and I done lost our minds and met Mom for shopping at 6:30 in the morning. We didn't witness any scuffles or stampedes, nor did we come away with any breath-taking good deals, but I did manage to score quite a few things I've been needing for a while (a watch, two pairs of pants, comfy slippers, a new coat, and a coat and mad bomber hat for Man-Cub).
After a much-needed nap, we set out for an evening in Philly with Lenny and Lobelia. We did this two years ago on Black Friday and decided to make it an annual event. We take the train into the city, we go out for a fabulous dinner (Vietnamese again this year), then we walk to the Wanamaker building to see the Dickens Christmas Carol display and the famous light show. Then we walk to our newest favorite place on earth, Naked Chocolate for dessert!
Heavens above, if you like chocolate, or are wild about it (like I might be), this is where you will go when you die if you're very, very good. Metaphorically speaking. Please don't send me messages about blasphemy and doctrine! You know how the French, in their luxurious and decadent heyday, enjoyed drinking chocolate as a special treat (or even for breakfast as the case may be)? They even had chocolate pots like this one:
Or this cute little Dutch model:
And fancy china chocolate sets like this one:
Well, the stuff I had the pleasure of sampling Friday night is the kind of stuff Marie Antoinette herself would delight in! In a flash I could see myself sitting on a pouf, serving steaming, little cups of sinfully exquisite chocolaty goodness in one of those delicate china chocolate sets. This was no Swiss Miss, let me tell you!
It was, however, the perfect way to cap the evening.
The rest of the weekend was spent in rest and relaxation, at least for me and the children. The Viking buzzed around the entire time fixing, painting, tightening and weatherproofing things. He's unstoppable so I just don't try anymore. But I now have a finished coat cupboard, a mounted paper towel holder and slightly warmer rooms in the house!
I guess that about wraps up my Thanksgiving report. I've still got some turkey stock to turn into soup for dinner tonight so we'll still be enjoying the fruits of our labor, but in all other ways we have turned our weary eyes toward Christmas!
We won't be decorating for another few days yet (probably this weekend) and we still haven't settled the when-to-put-up-the-tree question (an annual debate), but we've been playing Christmas music with loud and wild abandon ever since Black Friday and have even bought a few gifts. But most of our to-do list still lies unfinished.
Including the town's Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony which is this evening and for which The Viking and I are singing. We've done it the past 2-3 years and we always do the same songs, but we still need to brush up on intros and the right keys and the like. And I've got to have dinner ready before we go to set up at 6:00 so I'd better fly.