Thanksgiving is usually one of those holidays that pass in a blur of turkey and football, but three – all during particularly different points in my life – stand out for me.
Thanksgiving and Milk of Magnesia
We hadn’t been in our current house but a couple of years. My sister was still married to a sailor and was halfway across the country with her family. We hadn’t had children yet so it was just my mom, husband and I. We decided to invite another couple whose extended family was all out of town. We had only recently met this couple, but thought hey that’s what Thanksgiving is for – bringing people together.
So my mom arrives with this stray beagle that she had recently found. The poor little thing was skin and bones and was recovering from a broken hip where it had obviously been hit by a car. But Snoopy fit it with my mom’s other dog and my dogs with no trouble.
Dinner preparations were uneventful. When the other couple arrived, we put the dogs in the garage. I can’t remember why we just didn’t put them outside – it must’ve been too cold.
My husband keeps a pretty neat garage. But remember we didn’t have kids and our dogs spend almost no time in the garage so it wasn’t an example of the world’s safest garage.
Needless to say, we sit down to a delightful meal. But somewhere between dinner and dessert, I go to the garage for something and discover a can of gas treatment with teeth marks on it leaking in the dog bed Snoopy was in.
Alarmed, we immediately call an animal hospital that tells us that for $65 we can bring the dog in and they’ll tell us if he’s ingested any of it. Then for even more money they will pump his stomach for us or give him milk of magnesia.
Now it’s Thanksgiving, that’s an awful lot of money and we aren’t even sure that Snoopy has indeed drank this stuff.
So next we have this comical scene where we pry open each of four dogs’ mouths to see if we can smell gas treatment on their breath.
We – yes, my husband, my mother and I each took a turn smelling the dog’s breath – decide that we can only faintly smell it on Snoopy’s breath, probably just where he got on his teeth from chewing on the container.
Still, we want to make sure that this dog my mom has been nursing back to health, stays healthy. So we decided to give the dog some milk of magnesia ourselves.
So we take the dog outside on the deck. One of us holds the dog, the other pries his mouth open and the third pours in the milk of magnesia which then makes the dog look like he’s foaming at the mouth.
Let me assure you that describing the process is a lot easier than actually doing it. When I look up from our task, I see our house guests — this other couple — pressed against the window of our back door laughing their asses off.
The dog survived and that friendship has flourished. Today, the couple’s little boy is now getting into trouble with our twins and I have a feeling we’ll have more interesting Thanksgiving stories to tell on their part.
Thanksgiving and the Fire Alarm
In my senior year of college, before my husband and I became a couple we ran around with a group of six including ourselves. For Thanksgiving, of course, we all went home to our families.
But four members of the group worked for a home improvement store (think the Work Bench from Reaper) that gave its employees a turkey for Thanksgiving. So when we all returned from the holiday, they all had these turkeys in their freezers. Very unusual for college apartments, I know.
So we decided to make the best of it by having our own Thanksgiving feasts. In turn, each person that had a turkey hosted the dinner and the rest of brought the trimmings.
I should mention that this group of six included four men and two women. The three men who had turkeys went first and the single female who had a turkey went last.
Knowing my lack of talent in the kitchen, I was assigned to bring dessert – pumpkin pie.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well these meals turned out. They resulted in delicious food, great conversation, lots of drinking (we were in college after all) and a good time by all.
By the time we got to the fourth turkey, these meals fell into place like clockwork. That is, until the female’s turn to cook the turkey. She had forgotten to take out the innards and she’d left the legs tied. Then the fire alarm went off.
And this wasn’t any ordinary fire alarm. It was like the ones you see in sitcoms that no matter what you do, they continue to go off.
Needless to say we never did get to eat turkey that night. And none of the guys let that poor girl forget it. It was never completely cooked, but we enjoyed the trimmings nevertheless.
And to this day, my husband and I laugh about those four post-Thanksgiving Turkey meals.
My First Attempt at Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner
It’s no secret that I am domestically challenged. Many people have tried to teach me to cook and all have left running from the kitchen. In junior high school, I was kicked out of home ec class and transferred to a keyboarding class because “it was a better fit.” I have set the kitchen on fire more times than I can count and have even burned boiling water. It’s true; I’m hopeless when it comes to cooking
However, there is one year that I attempted – and I proudly proclaim succeeded – in cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner on my own.
When I was in high school my mom was a single mom that worked very hard to provide for her family. One year her brother and his family were coming up for Thanksgiving, but they couldn’t get there until Friday. My mother had to work on that Friday. My sister was still in middle school. So the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner fell on my shoulders.
