November 23, 2011

  • Thanksgiving is the mother of invention. There's turkeys in there!

    For being warm, dry, clothed, fed, and employed at a time when so many are not.

  • For the Salvation Army lady who was playing Amazing Grace on the accordion at Kroger today.
  • For each of my children, including my two boys who may not be my biological children but are my children nevertheless, for all they’ve taught me and all the love they give me.
  • For my grandchild, McCallan, who has taught me the joy of being a grandmother.

It’s that time of year. It’s crisp and cool. Turkey breasts are brining in a champagne box on the back porch. (More about that in a minute.) Chili is cooking for tonight and over the weekend. I’m about to start a baking binge, and make cranberry salad. I have to go to Kroger again (dinner napkins, and corn, and a stop by Java Primo to pick up coffee because I’m near ’bout out, and that just Will Not Do).

The house looks like hell and I’m feeding six people, three of whom are not family, tomorrow. And I’m OK with that, because, y’know what, it’s Thanksgiving.

An autumnal Lucy Lu in the leaves, which she loves.

  • For the mutt, Lucy Lu, who is as near a canine version of a turkey as was ever made.
  • For the fact that I sorta-kinda have most of my Christmas shopping done (I know who is getting what, and can order most of it online).
  • For Arkansas playing LSU tomorrow, and the long-shot chance to go to the SEC championship and maybe the National Championship game a month later.
  • For the fates that brought me to Hot Springs, which has been a lifechanger for me as well as for Child C.

OK. About the liquor box turkey brining. I bought a fresh turkey breast with the express notion of brining him. Her. Whatever. And then when my Thanksgiving dinner guest list doubled from three to six, I figured I’d best go get another one. You need a lot of leftover turkey after Thanksgiving, after all. So then to the question of what in the name of all that’s holy do I put these things in to brine them?

The brine recipe (Epicurious’s molasses brine with sage and thyme) suggested a 16-quart bowl lined with garbage bags. I don’t possess a 16-quart bowl. I’m not sure how big a 16-quart bowl IS. My ice chest is at Child C’s apartment. (Ahem. I need that back, kid.) But wait! There, in the floor! It’s a liquor box!

I buy my wine a case at the time, because my neighborhood liquor store will let me mix a case any way I want and give me a 15 percent discount. And they box it up in a handy box for me to take home. This one was Andre champagne, if you’re wondering. I lined that baby with two trash bags, one inside the other; put the requisite ice in the bottom, poured the hot brine over, and then dumped in two frozen bricks of hamburger (in plastic baggies) to thaw and help cool the stuff at the same time. Then in went said turkeys. And out went said contraption, onto the back porch, in the shade, where it’s cool enough to keep it safely chilled.

What kind of refrigerators do other people HAVE, anyway? There’s all this talk about pre-Thanksgiving day prep, and refrigerating things and then cooking them day of. Personally, if I were going to make everything ahead that was feasible to make ahead, and put it in the fridge, I’d need a fridge about the size of the walk-in closet. Do people just empty their fridges completely before the holiday? Who can do that? I mean, I went through and threw out everything except condiments, dairy and the leftovers of the last two nights’ dinners, and there’s STILL not room to brine two turkey breasts, even if I did have a big enough bowl. Go figger.

Child C is thankful for lemon icebox pies.

  • That I can afford to throw out food that’s way past its sell-by date, even though I’m embarrassed that I do it.
  • For Glenda,who gave me the recipe for the chocolate chip pound cake I’m baking.
  • For the fact that lemon icebox pies, which I’m also baking, are so easy.
  • For my mama’s cranberry salad, which has been on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table that I can remember.
  • For my mama, who was quite simply the most wonderful woman who ever drew a breath. And for my daddy, who would have been 81 yesterday, and was pretty special in his own right.

OK. Enough rest for now. Back to the kitchen. The cranberries await. You and y’mama ‘n ’em have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And call the Hogs.


One Response to “Thankful”

  1. RMJ Says:

    Just now reading this. Thankful indeed. That my friend Kay shares her cooking adventures with those of us who are culinarily illiterate (me). Thankful I have had the honor and pleasure of being a guest in her home to partake of her culinary skills. Thankful for two wonderful guests in my home this Thanksgiving in addition to my family. Thankful and blessed.

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