December 1, 2011

Giblets have gristle?

First - thank you so much for the comments and positive thoughts for my father-in-law.  He's making progress (still in the hospital, though), and he knows there are tons of people out there rooting for him, so his spirits are up.  Pancreatic cancer is a scary motherfucker to deal with, though, so keep the good vibes coming!

Needless to say, our Thanksgiving this year was a little, um...different?  FIL was in the hospital, my brother didn't make it home, and my sister-in-law was having neurosurgery.  Yeah - that would be surgery on HER BRAIN.  She's fine - it was surgery to correct a severe facial twitch she's had for like, 7 years - but HOLY FUCKING CHRIST, you guys.

Also, since the normal chefs for the holiday were obviously out of commission, the cooking duties fell to those of us who had not recently been operated on.  I had to cook Thanksgiving.  I was officially freaking out for like 2 weeks.

We planned the menu and divided the food up.  I was in charge of the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and sweet potatoes - basically my husband's favorite part of Thanksgiving.  No pressure.  Also, he definitely didn't tell me a few thousand times before the 24th that if the potatoes and gravy were messed up, his turkey day would be ruined.  FUCK.

So what did I do, you ask?
I did what any good leader does and delegated the shit out of that shit.

Hey Saul?  Your favorite part of Thanksgiving is the mashed p's?  Then YOU make them!

Oh, and make them he did...13 g'damn pounds of them.  You think I'm joking.  Yeah...I'm 100% serious.  And they were delicious!

The gravy was awesome.  The sweet potatoes were a hit.  The

Ok, so I am a pretty decent cook.  I make stuff up on the fly.  I can follow a recipe and tweak it if I need to omit/substitute something due to Saul's sometimes weirdly picky palette.  I've never made stuffing before, so that was the dish I was sweating the most.  I got my MIL's recipe and followed it word for word.  The only part I thought was kind of odd was the line that specified "boiling the giblets and chopping them up very fine" to add to the dressing before baking, but I've obviously eaten the dressing she has made in years past and I loved it, so I did what it said.

Ok - I'd just like to again reiterate how I HAVE NEVER MADE DRESSING BEFORE.  I've also never worked with giblets/gizzards/livers/other internal turkey grossness.  We're clear on that, right?  NEVER EVER.

Ok, continue reading...

So I boil the contents of the little bag of yuck and pull them out to chop them up.  I was getting some help from a family friend who has done Thanksgiving cooking before, so I assumed she knew what the hell was going on.  Assumption 1, wrong.  As we are cutting them up, they just seem really tough.  I'm like, dang - these suckers are kind of rubbery!  And she's all, well, maybe they'll break down when they bake?  And I'm all, the recipe says to do it, so we do it!  We chopped them as small as we could get them and then added them to the pan.  Bake away, giblets, bake away.

Everything smelled wonderful and the whole family loaded their plates to eat.  We sat down and everyone commented on how great it all looked.  I ate a bite of turkey (YUM!), a bite of mashed potatoes and gravy (DIVINE!), and then dove into the stuffing.


It felt like I was eating turkey gum.  Turkey gum that never got softer, and never dissolved.  Y'all - it was NASTY.  I took a quick look around the table to see what everyone else's reaction was.  Thankfully, no one at the table said anything - I am pretty sure I would have died of embarrassment - but I noticed people kind of pushing the stuffing around.  I ate around the rubbery bits because the rest was legitimately good, but I was really disappointed that I had so fantastically fucked it up.

After dinner was over, I cornered my MIL and asked her what the hell I had done wrong.  She laughed and was all, you didn't cut the gristle out!  I was like, I did not know about the gristle.  Your recipe did not specify.

She handed me a glass of wine and told me Thanksgiving is about learning something new each year and taking it forward with you to the next.  I drank my whole glass in one gulp and told her I had learned that I am never ever EVER cooking the Thanksgiving meal again.


melifaif said...

You know....I do not understand why stuffing is such a biotch to make. We struggle every year....I always vote for the kind in a box. I am NOT a stuffing girl....hey! You live. You learn. If eat gristle. Ick. Bleck. survived. Glad all is looking up on the surgery/illness front. Cheers lady!

Little Ms. Fun said...

LOL!! I had to google giblet. Never even heard of it! I make my own stuffing and it's delicious...but it's vegetarian so idk how it would go well with your crowd.

Omg surgeries!! I'm keeping up with those good vibes. Girl, you got your hands full!!

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