Cooking the Thanksgiving Meal—Tails You Win Farm Style

Thanks HowieLet’s make one thing perfectly clear. I’m not much of a chef. My culinary skills are fairly limited (I can make mac and cheese…I can make one fabulous tomato bisque that a friend gave me baby-step-by-baby-step instructions for…I can make nachos). In fact, my idea of being a good cook is in knowing where to shop for really great carry-out (that I can then put in my own serving dish…you get the picture).

All that said, this fine year, I decided to cook our Thanksgiving meal. It’s just me, Jim and…oh, at last count with holiday guests…25 dogs and one wolfdog. Intimate, really.

We could have gone to enjoy a lovely meal at the home of some amazing friends. It would have been wonderful. These people know how to cook. They have a gourmet kitchen that makes me panic just a little when I simply stand in it. They have burners and ovens galore. They have a sink with a special faucet just for filling big pots with water.  (In my world the use for said “pot filler” would be to douse whatever fire I likely set…but WAIT…you don’t use water to put out a kitchen fire…so we can all see how that would go.)

Today, they will serve the perfect wine. They will have perfect hors d’oeurves. They will have feast beyond compare. They will follow it with an array of desserts that could make the cover of the holiday edition of Bon Appétit Magazine and their table presentation could grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, the holiday how-to edition. I know this. And they will pull it all off with effortless smiles to hide the hours of planning and work that went into the whole affair.

And it would have been a lovely, gluttonous experience.

But this year, with all of our doggy house guests (and my vision of the havoc they could wreak while we are away enjoying said lovely Thanksgiving gathering), and realizing that I have NEVER in my adult life just had my own stay-at-home-and-figure-it-out feast, I decided that Jim and I would have a Tails You Win Farm Thanksgiving.

Turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, and whatever other side dishes should happen. Yep. Doing it ourselves.

Stop laughing. Seriously. I have feelings.

For a week or so I have been planning.  I have been on Pinterest. I have Googled until my fingers are numb. I found that it’s a tad tricky to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for two. Or so I now believe. Though I have nothing to compare it to. But I have SEEN people cook a huge Thanksgiving meal. (I’m usually in charge of salad and rolls. Hard to screw up salad and rolls.) Thanksgiving recipes are designed to feed the masses. Huh. Just another fun hurdle in my culinary pilgrimage. (Look! I even used a Thanksgiving word!)

Anywho, I gathered recipes, I bought a small turkey breast—all white meat, no scary sack of guts inside. The perfect size for Thanksgiving pour deux. I think that’s French for ‘Thanksgiving for two.’ Why I think I need to use French in describing a strictly American holiday, well, I blame the fact that I am channeling Julia Child.

Bright and early this morning, I awoke with dawn’s first blush, all excited to go start the preparations for our first, wonderful, stay-at-home Thanksgiving feast. The turkey breast was perfectly thawed in the refrigerator. Step one. Success!

I brought my little turkey breast out to “pat dry with paper towels and season.” As I set it out on a tray on the counter I SWEAR I heard the theme from jaws.

thanks groupDa dum.
Da dum.
Da-dum-da-dum-da-dum.

Rut Row.

And so they started circling. Their leader…the one with the incredible reach…nowhere in sight, but I could feel him lurking. Waiting. Watching for that one precious ‘distract the human with cute puppy antics’ opportunity.

OH HELL NO.

And THIS is why I will never score my own cooking show. Well, besides the issue about me not really having a clue what I’m doing in the kitchen.

I am fairly sure you cannot have a cooking show that involves lots of cussing, threats (albeit empty ones) to lurking canines, and the potential for including dog hair in the seasoning list. Nope, not even the dude on Hell’s Kitchen can rival my misuse of the English language and my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook on this day.

So now, the turkey breast, having been bathed in butter (because, like bacon, butter makes everything yummy) and properly seasoned (to the best of my knowledge), is tucked safely in our slow cooker (yes I am using a Crock-Pot to cook our turkey. Don’t judge. It’s going to be tender, juicy and wonderful. You will be BEGGING for my recipe which I can’t share because I kind of just tossed some random stuff in there that seemed like a good idea at 6:30 am).

thanks brookeAnd, in this lull between turkey prep and rest-of-the-stuff prep, I am sitting on a stool in the kitchen watching the Crock-Pot. Let’s change ‘watching’ to guarding. Yes, mimosa in hand (thank you Jim…again don’t judge…it’s made with orange juice therefore a perfectly logical beverage for 7:44 am on Thanksgiving morning) I am guarding my slow-cooking turkey breast.

Because you know they’re out there. Those little and not-so-little furry bastards are plotting. They are waiting for that one moment of distraction that will turn my perfect little Thanksgiving into a movie script that would most definitely include Chevy Chase in a starring role.

Thanks Kaine and CinderHuh. A movie script for a Thanksgiving story starring Chevy Chase and Kainan the wolf dog.

Might. Be. Worth. It.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Wish me luck either way.