Monday, November 21, 2022

How To Prepare To Prepare A Thanksgiving Dinner


Gracie did indeed show up this morning after sleeping who-knows-where. I took the picture of her when I gave her some sunflower seeds this afternoon. I think I should take a picture of her every day so that we all feel truly grievous when she dies. 
She liked the sunflower seeds very much. 

Food. It's all about food, isn't it? For us and for all the animals and for plants, too. And for American human animals, Thanksgiving week is probably the foodiest week of the year. It is for us. 
I took Hank to a doctor appointment this morning and got my grocery shopping done while he was chatting with Dr. Z, who is becoming our true family doctor in that four of us are now his patients. All seemed to be well for Hank and I got to see Lily who was working at Publix. I swear- it seems like the only time I see her now is at Publix in Aisle 11. But we hug and we can chat for a moment. Tomorrow she'll be bringing the OMG's (Owen, Maggie, Gibson) over to hang out here while she works since the kids are out of school. I put away all of the Maggie quilt stuff because I don't want her to see her blanket before Christmas when hopefully it will be done. I got the dark green backing on the little name patch. It looks frightfully uneven and it is. No one is ever going to accuse ME of being a perfectionist. 

Mr. Moon went to see the NP and she couldn't begin to figure out where the swelling was coming from- knee, ankle, or foot. She scheduled him for an MRI tonight but then that got postponed until four days before Christmas because it's the sort of MRI that uses contrast (?) and they weren't set up for that. So whatever he is experiencing better not be fatal because he'll be dead by then. However, the leg started looking better last night and perhaps by December 21st, it will have healed all on its own. Of course if it gets worse before then, back to the doctor he will go. 
As we speak, he is on his way to an FSU basketball game with our friend, Tom. They get tickets every year and this is a huge big deal to them. 

I got the regular cranberry sauce made this afternoon and of course it is beautiful because cooked cranberries just ARE beautiful. 


And then I got on the pie train and made a pecan pie and a chocolate pecan pie, both according to Mrs. Matthew's recipes. 


For those of you who have the GALL not to have been reading here for eons, Mrs. Matthews (aka Granny Matthews, aka Mrs. M., aka Granny M) was a woman I knew as a child and young teen. She was not truly related to us but was close and I always say I learned more about cooking from her just by observing her in the kitchen than I have learned anywhere else. She was a completely natural cook, by which I mean she moved about the kitchen with complete assuredness, adding pinches of this and palmfuls of that to whatever she was making, usually with a cigarette dangling from her lips. Everything she made was delicious and I cherish the recipes I have from her. 
Those pecan pies are as essential to our Thanksgiving rituals as the turkey is. I will admit that I have changed them a bit. The regular pecan pie now has maple syrup in it along with the brown sugar, and the chocolate pecan pie has more chocolate in it than she called for. 
I do not think she would judge me harshly. 
It calms me to think of Granny M. and that can only be a good thing on the days leading up to Thanksgiving and perhaps it is that fact as much as the deliciousness of her pies that I appreciate. 

Anyway. Those are done and I've actually popped them into the freezer because I do not want them to lose any of their just-made goodness between now and Thursday. 

I took the two turkeys out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator in the garage on Saturday and of course, when I checked them this morning they were still as hard as billiard balls. I brought them into the house and set them on the counter for a couple of hours and they are back in the refrigerator now. As Lily and I discussed, we believe it is impossible for turkeys to ever thaw in a refrigerator. It may have been possible back when refrigerators were actually "ice boxes" but it is not true now. I have spent every Thanksgiving morning of my adult life running hot water down a turkey's gullet, trying to pry the poor creature's paper-wrapped inner organs out of it. 
Please forgive me, vegetarians, and please forgive me, all you dear turkeys who have given your lives to fulfill Americans' fantasies of a pilgrim dinner shared with indigenous people which most certainly did not happen and if it had, the wild turkey they might have been eating bore no resemblance whatsoever to the freaks of nature we have created with turkey breeding to satisfy our love of white meat. 

I do go on, don't I?

But because all of that food stuff wasn't enough, I also made sourdough dough this morning. Since the Hartmann's are coming over, it will make a pleasing snack for them. They all love the "sour bread." I have also made a pot of soybeans because Lily mentioned how much she has been craving them and her family doesn't like them. Mr. Moon and I love soybeans so why not? 



