Well, I did it! Thanksgiving was a complete and amazing success, though we did have to hurdle some obstacles along the way. The whole process of preparing the food, making sure it tasted good, and having it all come out at the same time seemed a little daunting. I was afraid something wouldn’t come out right or that it would get cold, but like magic, everything found their way to the table at the same time and temperature.
When Matt left for work yesterday, I immediately got up to clean the apartment, the new dishes, and to make the white salad, since it would need to sit in the refrigerator all day cooling. The white salad was the first of my worries, since the custard is cooked on a low heat and the egg yolks will start to scramble if you’re not careful. I stood at the stove, stirring and stirring for quite awhile, lifting the pot off the heat whenever the egg yolks looked they wanted to scramble. Eventually, the sauce thickened and with a few more preparations, it was added to the marshmallows and pineapple. I hoped that people would like it since it’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes (and easily Melissa’s favorite!).
I thought it would all be smooth sailing from there until I turned the cold water facet handle in the kitchen and nothing came out. The hot water was working just fine, but I couldn’t get cold. Much to my dismay, I realized that this problem could eventually lead to a complete water cut-off, causing me to completely freak out. I called the apartment company, the caretaker, and probably some random numbers in between, hoping to get someone who could help me. Matt even left work early to get jugs of water to cook with in case the problem wasn’t fixed. Of course, the minute he got home, the caretaker called, saying that kids had gotten into the basement and turned off the water to our building and that it would be up and running in no time. Though we were beyond relieved, we now have about 12 humongous water bottles.
The 18 pound turkey should be a blog post on its own. That thing was so massive and heavy and I had never dressed a turkey before…talk about pressure! While my Mom, Dad, Aunt Jen, Uncle Phil, and cousins Maggie and Jack looked on, Matt and I attempted to tie up the legs of the turkey. They were laughing so hard I swear I could see tears coming out of their eyes. The thighs on this turkey were like nothing they’ve ever seen! And to make matters worse, it meant tricky skills were needed to get the legs tied up. I think Matt may have used half a roll of twine. Needless to say, we were already exhausted just after preparing the turkey and providing such entertainment for my family.
Matt’s co-workers started arriving around 7:15 or a little later, so we made sure to have some appetizers ready for them. Being the Texas-loving American that I am, I made sure to make queso, which I am happy to say, was devoured! Most of our guests were Irish or European and had never had queso, and they were loving it. We also put out a creamy, baked spinach casserole and bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. At this point, the turkey was done and sitting on the island under foil, absorbing all of its juices.
Matt got to work entertaining our guests, while I made the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. The mashed potatoes were quite easy, and I sure made a lot of them – about 5 pounds worth of potatoes. I moved those to a serving dish to set aside while I got to work on the gravy. This was the part I was most nervous about. My mother instructed me on exactly how to use the drippings, make my roo, and combine it just-so to make a perfect, and thick, gravy. I was still quite nervous, though, because it was all about improvising as the concoction simmered. I even called my Mom halfway through to ask, “should it look like this at this point?” The stuffing was a bit easier, as I pre-made it the night before, and it would just need to heat up in the oven before serving. I stuck my mashed potatoes in with my stuffing to heat up, Matt microwaved the corn, I transferred the gravy to our gravy boat, and all at once it was taken out to the table. And now I will quote my first statement: “I did it!”
Matt ceremoniously carved the turkey at the table while our 10 guests watched on and then the chow-down began. I was so pleased when everyone went back for seconds and thirds, saying it was all delicious. Even better, the white salad was a huge hit. It was a complete success and I smiled all night. I realized I really do have so much to be thankful for; my amazing and very handsome boyfriend ;-); my loving and supportive family; all of the great friends in my life; this incredible experience abroad; and all of my every day blessings – including this scrumptious meal! And I am especially thankful for our generous, thoughtful, and polite dinner guests, who all brought alcohol in thanks for the meal, leaving me and Matt with a few weeks worth of “booze.” Happy Thanksgiving!