Julia Child eat your heart out

December 14, 2007

It’s been ages since I’ve been back here. Sorry. I blame everything on the snow.

Granted, we live in a part of the country where snow in winter is supposed to be a given. We are not one of those wimpy southern states, where everything closes at the drop of a flake. We are supposed to be able to take this, up in Wisconsin.

It’s just been a few years since the last white Christmas, and a few more since we got so many regular storms, so early in the season and temperatures quite this low. Hibernation is setting in. Of course, it’s hard to explain the fact that I got snowed in and couldn’t make it to work, since work is in the house, and 2 doors down from the kitchen. But I’m about ready to set up a remote office in the living room, with the laptop, under an afghan.


Anyway. When I left you, I was still talking turkey.

I did succeed in making a portable Thanksgiving for my family and carrying it up north to my parent’s house. Since I refuse to cook in my mother’s kitchen, this presented something of a problem.

First, let me tell you about my mother’s kitchen…

Despite the historical romance novels, I am a 21st century kind of gal. I believe in having all the conveniences I can grab, especially when presented with a major culinary holiday.

My mother believes that the old ways are the best. In a recent conversation, she said she wanted to try making a meal out of ‘nothing’ just like they used to, in the depression.

I suggested that it might be easier and healthier to make a meal out of ‘something’. Chicken and steamed vegetables, for example.

She was not buying it. Apparently trying to cook using ‘food’ would spoil the fun for her.

Of course, cooking using modern appliance would do that as well. I can (and do) live without a garbage disposal. But I miss my dishwasher, when I leave home. I could do without it, of course. But I miss it, when trying to do dishes in a small sink with no counter space.

But how do my parents manage without a microwave? This is where I start to hyperventilate, as I look around their kitchen. What if there is a medical emergency, and I need popcorn? Am I supposed to make it on the stove?

And the stove. It is smaller than usual. An apartment size range, with a tiny oven. The kitchen is small, so maybe, it’s to scale.

Except, the refrigerator is huge. The size of a normal fridge, but with a single door, and no freezer. No food, either. I know why there’s no food. But if she’s seriously trying her depression foodless meals, then why has she memorized the McDonald’s Dollar menu? And why is there no freezer?

Well, there’s a freezer, of course. Even my parents can’t survive without a freezer. Theirs is in a back bedroom, three rooms away from the kitchen. A bedroom with no overhead light source, and no lamps. So, if you crave ice cream after dark, you need a flashlight.

The cumulative effect is such that, if you try to cook a turkey in there, you end up expecting Rod Serling to walk up behind you and ask for a drumstick.

And this is how we came to pack a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner into a minivan, next to a hundred pound golden retriever. The husband and #2 son went on ahead, in a different vehicle, leaving me and #1 son, two coolers, a Nesco roaster full of hot turkey, and the dog.

It was like trying to play Tetris, if one of the pieces is gravy.

If any of you are in this situation, I can recommend to you a kitchen tool that Alton Brown has never suggested: duct tape. It’s the thin gray line between the dog hair and the cranberry sauce.