I will be able to send Lily off tomorrow with a nice bowl of them with rice and the goop which goes on top of them to mix in and create absolute hippie gourmet heaven. The loaf of bread is just now out of the oven and it may be one of the prettiest loaves I've ever made. 


Still, after all of these years of making sourdough bread, I am at a complete loss as to how to make the perfect lofty loaf. This one was thrown together this morning as I was getting ready to go town and thus, did not get nearly as much kneading (which in this house is done by a Kitchen Aid dough hook) as I usually give my bread and it also has whole wheat in it. As it has been chilly, I put the bowl of rising dough into my rigged "proofer" which is a heating pad wrapped in a towel which I set the bowl on and use to wrap over it. It all came together today to work very well and I even gave the dough an extra rise so I think it shall be nice and sour. 

So that's that. 

Ironically, my husband will probably eat a hot dog at the basketball game but it is his choice to attend activities that prevent him from eating supper here. 
There will be leftovers. 

I may be too tired to report in tomorrow but knowing me, I'll probably have an unimportant word or two to send out into the universe. 

Meanwhile, I am now hungry. 

Love...Ms. Moon


45 comments:

  1. That sounds like a very foody time. All good stuff. I like the sound of Mrs M, very much a cook in my mother's line except for the cig. No measuring devices, just her hand or thumb or a nut of butter or just enough, you'll know when.. You couldn't write down her recipes but I did learn that cooking's about feeling and looking, not measuring like in a lab! This is why you're a great cook, Mrs Other M!

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    1. Well, there are people who are natural cooks and there are people who are just not. Some people are just natural seamstresses and some are not. We all have our abilities and...areas where we need recipes or patterns or some sort of direction.

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  2. Pecan pie ... my very favorite! You do use a lot of those nuts!
    I made a pot of bacon and bean soups and OMG ... it is delicious!
    Not doing anything special for Thanksgiving since it is just me!

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    1. Bean and bacon soup sounds amazing. I need to look into that.

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  3. Gratitudes: Gracie got another day; Mr. Moons' leg appears a tad better; Lily was right there in aisle 11; there is a BIG loaf of sour dough bread for the Hartmann's; all the cousins can have a rassling good time under the kind supervision of Owen.

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    1. Oh and PS, Mrs. M is getting is all done on her day off.

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    2. Gratitudes for sure. But the kids couldn't come! By Thursday though, we should all be able to be together.

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  4. Susan from the Pacific NorthwestNovember 21, 2022 at 8:58 PM

    I hear you about thawing the turkeys. This year I have two fresh ones reserved that I'm picking up tomorrow. One is even going to be spatchcocked for me!!! We are having a large crowd and I'm in charge of the turkey and gravy. Everything else is farmed out amongst all the different family members.

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    1. I had to google spatchcocked- it sounds like the loser in a fight.

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    2. Spatchcocking seems to be a big thing recently. Since I basically roast a turkey in order to stuff it with a tasty bready substance, I refuse to jump on the train. I would like to hear how yours turns out.

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  5. Could Gracie go live at Jessie's where the chicken killers maybe don't frequent? It is so odd having BoH without chickens!

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  6. I have never had cooked soy beans over rice. What is the goop for the top that you mention?

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    1. It's a sauce made of mayonnaise, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic powder. Sounds weird, tastes incredible.

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  7. I wish also to have further information on aforementioned 'goop'.

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  8. Thanks for the tip about the heating pad. My house is so chilly and drafty these days that bread just doesn't want to rise worth beans. I'm going to make a "proofing oven" using it with one of those insulated cardboard boxes food is shipped in.

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  9. Your post has made me long, once again, to show up at your house and just hang for a while, watch you cook and then eat what you cook.

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    1. Elizabeth-You and I should do that one year! I love you both.

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    2. And you could discover for yourselves what a shitty housekeeper I am. But the food is okay.

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  10. I love your bread! It looks perfect. I'm glad to see Grace came home and isn't too upset to eat. Like Elizabeth above me here, I'd love to hang around in your kitchen and just watch the magic happen. And maybe taste a little.

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    1. The kitchen is where everyone always ends up, isn't it?

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  11. My goodness you have been busy and it all looks wonderful! I had romantic visions of Granny Matthews - until I read the bit about the cigarette hanging from her lip! We would call someone like that Fag Ash Lil - but she obviously knew how to cook. Lucky you!

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    1. She knew how to keep her ashes out of the food too. AND she usually wore nylon negligees all day long. She was a character.

