Cinderella started it.
My boys had been rewarded with any Netflix movie of their choice a few days ago (No, I don’t remember why. Probably because Momsie was tired, so television) – and of course they picked Mickey’s Magical Christmas extravaganza. Of course they did. The weirdos. There’s nothing like watching snow fall and listening to Christmas Carols in FEBRUARY to make a person feel a little… off. Like, Groundhog Day “off.” With lots of yuletide.
However, Cinderella got to me. At one point in the movie (and yes, I know this outs me as sitting and watching too, but I was FOLDING LAUNDRY SO IT WAS PRODUCTIVE SITTING) Cinderella is explaining what she is thankful for. The moment really touched me. Mainly because she mentions Gus-Gus and I just love him, and also because it brought me back to my Thanksgiving and one of the things I am most grateful for:
(Wait, you ask… not your family? Or freedom? Or, um… your health? Or that your greatest problem this morning was what pair of yoga pants to wear? Just turkey?)
Don’t judge. I’m not shallow. I just know one basic fact about poultry: Turkey is redemptive.
And, I had a turkey. It had been hiding away in my freezer since last October. I had potatoes. I had some flour and milk, and a bit of salt. Oh and bread and sage and celery. Therefore, I had all I needed to make (drum roll and small flourish of leftover Christmas garland):
THANKSGIVING IN FEBRUARY!!!!!!
Now, to keep this post to a manageable size, I am not going to bore you with all the details. I am, however, going to give you a list of handy-dandy Momsie tips for making this lovely meal. I am doing this for three reasons:
1. My mother makes the best Thanksgiving dinner in the whole world. I have a 6 page, handwritten recipe from her that details the entire dinner and so, I want to share some of this wonderfulness with you. I am just that generous.
2. Turkey is cheap. It makes about 7 million meals AFTER the initial meal, and I am all about leftovers. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Turkey casserole, turkey fettuccine, turkey sammies, turkey hash, turkey and rice soup… If you work it right you could be eating that bird and all its parts until May. *
3. This meal will get you major props from the family but actually? It’s really not nearly as hard as they will think it is, therefore if you play your cards right you might get some sort of subsidy. Like a new car. Or at least some jewelry. **
So, I give you:
MOMSIE’S COUNTDOWN TO THANKSGIVING IN SOME OTHER MONTH BESIDES NOVEMBER:
1. Buy the bird on sale – during the holidays you can get a good deal. I just make sure my freezer can handle two birdies and stock up.
2. Make sure to thaw your birdie for at least 3 days. Put it in a big bowl in your ‘fridge. Pat it lovingly whenever you open the ‘fridge door and whisper, “Soon, my pretty.”
3. Day before, tear up about 8-10 slices of bread and sit out to get nice and stale. Or, skip this entirely and buy a box of Stovetop. It’s OK. I will not tell.
3. Do not fear giblets. They are your friend. Take ’em out, along with the neck. Put them in a small pan (MAKE SURE TO TAKE THEM OUT OF THEIR PAPER BAGGIE!) with some seasoning, and boil them for a good long while. They look disgusting. The neck looks like the monster from Alien. If your children are around, chase ’em around with it a bit. This adds suspense and excitement. After about two hours (or longer – giblets be tough) let them cool, discard the liver (ewww) and chop up all the giblety bits into teeny tiny pieces. This will go into stuffing. KEEP the broth. However, DON’T put it in a mason jar like I did and then later think it’s your lemonade. (I had strained it). VERY VERY surprising.
4. Ok, now, get that bird in a BAG with a bit of flour and Tony C’s (I love you Tony!) and make sure to pop it in the oven at the right time. Please listen to me: That nice little cooking timetable you found on the packaging? IT’S WRONG. ADD AN HOUR. The bird will not be dry, it will be falling off the bone. Add an HOUR, ok?
5. Bird is in. Clean up the kitchen. Go read a magazine.
6. At about 4 ish – make homemade stuffing. (Don’t freak – it’s not hard. Saute celery, onions, some seasoning, in butter. Stir in the teeny tiny giblets, the celery mixture, and two beaten eggs into the stale bread. Add lots of sage (I do actually grow mine and dry it. Super easy. And it makes me feel like Martha Stewart.) Add salt, pepper, whatever floats your boat (Tony, Tony Tony…) Add the mason jar broth until the mixture is nice and mushy. I don’t know how much to tell you to add – I just will say you need enough so that the mixture would hold together if you squeezed it into a snowball. Stuffing snowball. Nice image. Put in well buttered pan – bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Baste with melted butter if you want to during cooking. If you use Stovetop, just add some celery and giblets to that – it’s a great fake.
7. After stuffing is in, make the mashed potatoes! Make a LOT. Because, my mission statement:
One Can Never Have Too Many Mashed Potatoes.
8. Take bird out of the oven a good thirty minutes before you want to eat. It needs to REST. It’s had a hard life.
9. Cut open the bag and with HELP, get the birdie out and onto a surface that will catch drips. I do this with my husband. It’s a test of our marriage. We use two utensils and kinda “skewer” the poor thing and lift and remove and it’s very, um, complicated and a bit terse. This is the ONLY part of this whole deal that kinda makes me nutty, but the bag is worth it.
Or, if your hubs is not around and you only have (useless) toddlers that want to help but that’s just crazy – you can just sorta mutilate it in the bag and take out chunks so that you end up with this:
9. Make gravy. Because, my mission statement #2:
Gravy Makes Everything Better.
10. Ok, done! Get your toddlers to set the table, get some sort of vegetable to make you feel better if you must (otherwise, the entire meal is just kinda brown, but again, it’s so goooooooood.)
Watch husband start circling you like a turkey obsessed vulture. He actually started crooning to it at one point, all Barry White style.
And voila! You are queen of everything.
* The lawyer says probably not until May. But maybe April.
** I did not get a new car. I did, however, get a Reese’s Easter Egg, which as you know, is just about as good.