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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  3:40:25 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
This is the Thanksgiving day memory I am sharing with my children this year. I thought you might enjoy it, too.

One year I was planning a Thanksgiving dinner for my sister’s family(2adults and 10 children), my mother, and my 3 seven year olds. I had just bought the 24 lb turkey and was calculating thawing time when she called and said they could not make it for dinner. I popped the turkey back into the freezer and recalculated my time for a capon for my mother and 3 girls. On Thanksgiving, as we sat down for our dinner, the doorbell rang and in walked my sister and her family saying “surprise, we made it after all”. I looked at my little capon, heated up some hot dogs and said: “We are having our dinner at 6 pm this year. Here have some lunch.”

Now our traditional family dinner is entirely homemade, no shortcuts, with only fresh fruits and veggies, etc. Our only concession was using canned pumpkin, which was allowed only once in a while, and one can of jellied cranberry sauce for the few who would not eat fresh cranberries. I knew that was impossible this year, I had to take shortcuts and convince them I had done it without taking any. My sister and her husband are very critical of me. They love finding my mistakes. The impossible task was dealing with frozen turkey. I looked into my freezer and found a smaller 14 lb. turkey, so I pulled that out instead of the big one. I popped 2 potatoes into the microwave and when they were finished put the turkey in there to thaw and put the potatoes aside. I made pies and put them into the oven and while they were baking mixed bread and put it aside to rise. Then I began to cheat on my menu. I boiled some cranberries with sugar until they popped, dumped in a can of jellied cranberries and placed it into a mold in the refrigerator to cool. I opened cans of yams (instead of fresh), took the liquid, added brown sugar and seasoning and thickened it on the stove top, added the yams and put them into a casserole dish and set that aside. I made that famous green bean casserole made with mushroom soup and canned fried onions and set that aside. I made stuffing and put it into a pan instead of in the turkey, but topped it with a lid so it would not brown on top and look like it came from the inside of the bird. I was not about to peel potatoes for that crowd and even though my brother-in-law swore he could always tell instant potatoes from fresh, I was determined to fool him. I know a few tricks, too. I knew instant potatoes lost that instant taste if they were allowed to sit for about 20 minutes after mixing but that made them too cold, so I added a few more convincers. I made instant potatoes and set them aside, after a half an hour, I added a generous dollop of sour cream, then took those 2 baked potatoes, peeled them and smashed them lightly with a fork and mixed them in with the instant potatoes for instant lumps. I made gravy from powdered mixes and served that. Meanwhile, I had prepared the turkey and was cooking it in the microwave. I baked the bread and dinner rolls and added it to the finished food with the pies. I planned on putting the turkey in the oven for the last 30 minutes to brown while I heated up the vegetable dishes. I topped the yams with marshmallows and put that along with the green beans, potatoes, and stuffing into the oven to reheat. While that was going on I prepared platters of olives, pickles, celery sticks, etc. along with broccoli and cauliflower and dumped ranch dressing into a serving bowl on the platter. I HAD DONE IT. Now it was time for the taste test. I asked for help to carry everything into the dining room and as everyone was sitting at the table, went back into the kitchen to get the turkey. HORRORS. I had forgotten to put it into the oven for browning. There I was alone in the kitchen with this perfectly cooked bird with white wrinkled skin.......yuck. Feeling desperate but ready to face the music, I stuffed the bird with the prepared dressing and put it on its platter surrounded with parsley and small tomatoes. It looked so pathetic,I though of covering it with gravy. Then I got inspired. I grabbed a pastry brush, reached into the cupboard and PAINTED the turkey with Kitchen bouquet sauce. Then I took a deep breath and carried it into the dining room. My brother-in-law just stared at that turkey and I waited for what he was going to say next. After an embarrassingly long pause, he looked up and said: “ that is the most perfect turkey I have ever seen, it is browned so evenly with no burned spots. It is absolutely beautiful.” Then we sat down to eat and I waited for my criticism. After all this was my sister ad her family, I knew there would be one. Finally, my brother-in-law said that I had outdone myself this year, everything was perfect. Then he looked at his wife and told her that he still preferred her mashed potatoes to mine because hers were smooth. He had found a lump in mine. As my mother helped me to clear up and do dishes, she asked how I had managed that in so little time and we laughed the night away as I told her each secret of the “made from scratch” dinner.

fran



Elizabeth
Permanent Resident

USA
1557 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  3:51:21 PM  Show Profile Send Elizabeth a Private Message
What a great story, Fran! You ARE a superwoman, and, if I am reading a detail in your story correctly, the mother of triplets to boot? AMAZING.

