Tag Archives: how to cook a thanksgiving dinner

I got thanks coming out the wazoo

Hey, have I mentioned how much I love Thanksgiving? Because I do. Oh, so much. And not just because it’s a holiday where it’s acceptable to drink all day.

This year in particular I’m looking forward to because it’s the first Thanksgiving where our whole family is complete. Both kids are now officially out of my uterus and I plan on having no other occupants in said uterus unless my husband wants brutally whacked with a frying pan. So, I am just filled to the brim with the Thanksgiving spirit (and here soon the Thanksgiving spirits).

Which is why I wanted to make a list of all the things I am thankful for this year because there are just so many. For instance…

Not being pregnant like I was last year when I almost puked on three-fourths of my husband’s lovely extended family.

Not being pregnant like I was last year so I can drink wine before I’m required to stick my hand up a strange turkey’s arse.

Not being pregnant like I was last year so I can eat my famous cheeseball again, soaking up all the delicious possible listeria guilt-free.

Not being pregnant like I was last year because, surprise!, I hate being pregnant.

And in non-non-pregnant things to be thankful for:

Joe Biden memes, which I suspect might be the only thing holding the country together at this point.

Not leaving my house on Black Friday but snarkily tweeting about it from the comfort of my couch.

Both my kids are beautiful and healthy and think Momma is just the greatest. Even when she’s having a bad day and isn’t.

Finding friends who like and accept me regardless of my cliché love of pumpkin spice.

That panty hose are no longer a thing.

I know I say this every year, but toilet paper, because, I mean, think of the alternative.

Being an adult and as such having the freedom to have ice cream for breakfast! And a wheel of cheese at lunch! And a beer whenever I want! As long as I do all those things while hiding in the bathroom from the rest of the family!

That moment amidst the chaos when you’re handing your small children back and forth with your significant other because one needs fed and the other needs a diaper change or whatever the reason, and your hands briefly touch while exchanging the kids and you feel so connected, so bonded to them. And you become more than just a team. You become a tribe. And the love is so strong in that brief moment that you almost can’t stand it.

Basil ice cream (it’s a thing and it’s amazing).

That when I look at my children, I’m still blown away by the fact they are mine and I get to keep them.

Accidentally stumbling upon a recipe for Deep Fried Stuffing Balls while looking up Thanksgiving ideas and feeling a swell of pride at being an American in a year where being an American was extremely difficult.

My family is finally at the point financially that we can afford to get two toppings on our pizza. Three, if it’s a special occasion.

There is going to be a revival of “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix (and more broadly, that we live in a time where the end of a beloved TV show isn’t necessarily the end).

Tiny, chubby baby feet that you have to use all of your willpower not to bite because they are the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen and for some reason humans always want to bite really adorable things.

My stupid dog. God, I love that stupid dog.

Our son isn’t even close to being potty trained yet but at least he is to the point where he can tell us loudly in public that he is “GOING POTTY RIGHT NOW, MOMMA! YAY!”

Having the power in the palm of my hand to reach out to other moms, other writers, other rabid fans of the TV show “Supernatural.” All of those things can be extremely isolating and I can guarantee I’m not the only one who has found a haven online to help get me through the bad days. For all our handwringing about how technology is turning us into a bunch of zombies, at least we are bunch of zombies with online friends who understand what we are going through.

Strangers who randomly tell you to have a Happy Thanksgiving.

And on that note, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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If my blog were a sitcom, this would be the Thanksgiving episode

OPENING SCENE: Camera zooms in to clock beside Aprill’s bed. Time reads 4:43 a.m. Sound of baby crying.

APRILL (lying in bed, eyes still closed): “Nope. No way. (Voice gradually getting louder) You wish I loved you enough to wake up this early on a holiday! Go back to sleep, Riker!”

Crying continues.

APRILL (eyes still closed, kicking her husband, Ryan, with her leg): “I’ll give you $50,000 if you go get him right now.”

RYAN (raises head from pillow, his bedhead making him look like a deranged muppet): “Please. I’m still waiting for the $100,000 you promised me when I took the dog out during a blizzard last year. And the $4 million you promised me when I gave you my last mozzarella stick Tuesday.”

Cue laugh track.

Crying gets louder.

APRILL (slowly and dramatically rolling off bed, eyes still closed): “Ugh. He’s so dramatic. I bet when I go in there, he’s not even missing a limb.”

Cue giggle track since the joke is so-so at best.

Camera fades to black and reopens on Riker’s nursery. Aprill is getting ready to change Riker’s diaper.

APRILL: “Well, happy first Thanksgiving, kiddo. (Opens diaper) WHOA! How did all that even fit inside your tiny body? I’m not even mad. I’m impressed. (Note: Check with legal if we can use this and not get sued by Will Ferrell) Guess you’re thankful for having the bowel movements of a Budweiser Clydesdale, huh?”

