Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sparky Attempts to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner, A Big Turkey and All

No, Sparky did not try to cook her company...If you've been following our blog, you know that Sparky hates to cook. And if you've been following a few blogs of full time travelers, a lot of RVers like to eat out, including Sparky! So when we came off the road, we didn't have a lot of cooking supplies to bring to our house when we settled down...No big deal...Sparky still hates to cook, we still eat out quite a bit. But---Thanksgiving was coming, and Sparky invited some full time RVing friends to come over and share our dinner table with us, since our families couldn't be here....She had to scrounge for the right supplies to cook a relatively big dinner for the first time in YEARS!

The pressure was on...Eldo didn't help much with motivation...(HEY, now, wait just a cotton pickin' minute! I cleaned the whole house, vacuumed and did the toilets and all! complains E.) He sure did and thank you, dear! How he DIDN'T help was to say, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Sure, I'm sure...I think! So off to get the stuff---green beans and all the fixings for green bean casserole, a big honkin' turkey, a 20 pounder....geez, Costco's, don't you have anything smaller?  Uh, ok...a twenty pound fresh Butterball turkey. Except it was partially frozen...Oh, says Costco...We freeze 'em in about an inch in so we can keep them in the store all week for early bird (yuck, yuck) shoppers. Hmmmmm, let's see, what else? Gravy--What, you are not making gravy from scratch, Sparky? C'mon, guys, you know Sparky doesn't cook....It's Heinz gravy in a jar....check. Shop Smart Magazine put out by Consumer Reports says that's one of the best tasting pre made gravies around. Sparky knows what she is doing. Pumpkin pie from Costco's--humongous! That sucker was 12" in diameter! check.  Whipped cream, the REAL stuff! (But in a can, clarifies Eldo.) But it's real whipped cream, not Bird's Eye, clarifies Sparky. Yeast rolls....and no-o-o-o-o, Sparky did not make them, Hawaiian King did. Stuffing....and YES! Sparky did make this from scratch. (AHEM!) Well, sort of...Good Old Pepperidge Farm pre made bread cubes BUT---Sparky added apples, celery, onions, extra bread cubes and chicken broth...check. All the turkey....The bane of Sparky's existence today....

It was a battle...that twenty pound turkey was like forty pounds! Sparky wrestled it out of its wrapper and proceeded to try and unlock the tucked in drumsticks from inside the bird which was still partially frozen, but Sparky thought it wasn't. Sparky remembered from a previous Thanksgiving time where she didn't know that you were supposed to remove the giblet bag and the neck from the turkey before cooking, so she knew she HAD to get that stuff out of the bird. Twenty minutes later, Sparky was sweating and swearing, but the bird was defrocked. The bag of stuff was OUT! Ok, get the bird into the roaster, which was barely big enough to contain the bird.  Hmmmmmm....which way is the bird supposed to lay...which side is breast side up? Sparky wasn't sure....And she had heard somewhere that you should cook the bird for the first hour upside down, then turn it right side up for the remainder of the cooking time. Whichever side was up, Sparky decided to go with it. She was going to let it cook for an hour, then turn it.

One hour later....time to flip it. Easier said than done. No big forks in the house...."ELDY....We got a problem. I gotta turn the turkey and I don't have anything strong enough to turn this bird over." Eldy to the rescue...Two big BBQ forks coming right up! That man is a lifesaver. Sparky thinks she will keep him....For many other reasons besides just that one.

Even with two big forks, Sparky stabbed, jabbed, and cajoled the bird into flipping over....But he got severely scarred in the process. This bird is NOT looking very well....Did Sparky think to tie the drumsticks back together? Nope!  She had so much trouble lifting this heavy bird that she got Eldy to flip it. Back into the roasting pan he went, with the drumsticks sticking out everywhere and getting jammed in the weak little rack that comes with the roaster to hold the bird, and the lid barely on the pot. Sparky put a can of jellied cranberry sauce on the lid cover to help hold it down, not realizing that an aluminum can conducts heat, and the jellied cranberry sauce would start to liquify.
As that thought occurred to her, she grabbed the can off the lid, and promptly burnt her hand...But that didn't deter Sparky....On to the green bean casserole which came together nicely and without any problems...except Sparky forgot to put them in the oven near the end of the turkey cooking cycle and had to microwave them at the last minute, which made for soggy French fried onions on the top.

On to the mashed potatoes! Sparky is fearless and courageous, is she not?  No potato masher in the house, anywhere. "WHERE IS THE DAMN POTATO MASHER?" Sparky is muttering under her breath. She is frantically looking for it, this could be bad...Sparky swears she had one last Christmas. (Yep, folks, that's the last time she made mashed potatoes says E.) Eldo swears every year that you can't make mashed potatoes unless you use a big honkin' electric mixer which we do NOT own, and Sparky is bound and determined every year to prove she can make lump free mashed potatoes WITHOUT the electric mixer. (And she does, says an always surprised Eldy.) Now, mashed potatoes this year without the hand held ancient potato masher which she has had for years? This might be a problem! Sparky whips out the whisk and proceeds to whisk the hell out of the potatoes with great success, only to have globs of potatoes flying every which way, which she frantically grabs off the counter, because the company is here by now, and Sparky doesn't want anybody to know she is having a few, minor issues in the kitchen and that they might get hit by flying mashed potatoes.

"Anything I can do for you, Jeannie?" asks the ever delightful Suzette Kurfis, while her husband, Larry, and Eldy traded notes on various topics. "Oh, no, everything is under control, thank you, though..." responds Sparky. Ok, the potatoes are mashed, the green beans are nuked, the two layers of Hawaiian King sweet rolls got burnt on the top, Sparky quickly threw the burnt ones in the trash and oh, my god....Look at this turkey....Suzette said it looked like the turkey was having a gynecological exam.....Ya think it's done? My sister said you know if it's done by wiggling the legs. Sparky wiggled one leg and it disintegrated. She got 'er done, all right!
WELL! Actually, once Sparky carved up the turkey....(HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that's everybody laughing at Sparky's hack job), the dinner was pretty darn decent...The turkey was moist (Sparky put pats of butter under the skin on the turkey) and really pretty good! The potatoes were lump free, AHA! Another notch under Sparky's belt, and the green beans were ok. We had wine, we laughed, we shared RVing stories,  the company was great, and...(Uh, Sparky forgot to take a photo, folks...) Oops! So here is our delightful company from a previous pickle ball photo....

And Sparky is already thinking about next year's Thanksgiving Day dinner----Cracker Barrel take out. (SIGH........) That big sigh is from Sparky's better half.....Sparky heard from Sparky, Jr., out in Texas, that Cracker Barrel does a terrific job of Thanksgiving Day dinner...Like mother, like daughter.....What can I say....except,

"Happy Thanksgiving!"


  1. Laughed all the way through it! Least No one starved ;)

  2. Happy Thanksgiving, sound like you were really enjoying the meal making process, was enetertaining and gave you something to blog about too, lotsa turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey casseroles etc.. I could make for you.

    1. Thank you, George! We wish you could make us some turkey stuff, too! But I'll try my best! :-)

  3. I have to be honest, Jeannie, and say that is the saddest looking roast turkey I've ever seen. ;)

  4. LOL at your story. Although I know it must not have been funny st the time but you did a great job of retelling. It us the saddest looking turkey I have ever seen too. But don't give up, now you know how to do it. Practice makes perfect.