With a long-established history of, well, let’s just say less than ideal Thanksgiving dinners away from my family back in Indiana, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have my friends RJ and Richard fly out from New York to Los Angeles!
RJ had already asked me to select a restaurant that doesn’t necessarily have a “set” menu for the holiday (maybe a nice steakhouse?), and I had leapt at the challenge. “Maybe even a place where Richard might get to see a celebrity?” RJ added thoughtfully, as his life partner had never been to LA before. “Oh, and if you don’t mind Pen, I’d like to treat us for Thanksgiving dinner if that’s OK with you.”
(Well, slap my ass and call me Thankful Sally!!!)
With a few days of computer research, telephone calls and some delicate probing of my co-workers on the set for their input, I was confident that I’d nailed the perfect place for us to celebrate the holiday; not a far drive from my friends’ hotel, and with the options of both traditional turkey as well as filet mignon and other steaks, I was certain that this would be a Thanksgiving to end my cruel trend!!!
But alas, as The Universe would have it, RJ’s postponed work-related trip to Brazil the week before had been pushed to the week of Thanksgiving; and with Richard’s reinstatement at his University, they had no choice but to cancel their trip to the West Coast…
As always, however, I looked for the sunny side of making a proper holiday for myself and my feline companion!
Whilst turkey may be the traditional staple in American households for the once-a-year belly-busting extravaganza, I’ve always been more of a side dish gal myself. And finding a few items at my local Rite-Aid, I prided myself in my ability to prepare a week in advance for the Feast.
Oh, I would be the Galloping Gourmet on my High Horse named “Resilient”! There would be macaroni and cheese! There would be corn! There would be fluffy mashed potatoes (made from a packet), but with REAL BUTTER!
Well, that is, until I turned over the box and read that I actually needed to ADD real butter… (What’s up with THAT, Betty Crocker?)
But hey, certainly I had some sort of oleo or margarine in my fridge, somewhere:
|(Not too sure about expiration dates...)|
Still, I was determined to make the situation work. Four foil wrapped packets are almost like two whole tablespoons, right? I mean, they may have actually been even larger than whatever precise measurable tablespoon appliance thingies usually recommend; so if my mashed potatoes happened to not fluff up to the potential whipped, um, desired ‘whippy-ness’ suggested by Little-Miss-Know-It-All “Betty C.”, then, well, all the more buttery savory-esque-ness for me!
But I had already gotten ahead of myself.
I hadn’t even started with Step One of my actual Holiday cooking challenge!
And reining in “Resilient” who was snorting like a wild Mustang pinned inside an acre of fenced-in farm land, I attempted to focus my gnat-like attention span to the task at hand.
“Heat one and a half cups of water…” (OOH! I actually still possess a real measuring cup from my condo at Indiana University that I used to use to drink beer from our keg parties, so good start, Betty Crocker! I’m with you so far!)
“…and two tablespoons butter or margarine…” (Pfft!)
“…to a rapid boil in 2-quart saucepan.”
Two quart sauce pan, two quart sauce pan, two quart sauce pan… I knew I had one somewhere, but when had I used it last?
Vaguely remembering that I had warmed up a can of barbeque baked beans sometime around the Fourth of July, I thought to myself “well I can get a few more meals out of this. Beans last forever!” And recalling stuffing the extras inside the lower depths of the refriger…
(Well, let’s just say, that was a compartment I didn’t look forward to opening…)
|(So long, two quart sauce pan... Not eating anything in the future out of THAT!)|
Let this be a health warning that we all need to check that OFTEN IGNORED bottom level in the fridge now and again!!!
So this Thanksgiving holiday, I choose to embrace my ridiculous inability to provide a Cornucopia of fruits and vegetables…
|(Not really sure how watermelon, grapes and strawberries putrify into yellow liquid)|
…acknowledge my equally inept talents at preparing a proper meal…
|(Hmm... And yet, it looks a little bit like a turkey with red wings!)|
…and revel in utter JOY at my kitty making “yummy” noises whilst slurping a simple saucer of milk to wash down our shared McDonalds Angus burger; purchased with my Unemployment Debit card! :)
Feeling particularly thankful in my own unconventional way,
~A Happy Charlie Brown P