Friday, November 20, 2015

Incessant Divagation

by Rick Jones, Husband of the Minister's Wife

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, Lois and I have a traditional division of duties. Lois does most of the food preparation. I do most of the food consumption.

Of course, she also eats. So it seems fair that I also help fix the meal. We make our own stuffing, which means that I get to chop up the bread, celery, and onions. We used to get a 24 pound turkey, but now that our household has less folks in it, Lois has [with regrets] scaled back to a 17 pound bird. But she still prepares as much stuffing as she used to, which means that we have plenty of stuffing plus lots of leftover dressing. The difference between stuffing and dressing, by the way, is that stuffing was actually stuffed into the turkey, and dressing was cooked separately. I don't know if any real chefs agree with that definition, but it's our kitchen, our rules.

Other than chopping stuff for stuffing, opening cans, and lifting the bird into and out of the oven, I don't get to help much. The food turns out better that way. My mother taught me to cook a few basic dishes, but they are very basic. Whenever I try to get creative, it leads to comments like “What did you put in this?”, “Does this food have a name?”, and “How can something be raw on the outside but burned on the inside?”. Our boys once wrote up a recipe card for me which had just four lines:

 “Quick and Easy Pizza”

I have one recipe which results in a mixture of ground beef, canned corn, canned peas, and instant potatoes. Some people call it “shepherd's pie”, but I think that might be an insult to shepherds. We call it “That Stuff”. The first time I served it, the boys were raising the usual objections. I hadn't thought of a name for it yet, so I raised my voice and said, “Just pipe down and EAT THAT STUFF!”

“That stuff” is not on our Thanksgiving menu. We have real whipped potatoes [that's my other job: peeling potatoes] with lots and lots of gravy.

There's more to the menu, but suffice it to say that the post-Thanksgiving challenge is to finish all the leftovers before December begins. It's not an easy task, but every year I volunteer to lead by example.
I also observe the post-Thanksgiving tradition called “pretend that the bathroom scale does not exist”.

I do like watching football on Thanksgiving, but we leave the TV off during the main meal. This year, that definitely won't be a hardship. I've looked at the match-ups scheduled for the day, and at least four of the six teams involved are playing like a bunch of turkeys.

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