I'm Thankful I Made It Through The Day

3:28pm We're at my in-laws' house in Vienna, Virginia. The Safeway "Thanksgiving in a box" turkey is in the oven (and thank god it was fully cooked before it went in, because when we arrived it had been "thawing" on the kitchen counter for two hours, despite the fact that it hadn't been frozen when it was picked up this morning). We brought some yukon gold potatoes, some wild-caught king salmon, a bunch of asparagus, various vegetarian stuffings and gravies from Whole Foods, and some homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, and butternut squash down with us to augment the box of sides that came in the Safeway box.

With my additions I am trying to relive that wonderfully cozy Thanksgiving in Truckee where Ken (a meat and potatoes guy), Al (a master of Thanksgiving cooking), Kristin (an omnivorous gourmand), Valerie (a virtual vegan), and I (a fish-eating vegetarian) pooled our culinary talents to create a meal everyone could enjoy. Everyone's plate looked different, and all looked equally beautiful. (I have photos somewhere; I should post them.)

5:45pm The kitchen is in chaos. There's a logjam at the microwave as we try to heat the butternut squash and the two different gravies and also try to keep the mashed potatoes warm. My mother-in-law does not approve of the way I've boiled my potatoes, and she cares even less for the combination pan-searing/steaming I'm giving the asparagus. "No water!" she shouts, when I sprinkle a bit over the oiled asparagus, and it sizzles exactly as planned. My salmon is under the broiler, but I'm already unsure it will satisfy; it smelled a tad fishy when I unwrapped it.

6:04pm The Beaner rejects turkey, salmon, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and milk. Instead, he demands eggs. We did not bring eggs. He ends up eating the bowtie pasta I'd shoved into the cooler at the last minute out of its Ziploc bag. He also eats two asparagus spears and shreds two more.

My plate looks the best, I think, but I'm not finding the fish very appealing. Is it really not as fresh as I'd hoped, or is wild-caught salmon just more gamey than I'd realized? I eat a bit, but not much. Mostly I scrape the cranberry relish off the top (I had an amazing salmon filet with cranberry-orange relish at the Pillar House in Boston one Thanksgiving, and I've associated this dish with Thanksgiving ever since) and scarf that down along with a mix of mashed potatoes, wild mushroom gravy, butternut squash, wild rice stuffing, and cornbread stuffing, and a few asparagus spears. This batch of relish is the best I've ever made, I think.

6:42pm Ugh, maybe a second piece of apple pie wasn't such a good idea. I probably just should have cut the first piece slightly bigger, since I only really wanted like two more bites. "That's when you just stick a spoon in the pie plate and pick out a couple apples," says Al. The rum raisin ice cream was an inspired choice, however (I picked up a pint, along with a pint of vanilla bean, when I went out to Safeway to pick up a meat thermometer shortly after our arrival). I don't think I've ever had rum raisin ice cream before, but ever since our meal at Nobu (I *will* write about it eventually, I promise!), which ended with a dessert of sticky date pudding and crushed plantains with whiskey ice cream, I've been wanting to put alcoholic beverage-flavored ice cream on any warm dessert that wanders by. In the absence of a whiskey flavored option, and with no way to make brandy-flavored whipped cream (I didn't bring a hand mixer with me), I decided to try the Haagen Dazs rum raisin over the surprisingly delicious Safeway apple pie. GOOD IDEA. (That small extra piece of pie, though? Bad idea.)

7:20pm The Beaner is running back and forth between me (in the family room, watching Tony Romo rack up tons of fantasy football points for my team) and Grandpa Cho (in the living room). I assume he's telling Grandpa the same thing he's telling me. "Hug!", and, once he's gotten one, "one minute. No, two minutes. I'll be right back in TWO MINUTES."

7:40pm We take a sweaty, napless Beaner upstairs for a bath. After the bath he tries to don his jammie shirt by himself. (He gets the holes wrong, but I admire his effort.) He's so proud of himself for almost getting it that he runs back into the bathroom to find his discarded rugby-striped shirt and tries to put that on, too. He now has two shirts on... but refuses to put on his jammie pants. I finally stand him on his head while Al pulls the pants onto his legs.

8:33pm The Beaner is sound asleep in his Pack 'n Play after watching a segment of Elmo's World "onna DVD". I am fighting with the cable modem in my father-in-law's office; I need to get my blog post up before I pass out to remain in strict compliance with NaBloPoMo. (It's not enough just to WRITE every day; you actually have to POST every day.) I have a major case of the sugar sweats from the carb-heavy dinner and the two pieces of pie + ice cream. I will be getting up early tomorrow morning and walking to the 7-11 to buy eggs for The Beaner myself. I'll also be eating a plain Fage yogurt for breakfast in addition to the eggs. Mmmm, protein. But now, good night!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Posted by Lori in food and parenthood at 9:33 PM on November 23, 2006