Dale Earnhardt said "Ya win some, ya lose some and ya wreck some." Of course, he was talking about NASCAR racing, but I'm talking turkey. For at least thirty years, I've been roasting colossal birds for the holidays. Getting the biggest turkey I could find has always been an ego thing with me. This year it was twenty three pounds. Now I know some of you are going to say "Well, that's not so big! My frail, ancient grandmother cooked a forty pounder!" But bear in mind that we only had eight people eating my dinosaur. This was our first Thanksgiving without either of my children home which was a distressing element for me; I found myself quickly teary over not too much for days prior. So I had to keep myself really busy and cooking a ridiculously large turkey seemed just the thing. I'm a reasonably good cook. Not much in the kitchen intimidates me. James Beard, the famous chef said "The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you are afraid of it." That is the attitude I employ in all things culinary. The cooking triumvirate which instills terror in the hearts of the novice - pie crust, rice or gravy, come easily to me. But every decade or so, my confidence takes a nap, or I do, while I should be paying attention to the cooking. This was the year for things to go to hell in the kitchen. My race car skidded off the tracks and crashed. Had I made a souffle, it would not have merely fallen but would have blown up! Though the turkey was delicious, it was the ugliest bird I've ever cooked in my life! It fell off the bone. I don't mean just tender, but literally, fell away from the bone such that it was impossible to carve. All that could be done was to artfully arrange hunks and pieces in a heap on a platter. Then, there was the gravy. Eventually. The meal was served an hour later than I had told guests to arrive. Additionally, I had lied to at least one guest having said that dinner would be served an hour earlier than I actually intended to serve because that person NEVER gets here on time. The gravy would not thicken no matter what I did to it. I added additional roux, then just plain flour. Then I resorted to corn starch. I had to plead to my new best friend Arrowstarch a second time, too. I had such a rolling boil going on the stove that my face has swollen from a protracted gravy facial! I was thankful that there were several meals worth of just appetizers and that the wine was flowing like Niagara. By the time I served, everyone was so hungry and drunk that I could have served unadorned Spam and preserved my image as a kitchen goddess. I noticed that the leg of one of my good dining room chairs had been gnawed. Initially, I blamed one of my dogs but realized it was probably a guest. Oh well, there is always next year and another race. As Dale said, "Ya win some, ya lose some and ya wreck some."
This Sharp-shinned Hawk glowered from a tree branch on Thanksgiving Day. It was hunting birds at my feeders.
"When is that turkey going to be done, anyway?????"