With Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, we are all getting our menus planned and our shopping lists ready so our celebration meal will be as free of hassles as possible. However, it seems no matter how much planning I do, something always goes wrong and has to be fixed or improvised.
One year we had two friends coming over. I decided to try some different side dishes to go along with our traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey and dressing. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough and would be a good compliment to the rest of the meal. The directions stated to heat some Catalina dressing in a skillet and saute baby carrots for a few minutes until heated through. Then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
When our plates were full and we started to eat, I bit into the “supposed to be good” carrots and felt like I was eating a tree limb. At this point, I was wishing no one else had these orange roots on their plates, but it was too late. We all had a laugh about it, but no one took seconds. They did, however, want to go outside and use them for skeet shooting. Even though the recipe directions didn’t state to boil them first, common sense should have told me carrots are not going to be done in the few minutes they were in the pan.
Lesson learned: Don’t use an untried, new recipe on guests or for a special occasion.
My almost turkey disaster occurred just a few months after my husband and I were married. It wasn’t Thanksgiving, but he wanted me to cook a turkey and have his family over for dinner. I was petrified. I had cooked lots of chickens before, but never a turkey. I knew the giblets were inside the cavity of the bird and I removed them before cooking. I barely got the giant bird in the apartment sized oven we had, because he had bought a 20 pound turkey even though we were only serving six people. I was amazed at how good it looked when I removed it from the oven, steaming hot, smelling good, and golden brown. I placed it on my beautiful platter and carried it to the head of the table for my husband to carve.
The first few slices were smooth and juicy. However, the deeper into the bird he cut the more the meat was covered in pieces of something white. After a few “what is that?” comments, we uncovered the mystery. Even though I had remembered to remove the giblets, I didn’t know the other end of the bird contained a plastic bag of gravy. This time the gravy was inside the bird and not on it.(I always look for that packet now!)
Lesson learned: Look all through the bird for surprises.
Despite these mishaps, thankfully, we have been able to overlook them and still have good celebrations. What about you? What catastrophes or hazards have you encountered while preparing a special meal?