A Turkey of a Thanksgiving
We interrupt this regularly scheduled Meatless Monday feature for a little ditty about a Thanksgiving feast that almost didn’t happen.
That would be the feast at Casa Appetite.
The day began on a bright and tranquil note, with many components of the meal already underway. The cranberry sauce, a blend of Washington state cranberries and Alaskan tundra berries, was already prepared. The turkey, a girl-hen from nearby Gig Harbor (a Puget Sound village southwest of Seattle) that dined on apples, Asian pears and grass, had been bathing in an aromatic brine for two days and would need just a few hours in the oven. Mister MA had his stuffing well under control (alas, he did not opt for a cornbread-baguette concoction) and dessert, an upside down pumpkin cake with a cranberry-pecan topping, was sitting pretty on a cake plate.
In fact, preparations were going so smoothly there was time for Mister MA to walk down the hill and feed the ducks on Lake Union and to burn some white sage in the house to usher out unwelcome spirits. The vibe in the Casa was easy and relaxed, and the turkey went in the oven just before one, right on time.
By two, our lone dinner guest, Rolf, had arrived, his arms full of shopping bags brimming with wine and sundry goodies for an app-snack plate. With the turkey now well on its way, the house was beginning to smell wonderful. Rolf busied himself setting up his spread, which included locally smoked salmon, four different cheeses, crackers, crab dip and a few nods to his Norwegian ancestry -- pickled herring and herring in sour cream sauce.
Mister MA poured white wine all around, and we toasted to our good fortune and friendship. A few minutes later, I shimmied away from the smorgasbord and went into the kitchen to check on Mama Bird.
But this time, something in the kitchen was off.
As in the oven.
The digital display on the electric oven was blank, and nothing would bring it back to life, no matter how we tried. Mister MA scurried down to the basement to check on a possible tripped breaker in the fuse box, but alas, the switches were all in order. The guys fiddled with the knobs on the stovetop, thinking they’d be able to magically resuscitate the sick appliance and save Thanksgiving, but the stovetop too was dead.
And I was too stunned to even think straight.
I stared at the turkey, which needed at least one more hour of roasting time. There was gravy to make and Brussels sprouts to shred and sauté. And stuffing to bake.
“I don’t understand,” Mister MA declared. “We burned white sage. This shouldn’t have happened!”
The guys took matters into their own hands and decided we’d relocate to Rolf’s bachelor pad on the Puget Sound in West Seattle. Rolf covered the bird in foil, put her in the back seat of his car and sped off to get her back into the oven pronto.
Meanwhile, I collapsed into a blubbering mess and Mister MA had to scrape me off the floor, reminding me that everything would be okay. I’ve dealt with plenty of kitchen mishaps in my time, but a dying oven with half-roasted turkey ON THANKSGIVING DAY! was a first.
As much as I love the ocean view from Rolf’s apartment, cooking at his place is a challenge, with a woefully sparse kitchen. We’d have to take everything with us -- knives, cutting board, spices, pots, tablecloth – the works. I scanned the kitchen and visualized my menu to make sure we’d have everything we’d need at Camp Rolf, and the mental checklisting was giving me a whopper headache.
As we arrived, the skies rewarded us with a magnificent sunset and we clinked our glasses of red wine, this time to making the best of a crazy, unforeseen situation.
Ninety minutes later, we sat down on the floor and feasted at Rolf’s coffee table (I told you, it’s a bachelor pad). The brined bird survived the drama, and the gravy was some of my best in a long time. Mister MA’s stuffing needed some work, but at this point, the details no longer mattered. We were three friends, who weathered a kitchen storm and found shelter -- and a beautiful ocean view.
P.S. A handyman duo came to the rescue over the weekend. Something about a loose connection and a new “terminal block.” Anyway, $130 later and the oven seems to be just fine…
So, how was your Thanksgiving? Share your ups and downs in the comments area.
Mark Your Calendars: Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly and I will be on hand Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6 - 8 p.m. for an official meet-and-greet at D.C.'s M Bar at the Renaissance M St Hotel. Come on out. We can't wait to meet you.
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