With just the two of us in the past, we've never fixed a traditional Thanksgiving meal. One year, Lut made a turkey stir-fry. That's about as complicated as we got.
But this year, by curious coincidence, both of us were in the mood to cook. I wanted to fix mashed potatoes and yams. Lut wanted to cook a turkey.
So last night, we went out for groceries -- regular things as well as Thanksgiving food items -- and today we cooked and cleaned. I straightened up the living room so we'd have a nice place to eat. Lut put his turkey in the oven to roast, with strips of bacon over it to baste because that's how his ex-wife would do it in a smoker.
I peeled potatoes -- the small, purple-skinned sort that are good for boiling. Some people like mashed potatoes with the skins still on, but I'm not one of them. So I peeled mine.
As the turkey got close to when Lut expected it to be done, I cut up the potatoes and put them in to boil. The directions I had said "about 15 minutes" to cook them, but it was closer to half an hour before they were done. When they finally finished, I drained the potatoes and fiddled with yams.
I like real mashed potatoes, not reconstituted flakes. However, I am fond of canned yams. So I'd bought a can of candied yams and a bag of mini-marshmallows, and I put them into a loaf pan, covered it, and stuck it in the toaster over to bake. Then I started mashing potatoes up, about when Lut came to fix stuffing (the boxed Stovetop stuff) and take the turkey from the oven.
Neither of us had ever roasted a turkey before. The meat thermometer was no help; it didn't register a change in temperature at all, since the turkey'd started cooking. Lut had set the time based on a 10lb turkey, but I remembered that the one we'd bought was closer to 11. Ultimately, he decided to give it another half-hour to cook.
By this time, I was done mashing potatoes. I ate some now, and decided they were best with horseradish sauce. Mmm, horseradish sauce.
I went on to mix up pumpkin pie. My cooking was an odd mishmash of instant items and complex ones. The mashed potatoes were from scratch. The candied yams and pumpkin pie were from a can. I'd also bought cranberry sauce: the solid gel blob kind.
As last, Lut pulled out the turkey and I put in the pumpkin pie. After the turkey cooled, he hacked off bits from it and we sat down to eat.
It was good.
The turkey didn't come out quite right. Lut thinks the bacon was a mistake. It turned out too dry -- a bit overcooked, probably. The meat thermometer never did register a temperature while it was cooking. (Weirdly, the red line of the temperature reading would climb when he took it from the oven -- but never to the level where there were actual temperature markings, much less to the "done" point.)
But the turkey wasn't bad, and the mashed potatoes and yams and stuffing and even the canned cranberry gel was tasty.
And we have lots of leftovers.
Lots of leftovers.
Everything except the yams; I only bought one can of them and it didn't make very much. Still, a bit was left over. I told Lut that if we were going to do this again, we needed to invite more people next time. Lut replied that if we were going to invite people over for dinner, we ought to first get a table to eat at. (But we have a table! OK, it's a coffee table. I guess not everyone likes to eat on a couch in front of a coffee table.)
It was nice to have a proper Thanksgiving feast, though.
The pumpkin pie is cooling now. It's a bit burnt at the edges and a bit underdone in the middle -- the pre-made pie crust I bought was too small. I'll find out how it came out soon. I'm going to whip cream to put on top of it -- another one of my cooking oddities. Yes, the pie filling is from a can, but the whip cream will be homemade. I blame sandramort for that; she's the one who told me how easy it is to make real whip cream.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the rest of you, too. Even those of you who don't celebrate it, or don't celebrate it on this day. If you prefer, you can have a happy Thursday instead.