Monday, November 21, 2011

Define Panic - and a new way to process it

This morning started well enough for a bad night of sleep. Got the kids' lunches packed, drove them to school and headed to the Greenway for a lovely pre-writing walk with the dog. The weather was beautiful: warm sun on my face, light breeze at my back, darker rain clouds visible but far off to the west, over the blue ridge mountains.

This is a great time for my brain to settle down after a weekend of single parenting, lessons, Nutcracker rehearsals, and a few household chores. With the dog fully exercised, I was ready to shower and get to work on more video editing and book writing with a nice hot cup of pumpkin flavored coffee.

Then I saw it. The flier from the kids' school about the Thanksgiving luncheon. My son said yesterday he thought the luncheon was Monday. I said,

"Excuse me!? I'm the one who reads the stuff that comes home in the family envelopes. Do you?"

He let it go. Wished he hadn't. I would have been forced to find the flier yesterday to prove him wrong - only to find out how right he was. This is the same luncheon for which I had been working with the girls scouts on all the decorations for the past three weeks. It wasn't so much the schedule of the luncheon. I also volunteered to roast one of the Turkeys. ACK!!!!!

I turned the oven on to 500 degrees. Thank goodness the turkey had been thawing the fridge since last Friday. I knew the time would be tight. This one actually had me stumped. More than likely, if was the loss of my wits as much as my sense of calm.

I had trouble falling / staying asleep last night as I waited for Steve to arrive from another weekend trip to Detroit. After I put the kids to bed, I was flipping between the American Music Awards and the FOOD TV network - my comfort channel. Last night, a group of Chef/Personalities were doing a "Thanksgiving Live" with opportunity for viewers to call, email, skype and tweet/FB cooking questions. None of the suggestions were about panic cooking times for forgetful mommies.

To the internets!

Many of my Facebook and Twitter friends (mostly the guys - interesting....) offered suggestions for local stores that might have one ready to go. One friend who owns a restaurant even offered to help. (What a sweetie, Kristophor Sandholm at Starfish Restaurant!!) I found out that buying a cooked turkey at a local store would still mean I'd have to heat it up for 45 minutes and carve it.

My friend, Hillary Kwiatek suggested cutting the turkey like a chicken and hoping for the best. (Sensible, mommy cook Twitter friend). I thought I remembered something like that on Chopped; except it was duck... Whatever. I backed the heat down to 400 and hacked through the bird, really wishing I can a huge horror movie-like meat cleaver. It wasn't pretty.

Drizzled olive oil over all the parts, generously salted and peppered and shoved it in the oven.

After about 90 minutes, the internal temp finally reached 165. I left the turkey on the stove to let it rest while I showered. While rinsing the shampoo, I had visions of Buddy becoming of the Bumpuses' dogs. (Name that movie reference) I jumped out of the shower - trail of water and soap to the kitchen to see a confused sleepy-eyed pooch lounging on the living room couch. (Really need curtains on the windows, btw)

Dry. Dress. Time to "carve/hack/destroy" what I hoped would be edible.

By golly that turkey was juicy and delicious. Sliced, with a little bit of the juices poured over it, I drove it to school still wearing my apron. The luncheon had started, but I brought in my turkey just in the knick of time - almost as if planned.

This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful to my friends who know how my hand needs to be held. I'm thankful for social media; once again keeping me laughing at myself. I'm also grateful for the FoodTV network. The hours I invested in that truly paid off.

Is 12:30pm on a Monday too soon to drink a glass of wine?


  1. Wow, that looks delicious! I'm going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving, but I always make a turkey the next day so we have leftovers. I wasn't looking forward to the 4 hours roasting time, so I am going to try your way this year - minus the panic, of course. Thanks for the great idea! :-)

  2. Boiled down carcass for 64 oz. of home made turkey stock and 8 cups of diced turkey meat. Only have to figure out what I'm cooking for family of 4 for T-day dinner.