We had a pretty joyous and raucous Thanksgiving Day celebration. I was feeling pretty happy because I had successfully delegated a lot of the cooking chores. Woohooo!
The plan was that SwampDaughter was making the spinach-artichoke casserole with sour cream and parmesan cheese which she had improved by adding bacon. Mmmmmm. Why didn’t I think of that? She was also making the sweet potato casserole (which turned out really well. She didn’t have a recipe and just stirred in whatever ingredients she had on hand that sounded good to her into some mashed sweet taters.)
Son got in from Augusta Wednesday night and got up early early in the a.m. on Thanksgiving to smoke the (store bought) turkey.
Mom was bringing the dressing, collards, and pies.
My brother was bringing rumnog and his cream cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers which were wrapped with bacon, skewered with chunks of pineapple, and grilled.
That just left me with a dessert, the wild rice and sausage casseroles, green beans, rolls, and ten pounds of mashed potatoes to fix. I did everything except the green beans and rolls the night before so I wouldn’t be a total anxious wreck the next day worrying over the food, which I always do. I STILL had a near sleepless night worrying about whether everything would be okay and whether there would be enough food for 14 people.
I felt I had a lot to make up for. You see, last year I got the flu right before Thanksgiving. I could barely move. I was running a high temperature and could not keep anything down. I called everybody to cancel. Everybody except our son, that is, who had told me he didn’t know if he would be in town for Thanksgiving and could make it. Since he never let me know, I figured he wasn’t coming. Imagine my surprise when, on Thanksgiving Day, there was a knock on the door and there stood son and his daughter, happily expecting a meal with the entire family. I wasn’t even dressed and sick as a dog. I wouldn’t let them even come in the house and ordered them away for their own good. SwampMan didn’t even get a Thanksgiving dinner.
This year, SwampMan was sick. He was not allowed to get near the food. He was not allowed to get near the table. He was barely allowed out of bed because he could not pass his germs on to me this year. I was DETERMINED that this year would be perfect. I would not even stay in the same room with him because I didn’t want the germs jumping over to me, forcing me to cancel Thanksgiving again.
Thanksgiving day, I was barely moving due to the sleepless night of worry. I decided I needed coffee. I first made coffee without any coffee in the coffeemaker. Then I put the coffee into the coffeemaker, but I forgot to replace the pot, and had coffee spilling EVERYWHERE. On the third try, I got it right. I had to have five cups of coffee before I was awake enough to do my farm chores, then started zipping around the house picking up and straightening up.
About an hour before the guests were to arrive, I started transferring made-ahead casseroles to the oven to heat. I got to the potatoes that I’d so carefully cooked, peeled, seasoned, and mashed with sour cream and butter, then lovingly placed in my best big glass pyrex casserole dish the night before. I slid that sucker out and dropped that big ol’ glass casserole dish slap on the floor. Glass shards flew EVERYWHERE. (Note to self: Next time, use the cheapass tinfoil casseroles for the refrigerator to oven thang.)
I burst into tears over my mashed potatoes mess. “Well, maybe you can just dust it off and put it into another pan!” SwampMan said helpfully.
“THERE’S GLASS IN IT!”
“Well, maybe you can stir it good.”
I think my laughter may have had just a touch of hysteria in it. It was Thanksgiving Day, the potatoes and glass shards were all over the floor, the grocery stores were closed, I had a terrible mess to clean up, and it was time to cook the green beans. I salvaged about half of the potatoes to feed to the chickens, putting them into a smaller glass casserole dish and placing it on the counter before cleaning up glass and taters. I had glass and mashed potatoes all over me, I kept having to pick glass shards out of my feet despite sweeping and vacuuming, and SwampMan strongly suggested that I might need to get in the shower to wash some of the blood OFF from glass scratches before anybody got here. And put on clean clothes without blood and mashed potatoes all over them.
I had just gotten out of the shower and screamed something like “Oh, SHIT! I forgot the green beans!” as I ran into the kitchen just as the first guests, SwampDaughter and family, arrived with food and kids.
