Thanksgiving week is a bit of a blur. I was sleep deprived, emotionally spent, and physically exhausted from the DC trip so I was just grateful to remain upright for most of it. It’s important to set reasonable expectations, I always say.
I really thought I had, too. Bee came through like a champ, bringing all the sides plus two desserts to boot. All BrightSide and I had to do was make the turkey breast and mashed potatoes. Culinarily speaking, it was the easiest holiday we’ve had in a long while.
Gracie didn’t even steal the turkey.
My family was here until late in the day, and by the time they left we pretty much crashed. I had just enough energy to make sure the leftovers were all fridged and the dishes had been washed. When I fell into bed that night it was with a sense of relief that I’d have a whole day to recover (again) before diving into our second Thanksgiving.
Most of Friday was spent on the couch cybershopping until I finally schlepped into the kitchen to make Aunt Ollie’s pound cake.
Aunt Ollie’s pound cake is one of the recipes passed down in BrightSide’s family, and it is nothing short of heavenly. When made well it’s a perfectly moist lemon pound cake that elicits tears of joy. I still remember the year I overbaked it by three minutes – three lousy minutes – just long enough to strip out the moisture and make it an ‘okay’ pound cake. Aunt Ollie doesn’t deserve an ‘okay’ pound cake in her name…this thing is a masterpiece.
At any rate, I made it for Thanksgiving a few years back and since then it’s been my annual contribution to the family dinner. It’s made from scratch so it’s labor intensive, sure, but definitely worth the time.
Thus we arrive at Friday afternoon when I dragged my tired fanny into the kitchen, began collecting my ingredients, and preheated the oven to 325 degrees. (This is one of those low and slow baking cakes.) It takes a while to pull everything together. All told, start to finish, mixing batter to oven ready…it probably takes about twenty to thirty minutes (depending a great deal on the number of kid interruptions and Gracie antics).
Gracie and Phoebe were keeping me company when I finally had to cake ready to go. I turned, opened the oven door, and nearly dropped the cake pan.
Happily preheating inside my oven was my wooden cutting board, the turkey carcass from Thursday’s meal, and carving tools. Things began happening in quick succession from there.
Thought 1: Sweet giblets!
Thought 2: How did that not catch on fire?!
Thought 3: How do I get the turkey out, the cake in, and the turkey put away somewhere without Gracie attacking one of my weak points? ‘Cause life in this house is always a battle of wits with the Golden.
I hollered for help but, as is often the case, when you most need someone around that’s when they’re finally not underfoot. I managed to juggle the oven contents so Aunt Ollie’s cake would have some bake time, then I collapsed on the couch.
I mean, what the hell?! Surprisingly, it wasn’t until this moment that I stopped to wonder what a turkey and cutting board were doing in the oven. I guess that’s what comes from living steeped in bizarre moments, day in and day out.
The good news? No flames and no smoke alarms (plus Aunt Ollie’s cake was delicious – priorities, people).
The semi-bad news? There were a few rooms in the house that smelled a bit wood-ish for a couple of days, and we lost any chance at turkey leftovers. (Twice baked turkey isn’t nearly as delicious as twice baked potatoes.)
So there you have it. My bizarre kitchen story for 2016’s Thanksgiving.
I can’t make this stuff up.