Wow, I had no idea until that last post how strongly people feel about 1) mayonnaise in general and 2) deviled eggs. I was left feeling like I should get my menu approved by everyone here before letting our guests into the house on Thanksgiving, and also like that could possibly end in blows while people scream at each other about hors d’oeuvres.
[I'm not saying y'all are that crass. I'm just saying that after the year we've had, nothing surprises me anymore. NOTHING.]
So I got to thinking about whether or not I need to be figuring out more pre-dinner munchies for Thursday, and in talking about it with Otto, my darling husband decided the solution to my confusion was to invite some folks over tonight, as well, and that’s entertaining twice in a week and THE SUNLIGHT, IT BURNS, and so now I am thoroughly befuddled and also, apparently the hostess with the mostess (what I have the most of remains a mystery). So.
[I'm actually not worried about tonight at all, on account of Otto suggested it and I probably looked horrified and he hurried to continue "... and I will clean the house and go buy some wine and cheese" and then I smiled and said that sounded lovely. Basically all I have to do tonight is show up and try not to spill my wine. I can do that! Or I'll spill my wine, but it's in my own house, so whatever.]
For Thanksgiving, on the other hand, I am already experiencing technical difficulties.
This weekend I attempted a gluten-free version of Kira‘s amazing molasses cookies. (I just went back and searched my blog for my first mention of these cookies. Turns out I have been waxing drool-iffic about them for over eight years. They are THAT good.) See, our Thanksgiving guests are bringing pies. But I can’t have pie (WAHHHHH) because the joys of being gluten-free are just neverending. I thought I’d make a pumpkin cheesecake, just in case our giant dinner of excess is somehow not gluttonous enough, and I thought that Kira’s cookies would be delicious for the crust. So I donned my lab coat (apron; whatever) and began mixing and measuring and attempting a safe version of my favorite cookie.
The good news is that, you know, for a cheesecake crust you grind up everything into crumbs, so as long as it tastes good, it can look ugly in cookie format. The bad news is that yeah, those were some ugly cookies. Delicious, though! And now I know that my tweaked version is flatter/crispier/more oozy than their wheat-filled counterparts. But hey, it’s all good, I have my bag of delicious cookie crumbs ready to be made into crust on Wednesday. Perfect.
After I mangled that batch of cookies, I went on to make cornbread. You know, for the stuffing. Fortunately I make gluten-free cornbread all the time, so this was less traumatic. But when it comes to making it for stuffing I always find myself getting a little wild and crazy and adding extra things (teff flour! why not?) and there was a minute there, when I pulled the pan out of the oven, that I was worried because the bread didn’t appear to have the same rise as usual. But then I remembered that I’m going to mix it up with a million other things and saturate it with chicken broth and I ceased caring. So we’re calling that one a win.
Also! On Saturday night a TERRIBLE THING happened. Otto and I went out for a date night (this is not the terrible thing; it was our first real date night in forever and I really like that guy) and between dinner and the new James Bond movie we went to the liquor store because I need bourbon for the Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. (Obviously.) I never fail to be amused by the southern penchant for chatting up absolutely anyone, at any time. So there we are about to pick up some Maker’s Mark (Otto’s regular choice), there amongst the drunken college kids who are looking to become even more drunk, and some random employee basically puts Otto into a headlock to tell him all about how there’s a new fantastic small-batch bourbon aged in beer barrels and if he’s looking for a bourbon with an extra kick of sweetness he simply HAS to try it. I watch the two of them discuss bourbon for, I don’t know, what felt like several hours. It was probably only a few minutes. And then we went up to the counter to pay and THAT is when the horrible thing happened: We weren’t carded.
Listen, I have no illusions about looking young, especially now that I’ve stopped covering my gray, but still. It’s a nice little mind trick I like to play with myself whenever I’m asked for proof of age. “Oh, they think I’m YOUNG! How sweet!” I’m not saying it’s logical, I’m just saying it usually makes me giggle a little. And when I commented that HEY HE DIDN’T CARD US, the bemused register jockey confided that the ones who are underage aren’t generally, you know, buying small-batch bourbon. Point taken, sir. Now GET OFF MY LAWN.
And finally in this weekend’s food follies, while surfing
recipe porn various suggestions for Thanksgiving side dishes, I somehow became convinced that a multi-root-vegetable-mash would be superior to plain ol’ mashed potatoes. Otto was immediately suspicious, because his family is Irish and you don’t mess with his potatoes, yo. But I told him I’d do a test run and if he didn’t approve we’d go back to just potatoes. So yesterday I made a rutabaga-potato puree thing which I thought was DELICIOUS but both gentlemen of the house were all, “I love you, but do I have to eat this?” So back to mashed potatoes for the Thanksgiving menu it us.
The saddest part about that is that I bought a TON of rutabagas. Whoops. Guess I know what I’m eating for the next two weeks. Actually, wait. The SADDEST part is that rutabagas are really hard to cut up, especially if your knives need sharpening (mine do), and somehow while hacking away at one yesterday I, at some point, came down on it in such a way that a piece of waxed rutabaga skin kind of lodged under my thumbnail for a second. It hurt, yeah, but I picked it out and resumed swearing and hacking, no biggie. But this morning that thumbnail area was red and unhappy, so I grabbed our one and only shot glass and filled it with salt and hot water and soaked my thumb for a bit (as one does after suffering a minor rutabaga injury). When I was done, I put the shot glass on the kitchen counter, next to the sink, thinking I’d leave it out so I can soak my thumb again later. This was at about 6:30 this morning.
Well, Monkey finally got up this morning around 9:00, and stumbled downstairs to snuggle with the dog, and when I sent him into the kitchen to get himself some breakfast, he called back to me, “Why is there a SHOT GLASS out in here?” His tone was disapproving, to say the least.
I explained about the rutabaga and my thumb and the soaking. To my great surprise, he was overcome with concern.
“So let me get this straight,” he said, coming back into my office to lay a gentle hand on his poor, beleaguered mother. “First you broke one hand on an apple, and now you nearly lost a thumb on the OTHER hand on a rutabaga?” I muffled a giggle, opting instead for a sad face to go along with solemn nodding. Monkey threw his hands into the air in exasperation. “MOM! What IS it with you and produce? Next thing you know you’re probably going to fall and hit your head on a banana!”
You know, that kid is pretty smart. Note to self: Don’t buy bananas for a while.