Horrors, horrors ! I thought I had learned to accept the occasional failure with wry humor and grace, but really, this is too much.
The awful truth is........My thanksgiving cookery efforts turned out to be so vile that I can hardly believe that I was the one who perpetrated that inedible mess. And yet, the cats can neither chop, mince, slice nor reach the stove controls (nor, in truth, would they be bothered to do so even if they could) and, since there is no one else here, I guess I must accept the blame. Sigh. Like that wonderful guy, Pres. Harry Truman, said....long before most of you were born,....."The buck stops here."
I have been making turkeys and dressing and cranberry relish for more years than......well.....than most people.......during good times and bad, weathering Thanksgivings tinged with both depression and ecstasy, and somehow things always turned out OK. (not always delectable and to die for but generally somewhat yummy) So where did I go so wrong? I can only assume that it happened because I attempted to be flexible and try doing a few things differently. (This must prove that it is indeed better to be immovable, stubborn as a mule and totally resistant to change........see, I always knew those self-help gurus were full of crap).
Anyway, many moons ago, a little while after man had discovered fire, I decided to try one of those "cook-in-the-bag" methods to make my turkey, and it turned out tasting like a stewed creature, hardly recognizable as a roasted turkey, though I must grudgingly admit it was certainly moist as promised....sort of like a soup chicken. Ugh. (Don't misunderstand.......it is fine for a soup chicken to taste like a soup chicken, but not for a supposedly roasted turkey.) It ended up being the basis for lots of enchilada casseroles, pierogies, turkey salads and feasts for the neighborhood cats whose mothers had obviously not ruined their taste buds by providing them with the real thing at an early age. I cannot tell you what could have possessed me to decide to try it again after such a definite disaster......but then, I cannot always explain my actions, even to myself. I figured that if I used the Bag method for the first 2 hours and then removed it and allowed the creature to roast in a normal fashion and brown and crisp up nicely for the last hour it might come out both moist and tasty. Faulty logic. My ingenious thinking managed to produce a turkey that not only tasted stewed but was so dry it stuck to the roof of one's mouth like peanut butter. No amount of applying the juice from the bottom of the pan seemed to help much but I figured that at least the cats would have a feast for weeks.
Faulty logic again. My own spoiled- rotten cats obviously felt sorry for me and humored me by eating some of it while it was fresh out of the oven and liberally ladled with juice. But, the second day they looked at me as if I were a crazy person and at the plates of turkey as if I were trying to poison them and demanded their canned cat food. And this morning I received the unkindest blow of all. When I awoke and went out to the porch buffet to take in what normally are empty dishes licked clean by stray kitties and possums I found, to my utter horror and shame, the hardened lumps of minced turkey virtually untouched. So lovingly offered.....so cruelly rejected !
To make this tragedy even worse, I ruined the stuffing that I normally make which is so delicious that I usually prefer it to the turkey itself. Having tasted a wonderful stuffing made by a friend last year which contained sausage and mushrooms I decided to include those additions to my plain seasoned bread, onion, celery recipe and threw in some wild rice for good measure hoping to create a masterpiece. I could hardly believe it when it came out tasting like nothing much on the fabulous scale and highly revolting on the "don't ever make this again" side. Instead of putting containers of this into the freezer for future delectation I dumped it into the garbage this morning.......some things obviously cannot be saved. Sob.
However, I think the piece de resistance to this whole horror story is the fact that the fresh cranberry-orange orange relish that I usually make also came out barely edible because the orange that I used was oddly sour and I put in too much sugar trying to compensate for this flaw. However, God was good to me in this case.....no slurs or rebuffs to be bravely borne.......the jar slipped out of my hands as I was putting it into the frig and festooned the entire kitchen floor with glass and cranberry colored sugared fruit and it only took me about an hour to gather it all up and wash to floor 17 times to get rid of the stickiness. I must assume that Escoffier personally oversaw the imposition of this punishment on me for having committed such a crime in the name of a culinary effort. At least I did not have to personally empty the jar into the garbage........it ended up there without my having to overcome my usual reluctance to waste food.
So what is the lesson this effing, bleeping, experience has taught me? I am not sure, but I know one or two things.....tenks gott I did not try also that new pecan pie recipe.........and I am fucking thankful I do not have to eat my home cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for a whole week.
The New Yorker covers: February 10, 1975
5 hours ago