Another Thanksgiving, another year with a lot to be thankful for. We had a little family celebration yesterday, with the four of us and my aunt, Barbara. Next week, we will have a large family celebration out at my sister’s home. Charlotte has spent the past couple weeks at school learning about Thanksgiving, and so we decided to have a little family dinner on the actual Thanksgiving weekend so as not to confuse her or make her think we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Because, believe me, I love to celebrate Thanksgiving- turkey, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, wine- what’s not to love? And I am thankful for so many things: my family- Mark, who works hard to take care of us and does things like happily staying home with the girls so I can go to Niagara Falls for a night; Charlotte, who is just the sweetest little girl and the best big sister to Penelope; Penelope, with her big smiles and her love of cuddles; and, of course, Barkley, our protective little dog.
I am also incredibly thankful for my friends and extended family, who made what was a difficult year at times much easier to bear. I am thankful for our cozy home in this wonderful neighbourhood. And I am definitely thankful for having access to quality health care- yes, there are flaws in our health care system, but I know how lucky we are to benefit from universal health care and from the highly skilled health care providers here in Canada.
With so much to be thankful for (that list is really only the tip of the iceberg), it was important to us to take a day this weekend to celebrate. So, on Friday, I went grocery shopping and loaded up with supplies to cook Thanksgiving dinner. I decided to roast a turkey breast instead of an entire turkey- easier to manage, plus it would take us weeks to eat the leftovers from a whole turkey. Also on the menu was chili-stuffed acorn squash, salad, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. All of which is pretty straightforward to make- the salad was just field greens topped with carrot slaw; stuffing was from a box; gravy from a mix; cranberry sauce from a can; and pumpkin pie was store-bought. The squash and the turkey were a bit more involved, but the squash I have made many times; it was really just the turkey that had potential to cause problems.
I did my research- looked up some turkey breast recipes, made sure that the roasting pan for the turkey would fit in the oven alongside the baking pan with the squash, and I had all the ingredients on hand. I got the turkey all prepped and into the roasting pan, and then it hit me- I didn’t know whether or not I should put the lid on the roasting pan. I looked at the recipe but it didn’t specify what to do. I worried that leaving the lid off would cause the turkey to dry out, so I decided to put the lid. So I put it in the oven with the lid on, but was soon second-guessing myself as to whether or not this was the right decision. This was a classic situation in which I desperately wished I could call my mom. She would know exactly what to do and I would have my answer in about 30 seconds. Since asking her was not possible, I opted to text my sister and my dad and his wife. I figured they would all know the answer, and by texting all three of them, I increased my chances of getting a timely response. In fact, all of them got back to me right away with the same answer: lightly tent foil over top of the turkey.
Ok, that seems simple enough, right? How hard can it be to tent foil on a roasting pan? The problem was that I had already put the roasting pan in the oven and had to take it out to tent the foil on top, and so the pan was very hot, and made attaching the foil to the pan quite difficult. At first, I tried doing it with oven mitts on, but that was just completely impossible. So then I tried forming a foil tent which I would then gently attach to the roasting pan, but that didn’t work either- it kept collapsing so that it was no longer a tent but a foil lid. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and I know that I need to get this turkey in the oven if we have any hope of eating before Charlotte’s bedtime. The pan had started to cool down, which made this task a bit easier, and after three or four collapsed tents and several metres of aluminum foil, I finally had a passable tent, and the turkey made it back into the oven.
It’s stupid stuff like that which makes me not enjoy cooking. I hate trying to work out the timing of everything, too- when you have several dishes that all need to be ready at the same time- it’s just stressful. I was worried that the stuffing and gravy would be cold, because they were ready earlier than I expected. In the end, though, all was fine. I thought the turkey was a bit dry, but it was nothing that some cranberry sauce or gravy couldn’t fix. It couldn’t have been too bad- I gave Charlotte a piece to try and she ate it (and swallowed it in a timely fashion) and even asked for another piece- virtually unheard of when she is eating meat, especially meat of the unbreaded variety. And today, of course, we get to enjoy leftovers. I think I will have a turkey sandwich with a Moistmaker for lunch today.
I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday weekend. Don’t forget to wear your eating pants for Thanksgiving dinner- no jeans! They’ve got no give! (I’m sorry, I can’t resist the opportunity for Thanksgiving Friends references). Happy Thanksgiving!