Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 ... What's Wrong With Me!

I fixed Thanksgiving dinner!

Okay, as much as you'd love 
to believe this is me, it isn't.  
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No, I didn't put a TV dinner in the oven or microwave like you'd expect.  I actually fixed dinner for my wife and I.  And, she didn't even know it was going to happen.

See, believe it or not, I can be a decent guy every now and then.  (Please, don't let the word get out.  It would spoil my reputation!)

It all started this last Sunday.  My wife loves to have our daughter's family over for Thanksgiving dinner.  However, after finding out she was going to have to work most of Turkey Day, she decided to jump the gun and have the meal on Sunday.

Now, I love my wife, and have for 32 years, but let me be honest, there are many others better versed in the kitchen than she.  It's not all her fault, though.  She was raised by a mother who only fried and fried, being from the Deep South, and if it's not fried, she's still in the learning stage ... even after 32 years.

For example, my wife can take the most beautiful one inch thick pork chop and broil down to 1/4 inch without even trying.  If she'd have been around a couple of centuries ago, I'd have swore she invented beef jerky by accident!  Timing seems to be her primary problem, as she can never get everything ready at the same time.  Thus, meat is constantly overcooked.  Thank goodness I still have most of my teeth!

Anyway, Sunday came around and she tried.  She did overcook the turkey some, and the dumplings were a little hard, and the stuffing somewhat dry, and the corn casserole somewhat hard, but my daughter brought some type of yam concoction that went right along with the rest. Oh, did I mention the crescent rolls were almost black on the bottom?

Anyway, I'm used to it, so I never said anything.  I just sat back, acted as if all was normal (of which it really was, lol) and did my best to swallow.  My son-in-law couldn't show because of one of the grandchildren having bronchitis, and when it came to fix plates for them, my daughter graciously said one of his relatives had already brought them lunch, and bowed out.  

Wednesday, a revelation hit me!  

"Why couldn't I fix my wife another dinner that she could enjoy 
on the day it should be enjoyed?"

 I can cook fairly well.  In fact, the girl's used to love it when I would cook for them every now and then.  My wife has never complained either.  So, a plan was enacted.

I decided on a ten pound turkey roast instead of a whole turkey.  I thawed it out overnight in my truck (outside temperature was 37 degrees, so it was okay) and it was still wrapped.  I bought some frozen buttered corn and a  broccoli /green pea /water chestnut /carrot mix and hid them in the back of the freezer.  Next, the can of yams and the stuffing were kept in my stereo room, and the Parker House yeast rolls were kept in the fruit crisper in the bottom of the refrigerator.  

My wife had to be at work at 7 a.m., so right after she left, I transferred everything to the kitchen.  I then slept until about noon, and awoke, did the necessary personal hygiene shower and stuff, and then began to cook the surprise lunch.

The turkey roast had to cook for two hours at 375 degrees.  Upon opening it, I found it held together with a string netting, similar to the hair nets my grandmother used to wear on her hair decades ago.  (I can barely remember what she looked like without it on.)   After reading the directions, I found it was supposed to stay on during cooking.  Later, I’d find out it was to hold the breast meat together as it cooked, as it was real turkey, and not some man made processed food.  

I wouldn't mind cooking all the time if this was 
my wife ...No, I can't say that. 
(But I can fantasize!)
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Then, about a half hour before she was due home, I got the rest going.  Microwave going full blast for the corn and veggies, water and butter boiling for the cornbread stuffing mixture, and a pan simmering the gravy mixture I’d purchased and made.   I even opened up the yams, stuck them in a casserole dish, added 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a tablespoon of cinnamon, mixed it all up with half a stick of butter, and stuck it in the oven with the turkey.  

When the wife walked in, everything was ready but the rolls.  The shock on her face was worthy of my efforts.  It’s one of those times you feel good inside.  You know, the type of good that gives you future points when you want a German Chocolate cake baked, or something like that!  lol

Anyway, I cut the netting around the turkey, and was amazed at how tender and juicy it was as the electric knife cut easily through it.  I even fixed her plate and carried it all to her in the living room so that she could watch a football game in progress (I think our lifestyle has somehow switched gender expectations.)  About that time, I smelled the rolls and managed to get them out of the oven in the perfect state you'd want.  
Tomorrow I'm Back To Normal!!!!
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The dishes were few and quickly cleaned up afterwards.  I later heard her on the phone to our daughter telling her how much better it was than what she’d prepared on Sunday.  I almost felt bad about it, but was happy at the same time that it had come out so good.

Now, as the day is over, I sit here typing, and reminiscing about the occasion.  I had done something special for her that was completely unexpected and it had worked out exceptionally well.  Completely out of character for me!

I wondered, 
“How long before I get well?”   

And, then I shuddered, 
“What if it’s a permanent change?”