Aprill carries Riker into the kitchen, which is pristine and huge and has a funky vintage fridge just like all sitcom kitchens, even if the people in the sitcom are poor and live in a ridiculously expensive city.

APRILL: “Well, since we’re up, we might as well get a jump on Thanksgiving dinner.”

Aprill opens funky vintage fridge, which is full of colorful fruits and vegetables and POM drinks, and not leftover Chinese food and Kraft singles and a carrot that committed suicide in 2011.

APRILL: “Shit!” (if this airs on late-night cable) “Darn it!” (if this airs on network TV) “Babe! I forgot to defrost the turkey!”

Stumbling noises heard off-camera. Ryan enters the kitchen, bedhead now making him look like the love child of Nick Nolte and Justin Bieber.

RYAN: “Huh. Well, that sounds like a pretty big problem for Future Ryan to deal with. But right now, Current Ryan is going back to bed.”

Two hours later…

Ryan wakes up to a loud noise. He walks into the kitchen.

RYAN: “Uh…whatcha doin’?”

APRILL: “Blow-drying the turkey, obviously. Added bonus, I occasionally blow it directly in Riker’s face and it makes him giggle. And his hair is now super shiny.”

RYAN: “Aw…that’s my delicate little flower.”

Cue laugh track.

APRILL: “By the way, how long does a turkey take to cook?”

RYAN: “I don’t know. I have to Google it every year. Why don’t you know? You’ve made the turkey before.”

APRILL: “And how did that work out?”

RYAN: “Yeah, but after the food poisoning symptoms passed, remember how happy you were you lost five pounds?”

APRILL: “I finally fit in my skinny sweatpants.”

Cue pity laugh track.

Four hours later…

Aprill, Ryan, Riker and the dog are all on the back porch as smoke billows out of the windows of their house. Sirens can be heard in the background.

APRILL: “Who knew potatoes could explode like that?”

RYAN: “Two people who have a small infant they are in charge of keeping alive probably should.”

APRILL: “This day is a disaster. Do we have any wine?”

RYAN: “No. But we have some cooking sherry that’s probably tainted considering I think I bought it back in the 90s. That ought to do the trick.”

APRILL: “I’ll get the sherry, you call China Garden.”

RYAN: “I think that makes four years in a row. Pretty sure it’s now officially a Thanksgiving tradition.”

APRILL: “It’s just not the holidays without crab rangoon and the smell of burning arm hair.”

Ryan kisses Aprill.

Cue “Ooooooo” kissy-face track.

RYAN: “Insert some cheesy line here.”

Cue applause track.

Fade to credits.

 

Violating turkeys and other Thanksgiving fun

I’ll never forget the first time I cooked my very own Thanksgiving dinner. (Nor will my dog and husband, who are both reminded every time they catch a glimpse of where their eyebrows used to be in the mirror).

If you’ve never done it before, boy, are YOU in for a treat. Sure, it can be a bit overwhelming, but rest assure, I am here to talk you through it.

The very first thing you should know is that there is a dirty little secret regarding the Thanksgiving turkey that no one ever really talks about. But since basic human decency has never stopped me before, let me just throw it out there:

You have to stick your hand up the turkey’s ass.

Oh, you read me right. Your hand has to go up the turkey’s behind and then pull everything you find up there out.

Why, you ask? I have no bloody idea. Something like 0.0007 percent of the population ever actually use whatever the hell is up there in their recipes. But apparently that small minority has some major lobbying power in Congress because legislation mandating that someone else deal with the “innards” before it ever gets to your local grocery store has yet to be passed.

Thus, until we finally get enough votes to defeat the powerful Gizzard Lobby, we will be elbow deep in turkey butt once a year.

Therefore, the very first thing you should do before cooking your Thanksgiving dinner is take your turkey out for drinks and a movie. A bit old-fashioned, sure, but I refuse to violate anything I haven’t first bought a cocktail and appetizer for first.

I’m a romantic, what can I say?

This should be quickly followed by a mature conversation with your significant other about who should be the one to actually stick their hand up the turkey’s ass. If you guys are anything like me and my husband, that conversation will go something like this:

Me: It should be you.

Him: Hell no.

If it is your hand that has to get intimately involved with the dead bird’s rectum, let me just say this about the experience, without going into the gross and gratuitous details:

I drew you a picture.

violating turkey

Then put the turkey in the oven.

An hour later, take the turkey out of the oven while another family member takes the batteries out of the incessantly beeping smoke detector. As it turns out, when the recipe book says you should completely cover the turkey while it’s cooking, they don’t mean with a plastic lid.

Other important Thanksgiving cooking lessons you should probably know:

A microwave is no place for aluminum foil.

If you are trying to mash potatoes with only a fork, expect to be mashing them until roughly Christmas.

If half of your turkey is burned, it doesn’t necessarily mean the other half is cooked.

Gravy should not be cooked until it can technically be classified as a “solid.”

Wine is good.

(As is vodka or, in a pinch, Nyquil).

Good luck, everybody! And Happy Thanksgiving!