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lemons
Permanent Resident

1692 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  4:34:08 PM  Show Profile Send lemons a Private Message
Wheeeeeeeeeee! What a tale!

A tip of the long-dusty nurse's cap from one veteran to another!!

lemons of missouri

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Janice Alline
Seriously Hooked

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  4:47:32 PM  Show Profile Send Janice Alline a Private Message
Fran, I 2nd Elizabeth. Wonderful story. How long ago was this? I admire you're quick thinking --with your "dinner at 6pm this year" & all your wonderful perk-ups for "instant". That is a wicked trick with the stuffing & potatoes! . I love it!

Jan
"Well behaved women rarely make history."



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susnp25
Chatty Knitter

Australia
346 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  5:18:48 PM  Show Profile Send susnp25 a Private Message
I loved the story its always nice to win out sometimes!! You sound a very inventive cook, adding another 12 people to a meal isn't easy at the best of times, I can't believed they turned up without letting you know they were going to come, sister or no sister! A great memory for thanksgiving always! Susan.

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myshelle10
Permanent Resident

USA
2749 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2003 :  6:35:54 PM  Show Profile Send myshelle10 a Private Message
Fran-- Reading that is amazing :) You are so inventive... and a nicer person than I am LOL-- when someone tells me they aren't coming and then shows up, I'd just leave it like that-- show them the little capon & say that's that since they cancelled on you-- I'd have ordered pizza :) LOL. I bow before the master :)

m

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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  03:06:46 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
My "seven year olds" are now 32. They are not triplets, because I am a single adoptive parent who adopted one girl and then 28 days later adopted a set of twins. I used to refer to them as a pair and a spare. They represent 3 races and multiple nationalities, and are now the mothers of 12 children, 4 of whom are foster children who are now in the process of being adopted by my daughter. My sister went on to have a total of 10 children. Dealing with my sister and brother-in-law has always been a challenge as it is difficult to deal with someone who is always looking to find fault. I tend to regard these incidents as challenges. I had a reputation as a gourmet cook to maintain. Here the challenge was to not give them ammunition for future cut downs. I also learned something valuable--how to "paint" turkeys. And I will get the last laugh because I am also sending this story to my sister's children--she would destroy it without ever sharing it with them......LOL.

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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4387 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  05:47:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message
Thank you Fran! You are -- as my dear cousin said to me once -- SOME KIND OF WOMAN!

Jane

My (non-knitting) photo album:
http://jane.c.home.mindspring.com/
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SerMom
Permanent Resident

Canada
6412 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  08:44:09 AM  Show Profile Send SerMom a Private Message
While lacking entirely your inventiveness, I can relate to the part about a judgemental sister. The difference is, I decided a long time ago that I could never win her approval, so why try?

I applaud your ability to pull the situation off, but slightly resent your feeling the need to do so. I agree with Myshelle - they cancelled out on you, they had no right to expect first class treatment, any your providing it said that they did have the right to jusdge and cirticize. I'm sorry, I don't mean to rain on a wonderful story, but this has touched a real sore spot for me, as you can probably see.

Meanwhile, obviously, your kids and grand kids truned out wonderfully. I wonder how her's did!

Barbara

Remember, we're self-selecting!
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Atavistic
Permanent Resident

6604 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  7:17:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit Atavistic's Homepage Send Atavistic a Private Message
Since my out-laws seem to think that my obnoxious and disgusting brother-out-law's wife (who has been with brother-out-law for three yrs or so) deserves better birthday treatment than me (6 years with partner) my partner has cancelled our going to their house this T-Day.

So the two of us will be having mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and possibly a Tofurkey (no kidding) at home.

Thank goodness for not cooking for large crowds.

"Hon var nio år, och hon bodde där alldeles ensam."
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myshelle10
Permanent Resident

USA
2749 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  7:36:27 PM  Show Profile Send myshelle10 a Private Message
No harm in that at all! It's a shame that's how they feel, but at least you'll get to spend Thanksgiving together-- with people who appreciate you! :) I think that's the most important. Spending the holidays somewhere you aren't wanted just plain isn't a good experience.

