Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“Stuff It!”

by Deanna Wadsworth

No, I am not being naughty. I’m actually talking about food this time.
We all know how important food is for the big pivotal family get-togethersduring the holidays. And we all have that one delicious dish we wait for all year….for me its STUFFING!!!! LOL
I used to love my mom’s traditional sage stuffing—even if she did use the giblets—but now that I am in charge of the big dinners for the family, I have to say I like my stuffing better. And no, not bragging, but it is pretty darn good. Four sticks of butter will make that happen, LOL Just the other day I was trying to have a chat on the phone with my sister-in-law and her husband was in the background chanting, “She’s making stuffing, right? I want stuffing. Tell her to make stuffing.”

As if my own husband would allow me not to.

Now, that little story is part of why I have such a big head about my turkey dinners with all the trimmings. But believe me, I get mine in the end, LOL, as both potatoes and turkey revolt and give me my comeuppance with a hearty, ‘Stuff it.’

Thirteen years ago was my first big turkey dinner for the family. It was Thanksgiving, and I’d volunteered to have the whole kit and caboodle. My husband (always a fan of my cooking) thought it was a great idea. Well, everything turned out pretty good, though I had decided to experiment with the stuffing and put apples into it….not really a hit, FYI. The turkey was good, too, though I screwed up and baked it upsidedown. And while I remembered to yank out the bag of goodies *gag* from the turkey’s ass, I forgot that the neck was still inside, too. But all in all, it was a success.
The next year, turkey still upside down but on purpose this time—it makes the white meat really moist even if you don’t get the best gravy from the frond in the pan. Remedy: throw a turkey leg in the pan, too, thus providing all the fat and stuff for a nice, rich golden gravy and also pleases those who fight over the legs—everything was perfect. Like Martha-frikkin-Stewart perfect. I even decorated the table with mason jars filled with water, floating cranberries and a tea-light. So cute! Even impressed hubby’s grandma. Yea, me!
Now the next year, I had a feeling the mother-in-law was getting jealous because my dinners were better—not being mean, she is a horrible cook and I hope she will never read this post LOL—so she made the big turkey dinner. It was pretty good, though some of it was cold because a Thanksgiving dinner is ALL about timing everything needs to be done at the same time, which can get tricky. So, anyways…we all sat down to a lovely meal and when my husband said, “Can you please pass the gravy?” his mother announced, “I didn’t make gravy. No one really likes gravy.” To which we all exchanged awkward glances, said nothing as we choked down our Sahara Desert-baked white meat. On the drive home my husband tells me, “You’re going to make me a real turkey dinner with gravy and no carrots mashed into the potatoes this weekend right?”

Now do you see how this would begin to go to my head?
The next two years, I do the dinner and they are PERFECT. No lie….everyone was in a food coma and happy as pigs in slop. But as my day job is in a beauty salon, I work really late the day before Thanksgiving so I decided to pass the reins. I’ll give you the quick rundown of the next couple years:
My sister actually RUNS OUT OF FOOD…..can that happen? Yes, no turkey, stuffing or potatoes left when the late arrivals showed up. Thank goodness my baked brie was left over and my mom made extra pies or they would’ve left hungry.On Thanksgiving. No lie.
Sister-in-law decides to do the ever so unpopular Cornish game hens….say what? I won’t even go any further on that one.
Mother-in-law, carrots still mashed with the potatoes like this is Dr. Suessville or we are all bratty six year olds who won’t eat our vegetables. But hey, at least she made gravy this time.
My mom….yummy as always though there was no alcohol. *sigh*
So at this point, with my husband whispering ego-inflating compliments in my ear, I decide that I must be the perfect cook and the best hostess of both sides of my family. After all I’ve never run out of food or wine. And my potatoes are buttery and white like they are supposed to be.
Yeah, don’t strain yourself patting yourself on the back, Deanna.
Thus followed a couple humbling moments:
Cheesy potatoes that were still raw and undercooked three hours after the wonderful ham my sister-in-law made. And yes they tasted of both feet and crow.
The turkey that never cooked. I swear I cooked it for NINE hours and it was still raw in the middle. And amidst all the irritating questions of, “Did you thaw it?” and “Did you turn the oven on?” I had to KEEP reminding the family I had done this before, so I really didn’t know why it wasn’t cooking. I’m convinced the damn bird was a rooster, something I’ve heard can happen.
After the uncooked bird, I had to redeem myself so I took on the dinner the next year. Thankfully…it is Thanksgiving after all…the dinner was a success and I have been doing it ever since. There will always be those moments that goof up the dinner, like microwaving hollandaise sauce and turning it into runny scrambled eggs, the cheese pie that won’t set up and the bread that won’t rise. I’m convinced though that those moments make the day great and create the best memories.
So don’t freak out if you are the one making a big meal for your family this holiday. Just being with those you love is enough. And never forget to serve the meal with a slice of humble pie.
I know I won’t!