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  12. Did Granny Matthews season all her food with fag ash? Sounds like it!
    (You have reminded me I need to get food out of the freezer for tonight)

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  13. Please do not ever again start a post called "How to prepare to prepare a thanksgiving dinner" with a photo of Gracie. I was almost appalled.
    I wish we had Thanksgiving. I think it is a much better festival than a religious one - even though it did have its beginnings that way.

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    1. You know, I thought about that. I'm sorry.
      Thanksgiving is not a bad holiday at all although it is generally a huge amount of work for the woman of the family. But what holiday isn't? Damn patriarchy.

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  14. Thanks for posting photos of gorgeous looking food! I'll now be making a chocolate pecan pie! I always make pecan pie with cream cheese but never made a chocolate one...here's trying!lol
    Happt Thanksgiving!
    hughugs
    Donna

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    1. Pecan pie made with cream cheese sounds interesting but would be nothing short of heresy around here. I'm sure you could find a recipe for chocolate pecan pie online if you want to try one.

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  15. Well, the wait is discouraging re. Mr. Moon's leg but I guess they must not think it's too serious if they're willing to delay the scan for so long. Why does it take them four weeks to set up a scan with contrast? I'm sure you've asked yourself the same question.

    All the food looks wonderful!

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    1. This is going to be a stand-up MRI and perhaps that's the reason for the delay. The swelling is much better.
      I think the food will be good. It always is.

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  16. Far be it for me to make any kind of food suggestion to someone who knows how to cook pretty much anything, but this tip was given to me years ago by a work mate and it works great. A few / couple of days before your Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever you're having frozen turkey for, put some cold water into a large cooler (hard-sided plastic cooler with a spout at one end and a lid) and just let your frozen turkey float around in there. It stays perfectly cold and slowly thaws and the cooler ends up being another surface in the kitchen on which to store stuff. Those are beautiful pecan pies! -Jenn

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    1. That sounds like a terrific idea. I even told Mr. Moon about it today. I think my turkeys will be thawed by tomorrow when I want to get the giblets out to make broth with but I am totally going to try and remember that tip.

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  17. I set my bread out to get stale for the dressing. No pecans here for any kind of pie. I remember chocolate fudge pecan pie. Been decades since I had any.

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  18. You reminded me that I better check my turkey in the fridge because I cook it a day early which is tomorrow! Yikes! I was happy to read you always have to use warm water to get that inner package out because I always have had to do that too and I always worried about it. Now I don't have to worry because Mary Moon does it too and she is a terrific cook!

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    1. Warm water? Hell, I use the hottest water I can get when I'm trying to get that package out of the bird at ten o'clock on Thanksgiving morning. So far we haven't died from this technique.

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  19. That's disappointing about the visit to the NP. I expected better from a NP.

    This year I bought my turkey a week ahead of time and just left it in the fridge; it was very small and took the whole week to defrost but it did defrost in the fridge. A week is nothing like they suggest though for defrosting in the fridge.

    Soybeans are not my friend, or rather, no a friend to my gut. The smell that comes of out me after soy is truly horrific. TMI, I know:)

    Those pies look fabulous and have a wonderful week cooking.

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    1. I expected better from the NP too. Oh well.
      The instructions on my turkey say that you have to thaw it a day for each four pounds. So a twelve pound turkey would take three days, right? Haha!
      Yes. I would advise you NOT to eat soybeans if that is the case. At least while there are other people around.

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  20. I spent years perfecting sourdough only to realise (or rather to have the courage to declare) that I don't actually like it very much. Much prefer plain yeast bread or malted and its way easier too!
    Happy thanksgiving - we don't celebrate it here of course but as one of my copywriting clients is in the US I get sort of holiday at they all shut down for a long weekend.

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    1. That's terrific! I'm glad you finally were able to admit your preference for yeasted bread. I do love them both. I especially like sourdough toasted.
      Thank you for the Thanksgiving good wishes. It's a fine holiday. I do not mind celebrating all that we are grateful for with my family by eating many tasty foods! It's rather absurd but it's a pretty nice way to spend a day.

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  21. If you run out of leftover turkey sandwiches, cranberry sauce goes pretty well on vanilla ice cream i found. Your bread looks amazing. I've only had the green edamame soybeans. My sister likes the fermeted ones - natto i think, but she's into fermenty, slimy things.

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