I hosted my first Thanksgiving this year. I had avoided hosting Thanksgiving for many years. My husband commented, he thought it was odd, since I loved to cook so much that I would not want to be in charge of Thanksgiving. I find the coordination of Thanksgiving, intimidating I told him. There is something I find more intimidating (and annoying) than coordinating Thanksgiving dinner, and that is TRAVELING over Thanksgiving weekend.
So for more selfish reasons than I like to admit, I hosted Thanksgiving here in Tennessee. I knew my kitchen would be big enough, I knew the house would be big enough to fit everyone, and I would not have to go anywhere. They only thing that still scared me was, the turkey. I know, why am I scared of a bird? I had cooked them before but I never felt they came out just right. I can handle side dishes, pies, appetizers, and drinks. That turkey continued to spook me, Would it take to long to cook?, Would it be brown and crispy outside?, Would it be moist and delicious inside? Who would carve it? (This duty was previously done by my old neighbor, who was a PRO) I gave up. I figured I had enough to worry about and I ordered a cooked turkey from a local grocery store.
Now this is where the story gets a little crazy. I go to pick up the turkey with my mother in law. This does not bother me, for I love my mother in law, I am blessed to have someone kind, funny, and caring as a mother in law. She and I trundle off to the grocery store. I am not sure what I am expecting, I think my problem began with my image of the turkey. I expected this gorgeous bird in a pan, something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I did not get that.
We wait, my mother in law and I, while the nice young man goes to retrieve my turkey. We chat with the woman also waiting for her turkey. (she looked at me and smiled, you KNOW I was going to talk to her) The young man returns and hands me a cold, wrapped up turkey that looks like it is raw. "Your sure it's cooked?", I ask. "Yes," he assures me. "It even says so on the wrapper." I look at the turkey and think to myself, "WHAT HAVE I DONE!" I am a little scared, I have risked the Thanksgiving turkey and may have lost. I think of the small turkey breast I have cooking in my crock pot. (Yes, I made extra turkey, I am my mother's daughter) Although tasty to be sure, it will never feed everyone. I am not sure what my mother in law is thinking, but as I mentioned she is kind and caring so she smiles with support at me and suggests we go get the roasting pan we will need.
We return home and all is well. The cousins are playing people are relaxing. I get my stuffing ready. When the time comes I place the "turkey" in the oven to reheat. In the end, I am rewarded, and VERY thankful. The turkey comes out moist and delicious, my mother in law is able to doctor the gravy so it is quite good, my stuffing is tasty, and we all eat ourselves fairly silly.
I am Thankful for many things, my family, my married into family, my health, and one other thing. I am Thankful to have learned my lesson about turkey. It is better to cook your own with the love of family than have one handed to you. Working for it is part of the fun.