And no harm w/ a Tofurkey-- although, if you aren't vegetarian, it's actually not that hard to cook the bird :) We did it last year for my husband, myself and my kid sister... we had lots of leftovers, but I made a ton of it into Turkey Soup :) Which was fantastic :)

take care,
m

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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  8:37:12 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Please don't misunderstand, I didn't feel the need to please them. I felt the need to trick them and get away with it. Okay, I'll admit it. I tend to be a little ornery and will do anything for a good joke. In later years, I greatly enjoyed feeding them other things that were not what they thought they were. Like decafeinated coffee instead of regular, or vegetarian meats, or sugar free items. I probably wouldn't have done so but my brother-in-law claimed to be a gourmet and he didn't know the difference between home grown and hot house tomatoes. All I had to do was make up a fancy name, especially in a foreign language and he was hooked. Now that is enough, I've admitted too much about myself.

fran

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SerMom
Permanent Resident

Canada
6412 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  9:07:24 PM  Show Profile Send SerMom a Private Message
quote:

Please don't misunderstand, I didn't feel the need to please them. I felt the need to trick them and get away with it. Okay, I'll admit it. I tend to be a little ornery and will do anything for a good joke. In later years, I greatly enjoyed feeding them other things that were not what they thought they were. Like decafeinated coffee instead of regular, or vegetarian meats, or sugar free items. I probably wouldn't have done so but my brother-in-law claimed to be a gourmet and he didn't know the difference between home grown and hot house tomatoes. All I had to do was make up a fancy name, especially in a foreign language and he was hooked. Now that is enough, I've admitted too much about myself.

fran





OK, I feel better now. Thanks!!!

Barbara

Remember, we're self-selecting!
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myshelle10
Permanent Resident

USA
2749 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2003 :  9:28:36 PM  Show Profile Send myshelle10 a Private Message
LOL-- Fran-- you haven't revealed too much! I liked you before.... but now I *really* like you :) LOL. I can imagine that w/ a brother in law like that it would be *great* fun to con him into believing you :) That's a great use of spunk :)

take care,
m

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Janice Alline
Seriously Hooked

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2003 :  9:59:36 PM  Show Profile Send Janice Alline a Private Message
Fran, enquiring minds (mine, anyway) want to know -- how did it go?

Jan
"If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees."



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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2003 :  10:12:32 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Fooled him on every point. His kids are okay too. Silent and at attention in his presence but perfectly normal away from him. He didn't fool anyone let alone his kids.

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Janice Alline
Seriously Hooked

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2003 :  10:54:24 PM  Show Profile Send Janice Alline a Private Message
Fran, I'm sorry. I didn't make myself very clear. I meant what happened when you told them the story this year?

Jan
"Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them."
-- Robert Strauss on conducting


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OryxRun
Seriously Hooked

USA
625 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2003 :  06:53:40 AM  Show Profile Send OryxRun a Private Message
OMG, what a wonderful story. I want to print it so I can have some quick fixes for next year's meal. Outrageous, Brilliant, I would send the story to a Woman's Magazine. You earned the right to get paid for that one. Thank you so much for sharing and your secrets to (Thanksgiving) success.

Stay well,
Mary




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SerMom
Permanent Resident

Canada
6412 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2003 :  10:46:37 AM  Show Profile Send SerMom a Private Message
quote:

Fran, I'm sorry. I didn't make myself very clear. I meant what happened when you told them the story this year?

Jan
"Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them."
-- Robert Strauss on conducting






Yes, I'd love to know how the story went over as well!

Barbara

Remember, we're self-selecting!
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2003 :  11:00:06 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
The children are hilarious, loving every minute of "fooling Uncle Jim" I haven't heard anything from my sister or her husband, but then I doubt if I will............LOL

Incidentally, my "homemade" mashed potato recipe was the biggest hit and that surprised me. After all, how many of you know someone who can PAINT a turkey?

fran

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purlewe
Permanent Resident

1919 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2003 :  10:39:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit purlewe's Homepage Send purlewe a Private Message
I enjoyed every minute of this story. Especially the part about you enjoying tricking them. Everyone has a relative in their family that just seems to rub you the wrong way. I cooked for mine this year. An uncle who insists that I cook too gourmet for him (why? because I used a garlic clove once in a meat dish. He was angry for days) I made the whole meal except for 2 items this year. My aunt made the lima bean casserole (same exact recipe as the green bean one fran made, but with frozen limas instead) and the salad. Everyone went on and on how much I made and how hard it was, but honestly, everything I made was a casserole. Entirely dump and bake. The turkey was just a the breast and we warmed a pre-cooked ham. They went on and on for hours that I was such a gourmet etc etc. Honey, when I do gourmet you'll know it!!!

purlewe

My mother made me a homosexual. And if you give her some yarn, she'll make you one too. ~quentin crisp
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