If you cook it, they will come

By Mir
November 21, 2007

I don’t really know what happened; one day Otto was all, “I dunno, I guess everyone already has plans” and I despaired while our new dining room set was languishing with only the jigsaw puzzle Chickadee and I are working on to keep it company, and then the next week it was “well, we have one couple coming” and a few days later it was “someone else RSVPed” and then just as I was figuring out seating and starting to bake it became “so-and-so’s plans fell through” and “I just got an email wanting to know if we could have one more?”

So. Ten for Thanksgiving!

Ask and ye shall receive. Or—more accurately, in my case—whine and karma shall commence the smackdown. Why do I always forget that?

Oh, I kid. I’m thrilled to have a houseful, because I have these overpowering maternal instincts that LORD KNOWS my own children aren’t much interested in, and so the chance to feed a pack of people warms the cockles of my bacon-loving heart.

[Digression, but only slightly: Hey, Dad! Feeding people also causes me to channel your mother. “You’re too thin! Eat!” and “I’m hungry, come and eat something.”]

So, the people are coming tomorrow. They are bringing food, some of them, but somehow we are still cooking a WHOLE LOT of food, rather than risk not having enough to eat. Or something.

Otto is in charge of the turkey. That meant that this morning he was consulting brining recipes while I hovered and made “useful” suggestions, because he is perfectly capable of handling the turkey but I am incapable of relinquishing control without being as annoying as possible. That Otto is a lucky, lucky man y’all.

As for me, I’ve promised the children they can help me bake pies this afternoon (and me without my valium, DAMMIT), and I’ve got plans to cook the cranberry sauce and the sweet potatoes and maybe a few other things ahead, today, inbetween doing my regular work and freaking out that the house isn’t clean enough.

Really, my WHOLE FAMILY is lucky to have me. Holidays are SO RELAXING!

Monkey has been happily ensconced on the couch all morning, watching cartoons and waiting patiently for the pancakes Otto promised we’d have for breakfast. Chickadee slept late—which was a blessing, because she has been so tired the last few days that her behavior was not so much “unacceptable” as “justifiable grounds for homicide”—and has since gotten up and shoved her brother down the couch a bit and flapped her arms at Otto declaring “PANCAKES! I WANT THEM! GIVE THEM TO ME!” I’m just guessing, but I think she may be hungry.

Once I finish up some work here and we have our pancakes, Otto will be off on some errands and I will be breaking open the bourbon.

For the sweet potatoes. Sheesh.

There’s an entire cornbread sitting on the counter just BEGGING to be eaten; I made it last night, my first-ever cornbread in cast iron and I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT and become a cast iron convert in the last few months, already, but cornbread batter poured into hot cast iron, THAT is the reason cast iron was invented, yes. So I am sort of jonesing for some cornbread, but that’s destined for stuffing, so I will try to refrain. Or I’ll make some more later today. Heh.

Mmmmmm food. Let’s all express our thankfulness by eating ourselves into comas!

Wow, the first meltdown is already in progress (the pancakes aren’t even done, yet). I can hardly wait for tomorrow. I plan to eat so much that my hearing is impaired. Then the kids can whine all they want. Lalalalala, I can’t hear you. Lalalalala, why yes, I WOULD like some more pie!

Alright, I’m off to do whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. Here’s hoping you’re having a calm and peaceful day, preferably one that involves brining a turkey. (Mmmmm… turkey.)


  1. All Adither

    You’re an ambitious lady. No one cares about the feast but me, so I’m doing a mini–read, pre-cooked turkey breast, mashed potatoes and, okay, a pie.

  2. Flea

    You’re making a southern stuffing! What fun!I mad mine yesterday and the sweet potatoes are today. And I slather my turkey in mayo. And YAY to you using that lovely table!!!

    Have a great Thanksgiving! I think I’ll go make pancakes …

  3. Paula

    What is brining a turkey? Am I supposed to be doing that?

    My guests are soooooo screwed . . .

  4. Leandra

    Warning to Otto, most turkeys today come already brined (i.e., injected with saline solution) so check the label for you go a-brining!

    My mother makes delicious “drop” cornbread. It’s much easier than regular old cornbread and much faster, so if you’re really jonesing for some, I recommend that route.

    You’re going to be stressed out today and tomorrow, sure, but you’re going to have an awesome time.

  5. tori

    Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful day!

    My kids have all been sleeping really late this week. It has been nice EXCEPT the reason they are sleeping so late is because they are not falling asleep until late and are so over tired that we have had a few crabby times. Apparently Thanksgiving is very exciting for them. I’ll be having 13 people this year, so pass me some wine please! (I don’t actually like wine in real life, but maybe on the internet?)

