Thanksgiving: part 1

November 25, 2007 at 11:17 am | Posted in food, house, life | 8 Comments

The plan: have Thanksgiving at our house with the family and friends who are willing to make to trek to the north country.

What happened: Well, that DID happen, but I can’t say everything went according to plan.

The guests: Jenny’s dad, sister, niece, and nephew, my friend Mike, his friend Beth, her son Max.

The food: A 19 pound turkey, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, brussels sprouts, carrots, salad, biscuits, pumpkin pie, apple pie, homemade egg liqueur and homemade coffee liqueur.

The prep: I made the egg liqueur last week and the coffee liqueur on Tuesday. I kind of screwed up the coffee liqueur, but I tried to fix it and hope for the best. The egg liqueur was good, but I think the yolks were smaller than in past years, so I needed to use more than the recipe called for.

We baked the pies the day before. It was my second try at a homemade crust, and it came out better than the first time. (And the first time was pretty good!) Nice and flaky, and not burned on the bottom since we cooled them outside. Of course, Jenny’s fillings were darn yummy, too. We were very happy with how they turned out. We also baked the squash and boiled the sweet potatoes the day before, washed and cut the carrots, etc.

The day: We stuffed the bird and put it in the oven at 8:07 a.m. My stepfather gave me some great advice for cooking the bird that the cookbooks don’t tell you. The rest of the morning was spent leisurely fixing the salad, peeling and cutting potatoes, putting the pots together ready to be turned on, assembling the sweet potatoes in the pyrex, etc.

It was when we put the potato peels in the garbage disposal that the sink clogged.

No problem, this has happened before when I crammed a bunch of stuff down the disposal. So I got a big bowl and went under the sink to empty the trap.

Only that didn’t work this time. The clog was further down. Using a plunger didn’t work. And of course, we didn’t have any liquid plumber type stuff.

Luckily, the supermarket was open until 2 p.m. So I ran and got a whole mess of chemicals to pour down one’s sink. While I was at the supermarket, Jenny’s family arrived. So as I was pouring chemicals down our disassembled sink, Jenny and her sister were trying to maneuver around me to continue cooking Thanksgiving day dinner.

Luckily, just about all the prep was done, so dinner was actually served on time! Mike and co. didn’t show up for dinner, but they had said they’d be a little late. So we had two dinner shifts, and everything turned out great. Thanks to my stepfather’s advice, the turkey was not dry at all, but nice and moist. Perfect. Mike and co. showed up an hour or so later, and we had another Thanksgiving day dinner that couldn’t be beat.

But the pipes were still clogged. And we had mountains of dishes to clean.

To be continued…

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  1. A) What is your stepfather’s secret?

    B) My brother and sister-in-law are living in the house that my s-i-l grew up in. There has been a kitchen sink clog since she was a kid. They bought some $30 de-clog device off QVC. They said it was a flipping miracle.

  2. His secret: All the cookbooks say to cook the bird until the temperature of the breast or thigh is 180 – 185 degrees F and the stuffing is 160. He says no. Cook it to 160 – 165 degrees F, stuffing 140. Then take it out of the oven and cover it with foil for 20-30 minutes.

    The reason is, it’s still cooking while it’s sitting. If you check, you’ll see that the temperature rises 5-10 degrees in the first 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven. You need to let it sit 20-30 minutes before carving it anyway. If you cook it completely in the oven, it overcooks while it’s sitting. That’s one reason why turkey is so often too dry.

    It worked. It was completely cooked, and so juicy! One of the things that went right that day.

  3. WRT clogs, a snake helps. The same kinds you use to clear nasty toilet clogs. If you can run it down a sink’s drain, it will clear out whatever’s in the next 5-6 feet of pipe, which is usually more than sufficient.

    I recently did this on my bathroom sink. It worked better than every chemical I’ve ever used. This is the same thing pros like Roto Rooter do (except they use a very expensive motorized snake instead of the simple hand-cranked kind you can buy in a hardware store.)

    The only issue with this is that your drain might not have a wide enough opening (e.g. that disposal unit), so you may have to feed the snake in a different opening (like the trap.)

  4. Just to be clear, this qvc doohickey did what snakes could not. For fucking real.

    (Derek, if you ever actually want it, I’ll ask my brother. I tried searching qvc.com and couldn’t figure it out.)

  5. I was thinking of you on Thanksgiving day, Derek. Glad it mostly turned out well. We went to my sister-in-law’s place in Harrisburg. First big thing in our new house will be Christmas Eve. I won’t be cooking as much as a chef like you, but we do have a lot of ethnic Polish things to make. I’ll be thinking of you again…

  6. I’m not going to run out and get a snake or qvc miracle right away, though I’ll keep them in mind. You will see what solution was implemented when I have time to blog part 2. (Coming soon!)

    SCD: I was thinking of you, too. I almost called you, but it got hectic as I mentioned. We’ll talk soon.

  7. […] wonderful time of the year. Well, it was pretty darn good. We had family over for Thanksgiving (Part 1, Part 2), so this holiday was fairly low key, just the two of us. We got presents for each other, […]

  8. […] at our house is on, and we’re going to have folks over again. Hopefully we can avoid the plumbing disaster this time […]


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