Perhaps you’ve gathered that yet again, work’s consuming me. If you were my clients, surely you’d be delighted, although all work and not much play in the dirt makes Julie a less than ideal worker bee. Still, I’ve eaten some great ice cream for dinner in an airport and met some very cool people. I can’t really complain.
But I will grouse about yesterday. You see, I had a holiday. Yes, a real “freebee” day from the company. It wasn’t even a national holiday. It was Columbus Day. We won’t get into what that all means since I try not to discuss anything more political than the anarchistic act of growing food in the Dallas city limits.
It was also Canadian Thanksgiving. And while I joked with my Facebook friends that I get two Thanksgivings because I have so much to be thankful for, I really wasn’t joking. I love having two opportunities to be grateful because I really and truly am doubly grateful.
[For those readers who are unacquainted with Canadian Thanksgiving, it is very much like the big dinner American Thanksgiving except without the pilgrims and Indians mythology. Nice dinner with family and friends. Except it’s not the biggest holiday on the Canadian calendar. I think Christmas, even amongst non-Christians is a bigger deal, perhaps because it’s really three days, the Eve, the Day, and Boxing Day and usually at least two of those days are days off from work.]
That aside, yesterday I was not grateful for my temporary (I hope) lack of culinary prowess. Or perhaps it was just one of those accident-prone days, you know, when the moon is in the wrong phase or Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Something like that. Better to be in the kitchen than at work, however!
Anyway, the day started innocently enough. I packed Bruce’s lunch since the poor man’s company doesn’t like holidays (or vacation time) one bit. I tidied the kitchen. Then I made two giant jars of refrigerator pickles in anticipation of upcoming guests. I pickled okra. I pickled peppers.
I’ll let you guess which one I should have been wearing gloves for.
I’ll let you hypothesize which one I kept top of mind for the rest of the day.
I’ll let you gather which jar Bruce thinks I should empty right now.
It’s not the okra. Ugh. (By the way, I have two huge freezer bags in the freezer crammed full of okra. If you are visiting this winter, I hope you like stewed okra or some of the various leafy greens which are now thriving in the rain-sodden mess that is the Urban Farm.)
Next, I made a delicious butternut squash soup: the only culinary success of the day. I was very glad it turned out nicely since it would be a distraction from the rest of the meal.
After that, I went about my day-off business of painting the inside of a cabinet, filling nail and staple holes in the trim, organizing a couple of closets and cabinets, and then the arduous task of bookkeeping and bill paying. Ugh again. Not because of the paying, but because of my several month neglect of being organized. I do love my shredder and filing cabinets though. Godiva loves sleeping under the desk while I work. The rest of the Gs were sprawled across the office sectional and on the newly reupholstered bright orange ottoman. We are not afraid of color in this house.
Then, lo and behold, it was time to get busy on the Thanksgiving feast since Bruce would be home from work soon. We had a difficult time finding the traditional fowl this year for some reason. In past years perhaps we were living amongst more ex-pat Canadians or people who liked turkey more, but the grocery stores did not have the bird. Even the yuppie-hippie grocery store had slim pickings in the turkey department and we settled for a boneless breast wrapped up in string to look like a pork roast.
At least that’s what I thought it looked like from memories of childhood. Generally Bruce is the meat man and he figures out the preparations of roasts and such.
Not yesterday. I consulted the Internet, found a simple roasting guide and, since our trussed up bird was smaller, I figured the minimum time would be perfect.
Post-dog walk, I knew the evening was going down hill fast. Guinness hates rain and it had been raining all day. His parasympathetic nervous system problem that makes his brain and bladder forget about communicating didn’t really set the mood well. Nothing like catheters to make everyone anxious. Ugh.
As for dinner, either the bird was frozen on the inside or our oven didn’t work. Well, I know the oven worked because it set off all the smoke detectors. Apparently it was dirty from something else cooked in it. I wouldn’t know what since we haven’t used the oven in ages. It’s too hot here for ovens in summer.
I baked pumpkin cupcakes before Bruce showed up with no issues. No smell, no smoke. Today my coworkers all thought they were muffins which tells you how good they were, despite being a recipe from a famous Food Network couple. I didn’t like them much, but I knew many of my coworkers would be jones-ing for sweets mid-morning and they’d vanish into thin air. No waste!
And I knew it was hot since I burnt my arm. Again. I have a lovely patchwork of cooking scars that hopefully my clients don’t assume are from teenaged cutting or something even more sinister. They are mostly from baking cookies and cupcakes.
Back to the football-shaped turkey breast. It browned nicely, but took its own sweet time cooking through to 155° F. And every time I opened the oven, it belched out smoke. The house still smells like it. So does my purse—it happened to be on a chair near the oven.
The sides were done about 1 hour too soon. I reheated the soup we were supposed to eat while the turkey rested so that we didn’t resort to cooking something else for dinner when we were ravenous. We picked at the riced potatoes and tested the gravy repeatedly.
Only the Gs seemed excited about the bird when it was ready. Between the smoke detectors barking “fire, fire” and the smoke signals, we were done. And we had killed the wine we selected with the dinner already. I was thankful it was finally done cooking.
The Gs were thankful for the lavish handouts, probably a bit more heavy handed than usual once we realized how dry the little football was.
That my friends, is the story of Canadian Thanksgiving 2013 on a rainy night in Texas.
And here is tonight’s gratuitous dog photo of a black and white puppy stuffed with turkey (photo by Bruce):