I remember my mom going over the instructions with me the night before. I remember calling her at work with questions. But alas, I managed to cook the turkey and all the trimmings with no pending disaster.
When my uncle and his family arrive, the house was still standing. Just before my mom arrived home, I proudly set the food out on the table.
Little did I know that while at work she had contracted a terrible bout of flu. When she arrived home, she took one look at the beautiful table of food I had slaved on all day and ran to the bathroom to vomit!
We put her to bed and the rest of us enjoyed the meal. But I’ll never forget that the first true meal that I succeed at cooking without burning anything down, my mom threw up at the sight of it.
To this day, I use this as an excuse for not cooking Thanksgiving.
I guess the moral of these stories is that no Thanksgiving is perfect. Instead of striving for perfect, sit back and enjoy the food, friendship and fun!
It’s seven days and counting to Turkey Day. I can happily count down these days since I won’t be the one slaving over a hot stove preparing a feast for all. In fact, due to my lack of culinary talents, I don’t even have to worry about preparing a dish or requested for help in the kitchen. At most, I’m asked to contribute a dessert to the spread of food for the day. I can, after all, bake.
So while I dream of delicious, mouth-watering turkey on Thanksgiving, the meal always comes down to one course for me — Dessert. And when I think about Thanksgiving Day dessert, my mind always jumps to pie — more specifically pumpkin pie.
I think my association between Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie is a recent one, mostly because my husband always asks for it this time of year. But growing up, Thanksgiving meant a whole array of pies.
You see, while I am one of only two children, my extended family is quite large. My dad is one of seven and Thanksgiving at Grandma’s meant that she would fix everyone’s favorite. So if my favorite pie is peanut butter and she thought there was a chance I might stop by, then she’d make a peanut butter pie. And so it was for every family member. In fact, I’m not even sure that some had favorites or they just asked for a different pie so we could have a variety. Either way, the end result was a whole array of pies to dine on after Thanksgiving dinner (and for days to come) at Grandma’s.
So in honor of my Grandma, I’m interested in knowing what is your favorite pie? Or at the very least what is your favorite pie to have at Thanksgiving?Why is it your favorite and do you like it fixed a certain way?
My favorite is a freshly baked Peanut Butter Pie with chocolate and whip cream. It can’t be a store bought, frozen one. If it’s not fresh, I’d rather pass all together.
Be forewarned, however, that I am in no way volunteering to make everyone’s favorite. But if I eat of piece of your favorite pie over the holiday, I’ll be happy to think of you.
After seeing me on one of my little chocolate binges (we won’t talk about how often these happen), my husband has asked me if there’s such a thing as too much chocolate. I emphatically declared no one. That’s before I read about Chocolate Show going on in New York this week.
Aisles and aisles of chocolate delight. Mmmmmm. But it more that chocolate you can eat or drink. There’s chocolate you can wear! And I’m not talking about the way my two years olds wear their chocolate pudding! I’m talking about a chocolate jewelry and fashion show.
Can you imagine combining my two of my favorite things — chocolate and jewelry? A better version of those candy necklaces we had as kids. The thought is too confusing to me. Do you eat it or wear it?
I was thrilled earlier this year when scientists declared that chocolate was good for us. It’s about time they finally declared something good for us. But I still think I’d rather eat than wear it (unless you are talking about licking the spoon after making brownies). However, the idea of rows and rows of chocolate intrigues me. Anyone know how I can get the show to come to my town?
The CBS article on the show included a few chocolate drinks that you might want to add to your menu this holiday season. I thought they sounded delicious, so I’ve included them below:
Crispy Mint Hot Chocolate
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup of water
2 tbs cup sugar
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
Heat milk with water and sugar. Add heated mixture to chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the splash of fresh milk and pour into cups. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy canes. Enjoy!
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cups heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate
2 vanilla beans
1 can condensed milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of Sarawak pepper
1/2 cup Ron Anejo “Anniversario” Pampero
Combine all milks and cream with the vanilla beans (split and scraped) and bring to a boil. Combine the eggs and spices, then temper by adding the hot cream a little at a time. Return to the stove and cook on low heat until thick and creamy. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Strain and chill rapidly. Add Ron, and serve. Keep very chilled. Venezuela is one of the largest producers and manufacturers of high quality Rum. This is a national drink similar to egg-nog but with a bigger kick and a little chocolate. Salud!