“Don’t let the kids in here without shoes on!” I said as I stopped to pick another piece of glass out of my foot. “Did Daddy explain that there will be NO potatoes this year and to watch out for glass? Oh, crap, the green beans!”
“RELAX, Mom!” SwampDaughter said. “You know SwampBrother will be late with the turkey. He probably won’t be here for an hour yet…” just then SwampSon walked in with his daughter, his girlfriend, and her two kids and the turkey. I quickly snapped one package of green beans instead of the three I was going to make, and just threw them in some boiling water with bacon instead of the gingered sausage green beans that I had planned.
“Uh, Mom?” SwampDaughter said.
“What is it?”
“Did, uh, you know that you sorta didn’t brush your hair?”
I looked into the mirror. My wet hair was standing pretty much straight up.
“No, no, I didn’t. Thank you for telling me now that everybody is here!”
I ran back to brush my hair, then ran out to help Mom and brother bring in food. We were about to sit down at the table when I realized that I hadn’t put the rolls into the oven to bake yet. DAMN!
Despite the potato debacle, there was actually plenty of food. The wild rice and sausage casseroles, dressing, collards, green beans, sweet taters, spinach-artichoke casserole, grilled stuffed jalapenos, gravy, rolls and succulent tender juicy smoked turkey was enough food for everybody. It was ALL excellent. Then there were the pies….
I forgot to take my dessert out of the fridge until after daughter had gone home! Mom, son’s girlfriend, and I ate some of it before they, too, had to leave.
I was cleaning up the kitchen after the guests left when my brother called. “Oh, I forgot to tell you. I left the rumnog in the back of your fridge.”
“Okay, I can bring it to you tomorrow!”
“No, I left it for you. I think you might need it!”
I got the dishwasher started. SwampMan had gone to bed. I took out the rumnog and had a water glass of it. It was potent! And delicious. I poured another glass. It was even better this time. I couldn’t even taste the alcohol. Somehow that whole big ol’ bottle of rumnog got empty. I loved my family. I loved the whole world. I was relaxed and warm and happy.
“I probably ought to go to the bathroom and head for bed now.” I remember thinking to myself. “But I can’t feel my legs. Should I be walking if I can’t feel my legs? Can I even stand up?” Somewhere in that conversation with myself I fell fast asleep until late the next morning.
I was reading a post on the blogosphere about some woman with washboard abs and three small children and how some women either attempted to have her banned or succeeded in having her and her washboard abs pics banned from Facebook on the grounds that they made other women feel bad about themselves.
When I was young, it took relatively little effort for me to have low bodyfat and washboard abs. After I reached my 40s, I was struggling. I had to do a LOT of exercise in order to stay even. When I hit my mid 50s, I would have to exercise for hours every day and eat lettuce leaves and little else to be thin enough to have a waistline, let alone washboard abs, because the old fat cells are screaming “You could be left on an ice floe any day now! Eat MORE! You need to store up food NOW!” I tell my fat cells to chill because bitch, we in Florida and the only ice is in my DRINK, but do they listen? No.
So that is why, instead of agonizing over my waistline and fat content of same, I was in the kitchen making my version of chicken piccatta tonight.
I put salted water on to heat in my smallest stock pot. I took out a package of boneless chicken breasts. I bludgeoned them mercilessly with a marble rolling pin until they were sufficiently thin, dumped some gluten-free flour into a bowl, poured in garlic and salt until it smelled right, dredged the skinny but much wider chicken breasts through the flour, and quickly browned them in a pan of sizzling Spanish olive oil. After removing the chicken breasts to a platter, I threw a pound of fresh sliced mushrooms and a chopped onion into the pan, and tossed in a half stick of butter. There was supposed to be white wine dumped into the pan but noooooooo. My white wine was all gone. All I had left was a little Chilean red. What the heck. I dumped some of that in. It’s not like the chicken was going to complain about me using the wrong color wine.
