Now, where was I?

One of the best things about Thanksgiving or, better said, my Thanksgiving is how I manage to avoid almost completely, my family. The way it works, for logistic reasons is that we do Thanksgiving with TFBIM's colossal -- which negates the possibility of conjoining the two tribes -- extended family and then we do Christmas with mine.

TFBIM's crowd is probably no prize, either but they are her crowd and therefore I don't have to be slapped with fresh reminders of exactly how scandalously low on chlorine is my gene pool. Furthermore, they are happy to let me stay in the kitchen, glowing with manly perspiration borne of what passes for honest toil, cooking away for a small battalion. I reserve a bottle of something to slake me, and I spend a good six hours in bliss. I rather expect Heaven to be like this, only I'd also be reading books and the accolades would come not from Uncle Francis but St. Francis.

But in all of these discussions, I often omit to mention the prepwork. Epochs ago, when I was a young man (less than half as old as I am now, alas) I worked as a line cook in the nicest restaurant in the university town where my (duh) university happened to be. This isn't saying a lot, mind you, and in any major city it'd be considered a pretty good neighborhood place. But this was 198X in a small collegiate hamlet a good hour from any sort of city worthy of the moniker.

During my first few weeks, I had to come in and "prep." "Prep" is shorthand for chopping and dicing and slicing and peeling EVERYTHING, as well as precooking all foodstuffs as far as they could be without (grossly) compromising their quality.

What you, dear Internet, need to know about prepwork is that it's unimaginably dreary and dull. Tedium is the term which leaps to mind. Boring. But it has to get done unless you want people to eat cooked onions out of hand as they would a pear.

In Thanksgiving mode, prep means a ton of work to a foodie such as me. For example, the cornbread stuffing/dressing requires cornbread. So cornbread must be made, and not that sweetish stuff, either. (I am debating making my own sausage)

The turkey must be brined, meaning the brine must be made (this year I am experimenting with apple juice in which herbs -- sage, thyme and marjoram -- have steeped, as well as having a few crushed cloves of garlic floating around) and cooled. Oh, and there must be stock for the soup. You get the idea.

The sad thing is that I sort of enjoy this. Maybe it's the solitude which I enjoy, the idea that were the phone to ring* TFBIM would intercept it like a missile defense system shooting down some Russian Scud. Even better, TFBIM is happy because the boys are galley slaves doing a father-and-sons thing in the kitchen which means they are both quiet AND she doesn't have to supervise them. This is all a win-win, when you come to think of it.

So, today is the last day of work -- in a certain sense it's the last REAL day of work, because December mostly means impressive amounts of foot-dragging -- before the fun begins.

I promise pictures.

-J.

* The definition of youth is pretty much "being of such an age that when the phone rings you hope it's for you."

Comments

MsCellania said…
This year, my family has insisted on 'schlepping all the food' which is literally giving me nightmares. The 25 yo niece is bringing the 'green bean casserole'. I am picturing canned everything for this one. I get 'why' they are doing this -- I have been doing all the cooking for years plus we are down to one oven these days -- but I am dreading the dinner. My only hope is that it is so bad nobody ever suggests such folly again.
Enjoy your day! I am envious.
blackbird said…
We've made our own sausage - it is a minefield of trenches.
That's as far as I can stretch the metaphor right now, but feel free to email if you'd like particulars.
And, enjoy, I know whereof you speak.
shula said…
Dammit, Joke, I want thanksgiving at your house.

Would it help to mention that I love to prep?
Kim said…
Ahh, the quiet solitude that comes from prepping, working methodically through the list and so on and so forth.

But this: fresh reminders of exactly how scandalously low on chlorine is my gene pool is the story of my life.

And I'm adopted.
BabelBabe said…
OMFG. May I just call you Martha? When I come over for Thanksgiving dinner, I mean?
Joke said…
Ms.- When people ask me why I do all this cooking, I say -- rather frankly -- it's so I can have something I'd eat without coercion.

bb - This is more breakfast/bulk sausage than stuff in the casings. That's another post for another day.

Shula - You can't fool me. You just want to check out those Super 150s and Sea Island Cottons and otherwise do a whole Daisy Buchanan number.

Kim - Yep. There ought be a club or something.

BB - This isn't the one where you array yourself like a prison matron, is it?

-J.

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