Smoking Cool Chocolate
2 cups whole milk plus a splash
1 cup of water
2 tbs cup sugar
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
Heat milk with water and sugar. Add heated mixture to chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the splash of fresh milk and chill. Serve in a mug and drop a piece of dry ice in a small tea ball and sink it in. Serve with a straw. For an adult version, try the Smoking Cool Chocolate Martini. Serve in a martini glass with a dash of bitters and 2 oz of chilled vodka.
These all sound delicious to me. I think I’ll try the hot chocolate one first, but instead of candy canes I’ll think I’ll add a shot of peppermint schnapps. Happy chocolating!
I watch too much TV. I’m the first to admit it (the first step for conquering any addiction is admitting you have a problem). That said, I don’t actually see myself giving up one of my favorite past times. At least until this strike hit. But as my favorite TV shows go dark one by one, I find myself in quite a quandary. So I’ve come up with my own 10-step (I know it really should’ve been 12) plan to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and help me survive the strike.
1. Clear the Backlog on my DVR
Over the last few weeks as my DVR has closed in on capacity, I’ve wondered about giving up on some of the more mediocre shows. Did shows like Cane, Journeyman, Moonlight and Private Practice actually deserve a coveted place on my nearly full DVR? Normally, I’d have cut the ties on at least a couple of these shows weeks ago. But the strike has me running scared, so I saved them. While these shows haven’t wowed me they are still better than endless hours of reality TV. So I will fill my cold, dark winter nights clearing out the drudge on my DVR. What can I say? I can’t go cold turkey.
2. Catch up on Summer Blockbusters
This summer we were actually treated to some great new television shows. Add the great summer fare to a busy summer with the kids and there was little time left to hit the theaters. Now all those movies I wanted to see over the summer are being released on DVD. We’ll be adding a few of these to our DVD collection and will spend several evenings catching up on what we missed this summer. Yes, I know I’m subbing one addiction for another. But hey, it’s baby steps!
3. Hit the Theatres for the Holiday Movie Season
The holiday movie season has already started and I actually think there might be a few good selections out there. Our outing to see the Bee Movie with the twins was successful so I’m encouraged. See I’m progressing. At least now I’m off the couch.
4. Get a Jump Start on Christmas
Since I’m already at the mall for the movies, I might as well get a jump on my Christmas shopping. Hmmm, I might be able to finish my shopping before December this year. With such an early start, I might even make a few gifts this year. And while I’m at it, I might as well get my decorations up early (that way we can look at the pretty lights on tree when there are no pretty lights coming from the TV). There are Christmas cards to write and goodies to bake. This step could keep me busy for a while.
5. Blog More
Without all that TV watching taking up my time, I might actually get a chance to do some more blogging. I always fall back to writing about my favorite shows. Now I’ll be forced to conquer new topics. Watch out world, you’ll be hearing my opinion on everything. See that in itself, might be enough to stop the strike.
6. Learn a New Hobby
Now is as good of time as any to pick up a new hobby. Hmm . . . I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy. If I start now, I can use it for #4. Won’t all my friends and family be impressed when they get hand-addressed Christmas cards done in calligraphy? Okay, maybe I’m pushing myself a little too much here. I must keep expectations realistic.
7. Read a Good Book
I haven’t picked up a book since this summer. It’s a real shame, because I really enjoy reading. Here’s my chance to catch up with my reading list. And what’s better on a cold winter night than curling up with a good book and a hot drink. If I feel adventurous and want to multi-task and combine books with another step like #5 or #6, I might give audio books a try.
8. Enjoy a Good Meal
No more microwaved meals in front of the television. Instead, I can sit down at one of my favorite restaurants and enjoy a good meal. Better yet, I can try a new restaurant. Or since I just bought Jessica’s Seinfeld’s new book, I can take another go at learning to cook. But due to my level of domestic challengeness, it might need to be a really long strike if I’m going to make any headway in that department. It might be safer for all if I just hit the restaurants.
9 Enjoy a Good Night’s Sleep
No more staying up to watch late night talk shows. No more trying to keep my eyes open for that 10 o’clock show. I’m off to bed for a good nights sleep. With a little rest, who knows what I’m capable of!
10. Throw a Party
Sure I could have put something healthy here like start a new exercise program, but hey a party would be more fun. What a better way to touch base with my friends then to invite them over for a night of stimulating conversation and fun antics (read beer and chips over a game of Taboo).
Just writing this post as helped quell the panic that’s been building ever since the writers picked up their first picket sign. You know, I think I’m going to be okay. I will be able to survive this strike.
Now tell me about you. What will you be doing to get through this strike?