In the meantime, the water for the (gluten free) spaghetti was boiling, so I put the spaghetti on to cook. The mushrooms and onions were good, so I added a can of chicken stock, a jar of artichoke hearts, the chicken breasts, and took out the Meyer lemons.
About that time, SwampMan asked “What are you cooking?”
“Does that have lemons in it?”
“Yes, it does!”
“I hate lemons. Leave those out.”
*sigh* I just added the juice and lemon bits of ONE lemon instead of three. Dang. Then I covered the pot so it could simmer for 20 minutes.
When the GF spaghetti was done, I drained the spaghetti and returned the pot to the burner, adding a dash of cream and 4 tablespoons of butter to the pot to melt. I reached into the fridge for my package of parmesan cheese only to pull out a mostly empty bag. Well, crap. I tossed that into the spaghetti, then found a baby swiss cheese that I grated into the pot, stirring everything well. I grabbed a clean fork and stabbed a forkful for a taste test. Yum! I added just a little more salt, then put little mounds of spaghetti with cheese on our plates. I added capers to the chicken piccatta, then spooned the chicken breasts, mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, capers and sauce on top of the spaghetti.
That could be why I do not have washboard abs and do not care.
Three weeks from tomorrow, SwampMan will be in the hospital getting his worst knee replaced. If SwampMan becomes mobile and we start hiking and camping and bicycling again, I may just start working toward achieving washboard abs again….okay, maybe not.
I noted that my spice rack was incomplete this morning. This may come as a surprise to those of you that knew that I was vastly downsizing my kitchen complexity or at least making noises about it.
SwampMan started moaning and groaning about a cold while demanding breakfast of eggs, sausage patties, and grits, then saying things like “Fine *hack* *groan* just make me oatmeal then. No. Don’t make me anything at all! I don’t want you to go to any trouble.” when I asked him how many eggs he wanted, and whether stick sausage would be okay since I didn’t have any ground sausage. Grrrrrr.
It was right then that I started realizing how lacking my spice cabinet was. I have no spices for something like this. No assorted little glass containers of rat poison, or arsenic, or cyanide….
“And be sure you make the grits right. I don’t want them too dry. I want them more liquid. But soft, not hard. And not watery. And you never get the scrambled eggs right.” So, why does he keep asking for them? Why doesn’t he make them himself? It’s a mystery of married life.
Scrambled eggs, you see, are supposed to be “fluffy”. But not wet. And not dry. And the pieces should not be too big. Or too small. And they must be fluffy. Well, my gracious.
I have to tell y’all that I finally succeeded in making SwampMan the perfect scrambled eggs. I could have made them earlier had SwampMan been more articulate as to his egg preferences. He SHOULD have said ”Cook me an empty omelette and then cut that shit up.” Now THAT is a description I can go by.
Daughter put a picture of Zoe on Facebook that looks EXACTLY like I do when I’m contemplating the people excusing the failures of the Democrats to recognize the trainwreck that is Obamacare. WHAT DID THESE IDIOTS THINK THIS WAS ABOUT? It certainly wasn’t about health care, because there are better and less expensive ways to accomplish what they destroyed.
Oh, silly me. I know what they *thought* would happen. The media would proclaim how wonderful of a triumph this was for the poor and ignore the reality as per usual with all of the Obama policies. But a funny thing happened. Too many people got screwed over for the media to cover up. The lies told by the Bullshitter in Chief were too pervasive for denial, though they did try to deny them as well as blaming the eeeeevil insurance companies. When that didn’t stick, they told everybody they “misunderstood”.
I didn’t misunderstand. The government is going to subject us to irrevocable harm financially through an unsecure website to get overpriced ”insurance” that is nothing of the kind. I consider it more of a government extortion program. How long will it be until somebody is notified that if, say, a court ruling doesn’t go the way they want, medical treatment for a family member will be denied?
Think it couldn’t happen? People that supported Romney were audited by the IRS, costing them tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands to defend against. Tea Party members were harassed by the IRS as well as other government departments. It’s already happening. And now the IRS will have your medical records, too, and government will decide what care, if any, you will get.