A friend asked me on e-mail Sunday morning how the holiday dinner had gone. I replied:

We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house on Friday, sandwiches last night, maybe some hot version tonight.

It was our counter-move to SIL preparing the dinner on Thursday. When we arrived I saw the bird was already out of the oven, but grayish yellow in color. I figured it would go back in for browning but instead it sat on the counter-top for an hour. She then pulled out a Santoku knife, which impressed me. I mentioned we have a new one in the set I bought us to replace the knives my mom gave us 36 years ago at our wedding.

As is her wont she proudly announced it was a Henckel and that she had always wanted a good knife. I asked if she were going to carve it, as being rather traditional, I think only the experienced should cut the bird. She said she was going to do it.

Slumping a bit in my insides, I hoped that it was to outdo the departed husband who always mutilated them. It was never possible to say "I'd like a slice of dark ( or white) meat please " as he took to a bird with an electric knife and didn't stop until there was a pile of nearly uniform chunks unidentifiable as turkey. He was an engineer who liked things precise.

I was wrong. Kind of anyway.

She picked up the knife, and yanked some of the gray skin back until the large end of the breast was exposed. She pushed down with the knife, in a slow guillotine move until it gave way. She did that again twice until putting the knife down. I will say that nothing I saw indicated any need for a high quality knife. She then went at the entire bird for 10 minutes like some sort of deranged serial killer dismembering a body with her fingers.

The result was a pile of shredded strings of turkey. Nothing that even remotely looked like a slice of turkey.

The dressing had raw chunks of celery and onion she called "sautéed". The bread was hard.

The mashed potatoes were cold but the burned spots where they had stuck to the pan they were cooked in provided a textural interest.

She forgot to put the giblets in the gravy.

Etc.

Wait !!!! I forgot. She deftly shook the cranberry jelly out of the can without harming the little indentations I had believed since childhood were there as a slicing guide and then dug a serving spoon into it !!!

Their step-dad picked at hors d'ouevres, licking his fingers each time before reaching in again. Who needs mixed nuts, olives and such anyway I resolved myself to accepting.

The pie was a success, even though the insides were some sort of calorie conscious pumpkin foam. The cook declared, "I added my own touch to the recipe on the Libby's can"....whatever that means. 

Mrs. thought the day went beautifully until I gave her an accounting of it from my perspective which made her howl with laughter.

All in all it went nicely. Thanks for asking.

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Comment by DaisyJane on November 30, 2015 at 7:41am

i am laughing over here, too, aka.  Thats a bad day!  The lady who carved our turkey?  She was a CHAMP!  Soggy stuffing tho - PRO TIP:  make the stuffing, butter muffin tins, put a pile of stuffing in each hole, nicely rounded on top, and bake at 350 for like 20 minutes - each person gets their own "Stuffin" and each one is nice and crispy!!

I am sorry it wasnt more delicious - that crap with the cranberry is crazy! a SPOON!!

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 30, 2015 at 7:42am

:)   no one wants a turkey carved by me   no one  :)

Comment by alsoknownas on November 30, 2015 at 7:49am

DaisyJane,

Thanks for stopping in.

That's a good tip on the dressing. Stuffing has to have been in the bird.

Comment by alsoknownas on November 30, 2015 at 8:10am

Jon,

Carving the bird seems to be a daunting task for many.

Thanks for coming by.

 

Comment by Zanelle on November 30, 2015 at 8:47am

Thanks for the laugh.  I carved the bird at the table.  I will never do that again.  As my hands grabbed at the slippery thing I wondered if it would all end up on the floor.  But I managed a plate of big pieces and only slightly terrorized the poor vegetarian at the table.  One year my drunk boyfriend spilled the turkey on the floor as he carried it into the table.  Thank goodness for dogs who mopped up the drippings and we rescued the turkey.  Poor birds. 

Comment by koshersalaami on November 30, 2015 at 9:27am
Great description

I ate out this year
Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 30, 2015 at 9:29am

Hope the SIL doesn't read your blog.  R&L ;-)

Comment by alsoknownas on November 30, 2015 at 9:34am

Zanelle,

I've never been there when the bird slid off the tray but there is still time I figure.

Comment by alsoknownas on November 30, 2015 at 9:39am

koshersalaami.

I paid for an expensive buffet at a well known downtown hotel one Thanksgiving. The only thing Mrs.' step dad would eat that time was a bagel and some lox. A costly bagel indeed.

Some guy that time was there in his sweat pants eating food off his plate as he moved around the buffet line.

At least this way I didn't have to tip anybody.

Comment by Rosigami on November 30, 2015 at 9:52am

So funny to see the day through your eyes! 

I'm the turkey carver in our house, and I always do it "backstage", where I can take my time and set it out on a platter, neatly sliced and organized. No fancy knives for me- just a nicely honed blade, thanks to the BLP. 

Another tip for a good turkey is to get small birds, around 12 to 14 lbs. They are just more tender and less apt to be stringy. I have a convection oven, which helps, too. Also if the bird is roasted covered, it tends to dry out.
If I am having more than 3 or four guests, I just cook two of them. One the day of, and the other the next day. Gotta have those leftovers! 

One Thanksgiving many years ago in another life, my then-husband and I were invited for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's parents' house. 
They made a chicken dinner, because "Dad doesn't care for turkey".
Eww.



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