T-Day Prep

For as long as I can remember we have gone to the farm for Thanksgiving. My father cooks and cooks and cooks. I usually bring a few things that I can make in advance. This year my parents are coming to our house. I know that at 80 doing all that prep is a lot of work, because hell, at 57 it is a lot of work.

Yesterday I made a crack pie. If you don’t know what that is I will tell you it is the most delicious complicated pie ever from the brilliant Milk Bar in NYC. The recipe is four or five pages long, and includes ingredients I have to order from Amazon, but is so worth it. If you want it I can take pictures of my book and send it to you. Even better buy the cook book called Milk Bar.

Today I started my stewed tomatoes. They are incredibly easy, like the opposite of the pie. It is three ingredients, whole canned Italian plum tomatoes, salt and sugar. You dump the tomatoes in a stock pot and cook them on the absolute lowest heat your stove will go until they have reduced by 75%. Yeah, you have to stir them every once in a while, but other than that they are no work. At the very end you add a little sugar and a little salt to taste. They keep forever in the fridge and reheat on the stove or in the oven and are addictive. It takes about six hours to really cook a big pot down.

An unnamed In-law once served me “stewed tomatoes” one Thanksgiving. They were whole tomatoes from the can, run over a candle for two minutes. I swore that I would do my best to educate all of America on what Stewed Tomatoes really were from that travesty.

I also made homemade cranberry sauce yesterday. Only easier than the tomatoes because it is fast. Cranberries, orange juice and sugar. Cooked a few minutes until they pop and chilled.

So making pies, cranberry sauce and tomatoes is nothing new as my contribution to Thanksgiving. Now I have to think of all the things my father usually does. Yesterday I took my frozen turkey out and put it in the fridge to thaw. I like to brine my turkey for 24 hours so I need my turkey ready on Wednesday.

Fearing my fridge is too cold and my turkey will still be frozen I put it in the sink in a water bath. I just have to remember to move it back to the fridge tonight.

Mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, gingered carrots, creamed onions all can wait for closer to the day when Carter is here to cook. I know my mother will wonder why we have more than one vegetable, but we like the leftovers and Carter has turned into a great cook at college.

Today I needed Russ for the most important Thanksgiving job, cleaning the ceiling fan blades. Apparently I cook so much that the ceiling fans collect any dirt that exists in the air. Thankfully Shay was available to supervise Russ removing and replacing the blades while I washed than down with a bottle of dawn. This just leaves polishing everything and setting the table.

I think it is about time I took over this job from my Dad. I am not going to wait until I am 80 to pass it on to Carter. She is ready to do it all now if only she were home, well the cooking. The cleaning is still up to me, Russ and Shay.

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