My very first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner (in China of all places) was indeed a delicious success. Despite the basic hiccups that come with the territory of being a 28-year old woman who’s completely ignored the art of cooking all her life, the endeavor went rather seamlessly. Here are some general tips that I learned from this first-time experience:
# 1: It doesn’t take as long as one would think to clean and stuff a turkey. What does take an hour (or if you don’t know what you’re doing like us, TWO) is the process of making homemade stuffing from scratch in order to fill that turkey. Consequently, our bird went into the oven about 3 hours AFTER we had originally planned (1pm instead of 10am). Mild panic ensued, but was subsequently calmed by the fact that my gas stove is apparently hotter than the fires of hell and the bird crisped right on time.
# 2: Don’t talk to the turkey in coddling baby voices while cleaning it in the sink. It drives the boyfriend nuts and apparently it’s not normal.
# 3: Okay, so what’s that flap of skin that hangs off the “back” of the turkey all about? I needed to consult Mama Lou for this one.
Well, first of all, she tells me, that’s not the back of the turkey, sweetheart, it’s the front.
She goes on: In our family, we always called that flap the “pope’s nose.” It’s actually the skin flap from the turkey’s former neck and makes a great place to pack-in extra stuffing when the chest cavity is filled.
Perfect! This is all great to know and makes total sense. But wait, what’s the chest cavity?
# 4: Bacardi 151 rum is less expensive than the other bottles of liquor in the store because it’s basically 151 PROOF fire-water. Don’t buy it for a party thinking you’re getting a “good deal” on spirits and certainly don’t serve it to your guests on an empty stomach.
# 5: Coffee and tea post Thanksgiving dinner are an absolute MUST. Turkey + wine + that pesky amino acid tryptophan = an intense food coma that generates stifled yawns, long silences and my boyfriend repeatedly asking if anyone would like a scotch.
# 6: Lastly, the most surprising discovery of this whole adventure is that turkey is not the main ingredient in a Thanksgiving feast. Neither are potatoes, or stuffing or the wide array of veggies. Nope. The main ingredient used in massive quantities in just about every dish you prepare is BUTTER. Sticks and sticks of melted butter. I have to admit, this little fact took the spark out of my Thanksgiving wonder. Of course everyone loves this holiday meal! It doesn’t matter the amount of love, or care or hard work that goes into prepping this feast. In the end, it’s all about the butter.
Overall, it was a great and very informative experience. Next year’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. of A. will seem only too easy in comparison.