Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Continued - Thanksgiving Forever!

This week is about two things: writing like a madman and looking forward to Thanksgiving. And doing whatever I can to help my wife find a new job, so I suppose that’s three things.

The writing’s going fairly well. I’m only on the first draft, of course – much more writing, re-writing and editing lies between me and a finished novel. But I’ve got chapter one finished and chapter two is around eighty percent done. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I never did finish transcribing all of my various notes out of handwritten notepads, old emails I sent myself from work, word documents, Post-It notes, and so forth. Yet I need to have some of those notes available or I’m likely to leave out something important or generally screw up my book in some way that will make me angry and despondent in the future when I need to fix it by re-writing massive chunks of my manuscript. So I spent several hours this afternoon copying over notes from fourteen months ago. I got perhaps halfway through the thinnest of the three full notebooks I’ve got, and I didn’t touch any of the electronic notes I’ve got stashed away, yet. In knew this was going to take a while, but I really hoped that if I put it off long enough, the novel fairies would take care of it for me. Stupid fairies!!

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is so close I can almost taste it. We’ve got our turkey – a fresh Plainville Farms young turkey breast. All the talk this year seems to be about brining, so I’m thinking hard about giving that a go. We even bought some kosher salt because evidently it’s platelet-shaped instead of square which makes it chemically work better. Good Morning America’s Sara Moulton has a recipe up for a brine that includes a bunch of other herbs and spices that I’m thinking of trying, but I’ve also found Alton Brown’s recipe which seems to have pretty good reviews as well. We’ve also got potatoes which I’ll whip to a fare-thee-well, and two (count ‘em TWO!) acorn squash that I’ll be cooking, mashing and mixing with copious amounts of brown sugar and cinnamon. And there should be plenty of leftovers since I’m the only one who really eats it (though my daughter told her class today that it’s one of her favorites. I wonder if she’d feel as strongly about it if she actually ate any?). My boys won the dressing battle, so we’ll be having Stove Top there. And honestly, I’m a sucker for the plain old cranberry sauce out of the can, so we bought one of those. Yeah, yeah, fresh cranberry sauce blah, blah, blah. I’m happy with my jellied, can-shaped jiggling glob of goop, thank you very much.

I’m trying to decide whether to try making fresh dinner rolls in the bread machine. The first time I tried they came out all dry and fell apart, but I’ve made a lot of bread since then and it’s worth a shot. Or I could just make a loaf of bread, which is pretty darned good, too. But my wife says we’ve still got brown & serve rolls in the freezer so I may just cheat and use those. I’ll have to see how ambitious I’m feeling on Thanksgiving morning.

So let’s see, we’ve got our brined turkey breast, potatoes, squash, dressing, cranberry sauce and bread covered. Then there’s the frozen corn, gravy, two different kinds of olives (my wife only eats green, I only eat black, and the kids won’t touch either of them), and, of course, dessert. Again, my wife and I have different tastes in desserts, so we’ll be going way overboard with not only pumpkin pie (her favorite), but also apple crisp (which I adore). Yeah, as if we’re going to be able to cram that in on top of everything else. But that’s the point – Thanksgiving is about raging excess, a tribute to the American Way as represented by the grossly distorted mythos surrounding the religious fundamentalists who came all the way here from England to have dinner with the Indians. I wonder who got to keep the leftovers?

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