  6. Aimee

    Happy Thanksgiving! We’re going the Cornish game hen route this year, since it’s just the two of us. It’ll be my first year without turkey, so it’s a little weird, but good too. I think.

  7. Ben

    Are you deep frying the bird?

    That’s what our (extended) family wants us to do; we know our kids (and fire department) well enough to simply say “no,” and cook it the old fashioned way.

    My wife chants “eat, boopsie, eat; nobody likes a skinny Santa!” for about six months of the year, I think.

  8. jennielynn

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mir, Otto and Spawn!

  9. Chrissy

    Cornbread in cast iron is like Nirvana in your mouth (the place, not the band- Eww). I actually made some last night also. I decided to add a “little something” to the mix and it always works well with BBQ (of any kind). My little something? Cheddar cheese in the mix and a bunch of bacon grease (or real butter if no grease around-ack) in the pan (think: “It’s soaking in it” or floating. Whatever!)

    Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your company.

  10. kidzmama

    We are not hosting this year which is good but I am attempting to make bread, buckeyes, and fresh cranberry sauce today. All the kids are home today which can both
    help and hinder the process.

    Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Mir clan!

  11. D

    Cornbread + cast iron = yummy as you said. Just wish I could eat the yummy stuff myself. Have a great holiday – and count the blessings … :-)

  12. amy

    Silly people, Thanksgiving was LAST month… oh wait, that was for us Canadians MWAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAH We get a month off before we do Xmas!! Suckas!

  13. The Other Leanne

    Unless your turkey is coming fresh from the farm, no need to brine it, Otto! Just smear it all over with Dijon mustard (no, really) and sprinkle with herbs, and you will have the most. wonderful. turkey.
    You may pay me in cornbread.

  14. Shalee

    I’m brining for the first time.

    And I became a convert to cornbread in a cast iron skillet this past year… and I grew up in the South! (Of course, it took me so long because I don’t like cornbread, but let’s just skip that for now, shall we?

    I’m starting on the pies and sides today so that my whole morning can be consumed with turkey and gravy. Oh what wonderful, gluttoness bliss!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. Heidi

    Aimee, Cornish game hens are WONDERFUL for two! I’m happy to say that rather than driving 400 miles and four mountain passed in the same day, we’ll be home feasting on said hens. Heaven.

    Happy breaking-in of dining room table, Mir!

  16. Jess

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving. Eat till you pants are about to burst. We will be stuffing, no pun intended, ourselves at MIL’s tomorrow. I have the pie defrosting and the yams are waiting to be cooked. Martha Stewart I am not and for that I am thankful.

  17. ScottsdaleGirl

    Happy Turkey day to the entire Mir/Otto clan!!!

    mm coma

    mmm valium

  18. Contrary

    Bourbon in the sweet potatoes?? Hell with it, Pookie and the kids can hit Mickey D’s, I’m coming to your house.

    I make baked sweet potatoes because I am the only one in my house who will eat them.

    Possibly because the other people who live in my house are big weirdos.

  19. StephLove

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mir & clan!

  20. dad

    Ah, your Grandma would be proud.

    And don’t forget the hutzaplutz!

  21. Ashlee

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I live in the Northwest – what is this cast iron cornbread everyone is so fond of? I like corn bread. I like cast iron. Let me in on the secret please:)

  22. Heather

    Don’t feel bad about this being your first time to make cornbread in cast iron. I have lived in Alabama for my 30 years of life and until last night I had NEVER EVER made cornbread. Somehow I got suckered into making the WHOLE Thanksgiving dinner this year and I am the last person that needs to be in the kitchen cooking! My husband and I trade out nights on who cooks, when it is my turn we usually eat fast food or cold cereal, when he cooks we eat good! Anyone from the south that can cook HELP!!!!!!!

  23. BOSSY

    Bossy’s cooking for twelve. She will even employ a “kid table.” Just more grist for the mill when Bossy’s kids hit the psychiatrist’s couch.

  24. Heather

    No turkey for me…but I love that you said y’all. You’re starting to fit right in ;-) That and the cornbread make you seem almost like a native.

  25. mamalang

    We have 10, but I require everyone to bring food to the table…lol. Hubby does the turkey, I do the mashed potatoes, corn (frozen) and cranberry sauce (canned, one each of jelly and whole berry) and a cobbler. Of course, we just do several turkey breasts (2 fried, one baked) since no one in our family will eat dark meat.