Bestselling erotica author Deanna Wadsworth leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her hubby of 14 years and three demanding little dogs. She has a fascination with the exotic and taboo but it is her infatuation with love in all its stages and incarnations which is why she writes romance with spice and love without boundaries.
Her latest holiday stories include MS. CLAUS’S LIST—Book One of the NAUGHTY NORTH POLE now available and PIP’S BOXING DAY WISH—Book Two coming soon!

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  1. Love your post and thanks for the giveaway.
    Happy Holidays!!!!

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  2. That sounds like quite an interesting few meals you guys had!
    Like your mother in law, I can't cook. Anything more than basic foods, I just completely fail at. My brother inherited that gene. So needless to say I'm very jealous of your cooking abilities!
    Great post Deeana. I loved it.

  3. LOL! Your family sounds like MY family. Are we related?!

  4. Maybe I'll come to you house next year!

  5. I totally want to eat at your house, though I feel in league with your MIL. *LOL* My turkeys usually come out a little dry (I don't bake them breast down though because I like the crunchy skin); and I love carrots mashed with potatoes. (Though I have both options when I make them since not everyone would be a fan.) And because my family dinner was TINY this year--just me and my dad, I made the cornish hens and we loved them. *LOL* Lot less clean up.

  6. I think we've all experienced a minor meltdown moment at some point in our holiday entertaining. I know I have. Whether it was the lasagna fiasco or the turkey debacle, it all ends up working out in the end and makes for some great memories!


  7. Interesting tips on how to cook the turkey. I'll have to pass them along to hubby. Yeah, I don't do the cooking for the big meals, he does. :D This past T-day we made dinner for some friends. On other T-days we've gone out to buffets. No meltdowns so far! ;)

  8. My memorable experience this year happened just after filling my wine glass. I passed the bottle across the table, offsetting the crystal and sending wine everywhere. Most of the red wine landed in the carved turkey platter turning the white meat purple. I still insist the wine gave the turkey a more moist texture, but it will be years before I live down that oops down.

  9. I used to work on an 800 line for an appliance manufacturer & I always volunteered to work Thanksgiving morning, since I wasn't responsible for cooking, could make triple my normal hourly wage & still get there in time for the family get together. The hardest calls to take were the ones where Uncle Charlie tried to be helpful & slid the latch on the self clean oven door over to keep the kids from burning themselves, only to have dinner become hostage as the door can't be unlocked until the oven is cold. At least your Thanksgiving horror stories didn't have the entire family going hungry because of something like that.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

  10. I make dinner these days, people come to my house, and this year all was good EXCEPT my stuffing, which was 1/2 box and 1/2 homemade. Didn't like the brand. Bleh. Of course, forgetting about it until 5 minutes before we ate wasn't ideal, either.

    Best one was where we were SUPPOSED to have 10 people coming (one family member has a lot of kids) but 3 showed up. We had mounds of food for DAYS, but the upside was I had many frozen meals made ahead in the freezer. :)

  11. Thanks for stopping by, guys! ANd btw I'm STILL eating stuffing, and now I'm soooo sick of it, LOL

  12. @MsHellion...that is hi-lar-i-ous that you do the carrots in the potatoes! I've never heard of anyone else doing that!

    ....and sorry for the late post, gals. I actually made the above comment before Maureen posted, but dinghy me, I entered the code word hit post comment and never checked to see if it went thru, DOH!

    Thanks again for all the visits to the blog, and good luck in the drawing!

  13. I enjoyed the post; it was a great read.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  14. There are just some sacred food items that I very happily leave to my experts. The stuffing is always my mil and my cheesy potatoes are my sister. Doesn't matter how perfectly I follow their directions, the NEVER turn out right, lol.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  15. That's an awesome story! All of us have meal making gone wrong stories and they're ones you can never live down. My mom has a purple cabbage story that is hilarious. I too am a big fan of stuffing, with my mom's tasting amazing. Maybe we'll have to form some sort of stuffing club.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  16. I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner...someone else has always made it. My turkey came out PERFECT and moist. Next year, I will try turning the turkey upside down, though!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  17. I have the nightmare of having to cook Christmas dinner for 10 in a different country and with a different oven. An oven that flash burns everything you put in it. I can't see how I'm even going to fit everything in it, let alone cook without burning.
    But stuffing - ooh I love stuffing - with ground pork in it. I could just eat that and nothing else.Oh except the roast potatoes and maybe the roast parsnips and - oh darn it, yep I eat everything.

  18. LOL as you know, bad family (*cough* in-law *cough*) stories are a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing yours :)

  19. I definitely always leave things like this to others, my cooking skills are very limited. I don't mind making side dishes, but not the main dish and not for anything important.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com