Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our First Thanksgiving - 1 Bandaid, 1 Bloody Nose, But It's Still All Good!

As I mentioned in my last blog, this was our first year hosting Thanksgiving. The first blunder was buying a self-basting turkey when I had planned to brine the turkey. Oops. No worries - at least I figured it out before I went to brine the turkey. No harm, no salty fowl :-)

Today started off great. We slept in until 8 (yes, that's sleeping in) and took our time getting ready. The turkey came out of the fridge and was fully defrosted - yay! We got the turkey, stuffing and dough for the homemade rolls all started on time. We even got to enjoy a few minutes of the Macy's parade.

Then we decided to start peeling potatoes.... which ended in a bloody nose for Mr. valleywriter and a bandaid for me. Sounds like a good story, eh? Sorry to disappoint. No - we didn't have a brawl over potatoes. It's been dry in the house lately - hence Mr. valleywriter's effusive mucous membranes. And I just got careless with the knife after Mr. valleywriter left me alone with the potatoes.

After that little hiccup, we got back on track. I finished up the cooking and after Mr. valleywriter slowed the dam his nose had become, he set this beautiful table:

By the time Mr. valleywriter's parents showed up, we had the brie en croute ready to roll. The turkey came out when we expected it to. And we managed to get everything on the table nice and hot. The turkey was very moist - thank goodness! Dry turkey was my biggest fear, but I guess it was unfounded.

Here's what I learned from my first Thanksgiving dinner:
1. Pay attention to what kind of turkey you're buying if you want to brine it. Don't get a "natural basting" one.
2. Roasting breast-side down is great for keeping the breast meat moist, but if you want the skin to stay intact, be sure to oil the bird and/or the roaster rack.
3. Puff pastry doesn't brown as well when you have other things in the oven. (Note to self: Next year, if you do brie en croute while the turkey's still cooking, bump the oven up to 400 degrees first.)
4. 5 pounds of potatoes is WAY TOO MUCH for 4 people - even if you like leftovers.
5. Do whatever you can ahead of time. It makes the day-of so much more relaxing.

So - bet you're wondering why there are no pictures of my glorious Thanksgiving feast. Honestly, this Thanksgiving wasn't as much about the food for me. I was enjoying a relaxing afternoon, good company and good conversation so much, I didn't want to interrupt it with the camera. I wanted to focus on my family and on giving thanks for all of the amazing blessings in my life.

I was blessed this year to marry the man of my dreams in the wedding of my dreams - an intimate, barefoot, sunset wedding on the beach. I was blessed to buy my first home in the amazing community that is the Pioneer Valley. I am continually blessed to be surrounded by loving, supportive friends and family. I was blessed to know an amazing woman, the original owner of the dishes seen above, who taught me what true grace is and showed me how to persevere through whatever life gives you, all while she was battling terminal cancer. I am blessed not to have to worry where my next meal will come from or how I'm going to pay the bills. The list goes on, but you get the idea. I give thanks every day for what I have, but today in particular I give great thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving


Chef E said...

Sounds like a wonderful and normal day to me, we always have someone not feeling well, kids with colds, and tooooooo much food!

Aggie said...

I loved reading all your blessings...glad you had a great day!!