  26. Steff

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. Lori

    Just finished Thanksgiving Part 1 here at my house – aka having the hubby’s dad & girlfriend over for lunch cuz we’re going to his mom’s house for Turkey day. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, homemade bread, homemade winter lentil soup, bought bagels & cream cheese, they bring fruit, add lots of coffee and we’re good to go! Now I start cooking my contributions for tomorrow’s dinner. Bring on the wine!

  28. pam

    Dad – what’s a hutzaplutz!

  29. Daisy

    We did Thanksgiving for 10 last year. This year it’s only for eight. Are the guests bringing something? That’s my salvation. My sister-in-law bring pies, my mom brings pumpkin and cranberry bread, and we do the main dishes and veggies. I’m washing the extra dishes right now and cleaning house a bit in preparation.

  30. dad

    Pam, it’s not “a” hutzaplutz. It’s just… hutzaplutz.
    It is basically a baked ziti casserole with tomato sauce, eastern european flavorings and I suspect lots of love and maybe chicken fat.

    Note to gourmet chefs: It is probably best not to get your holiday recipes from me.

  31. dana

    Happy Thanksgiving! We’re going to my mother’s for the Turkey Day tomorrow, but I’m doing a separate dinner at home on Saturday. It’s just something we do… we’re weird.

  32. Amy

    I just made a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, 2 dozen corn muffins, and a crust waiting for my husband to get back with more eggs so I can make the Maple-nutmeg Cream Pie from the New York Times–deeeeeelicious. :)

  33. MomCat

    Happy Eating and Drinking to all the Mir Family!

  34. Mary Tsao

    Happy Thanksgiving! We’re going to a friend’s house. A friend who, luckily, is as nice and generous as you are. Have fun tomorrow!

  35. Maddy

    Only two of the six of us eat turkey but I cook it anyway. Now I have cranberry and orange sauce ready it will be turkey sandwiches every day from now until Christmas, and then repeat the exercise until early January.
    Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving

  36. Vane

    We do not do Thanksgiving down here both as I work for an american company I do get off the next couple of days …. yeiiii! Happy Thanksgiving Mir and family! Enjoy!!! And if anyone makes rhubarb pie, can you send some my way?

  37. Jen

    Mir – wish i was coming over there tomorrow – looking to be an “interesting” day here already *sigh*… in-laws can be so annoying *pout*

    thought of you today as i drove all around this great southern city! ;)

  38. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Could you pass me the bourbon, please? Thanksgiving at the MIL’s is already taking a turn towards painful. *Sigh*

  39. Flea

    Mmmmm … cranberry, shaped like a can.

  40. Sophie

    That’s a great post to read the midnight of Thanksgiving. (Why am I still up? So I can sneak slices of pumpkin pie. Bad me, bad me!) Glad to hear you love cast iron and cornbread. Are you making dressing, too? Because you know, it’s all the rage down here. Stuffing is well… you know.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mir!

  41. Lisa

    We live by Alton Brown’s brining instructions and our turkey is to die for! Can’t wait!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  42. tuney

    Ashlee! Stick that greased cast iron skillet in a 450-degree oven till it’s good ‘n’ hot. Pour in your cornbread batter: it will sizzle if the pan’s hot enough, and will fry the bottom of the bread so it’s marvelously crusty. MMMM, good eats!!

    I’ve never tried it with bacon grease, just Crisco. Criminy. Bacon drippings sound positively sinful, which, of course, means I Must. Cook. Bacon.

    Happy turkey day to all, and to all a good nap!

  43. Cele

    I always have a house full for Christmas, and like you, I love it. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy Thanksgiving.

  44. Little Bird

    I did a brined turkey for the first time a few years ago and have since decided that there is no other way to go. It is totaly worth the extra time and steps involved for the the most mouth watering turkey I have ever eaten. Of course, I’m from a family that went to my grandparents most years and Granny was quite possibly the worst cook on the planet. I say that with love, but sheesh, that was some DRY turkey. This year it’s just me and my mother, and as per usual it will be me doing the VAST majority of the cooking. Not that I would abide by any other way. Hope your Turkey Day is happy one!! Two bottles of wine are insuring mine will be.

  45. Katie

    Another Alton Brown turkey briner here. (That might be the weirdest sentence I’ve typed in awhile.) I have 15 today but then again 7 are us so I suppose that doesn’t count for much. lol

  46. Ayla-Monic

    Ah, you crazy Americans and your November Thanksgiving. Really, it’s much easier to have Thanksgiving in October and give yourself some time to recouperate before Christmas hits you.

    Honestly, we Canadians know what we’re talking about. [nods]

  47. Ree

    Happy Thanksgiving Mir and all the little Mirlets. And the Mirguests.

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