I did it! I survived Thanksgiving. Granted, I'm tired -- really tired -- but what a joy to cook for the special people in my life. For any of you who put on a feast for a houseful of people, you know the feeling that comes over you when the last person has had their coffee and pumpkin pie and all the dishes have been washed. It's then that you feel the urge to slump over somewhere and wake up in 2008, or maybe 2009. Hibernation. That's the word. It's more than tryptophan that's kicking in, it's hostess exhaustion induced by standing in the kitchen from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. -- running from one pot to the next, checking and tasting and stirring and doing what cooks do (man, do I have respect for professional chefs).
Here are some things I learned this year:
*Don't use the bottom of your oven as a "rack." Ever. I don't know when, but on a cooking show this year, someone said you can use the bottom of your oven as a rack when you've run out of space. Uh, NO! I tried this while roasting squash and the parchment paper nearly went up in flames. Luckily, we caught the smoke just in time and didn't burn the house down.
*You can never have too much butter. I thought I had plenty (as in three packages), but nearly ran out. Next year I'm going to buy gallons and gallons of the stuff.
*Enlist help: Don't think you can put on a feast for your entire family by yourself. It's just not possible. Really, it's not -- even if you're Martha. Enlist potato peelers, carrot choppers, dish washers and the like.
*If it's not working, ditch it. I scrapped the pomegranate glaze for my turkey because the bird was looking good as-is. Why ruin a good thing?
*Lemons: Don't stuff them in your turkey; they'll slow the cooking of the hindquarters and throw off your dinner.
*And, don't forget the doggie. They watch you cook the whole meal, like my golden Paisley did, and faithfully wait for a little scrap of turkey. Don't dissapoint them!
So yes, I'm thankful for lots of things this year -- thankful that the house didn't burn down, that the food was edible, that the guests enjoyed themselves, and that my family is happy, healthy and well fed!