Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let's Just Improvise On That

I have always enjoyed preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  Things have always gone smoothly and been fairly easy, even here in Honduras where I have no workspace and we have to improvise on ingredients sometimes.  That is, things have gone smoothly until this year.  I dropped things, spilled things, broke things, and made one mess after another.  And, we still served dinner only an hour late.

Normally, the kids get to come down and help cook, but a few bad decisions on the part of a few meant that no one could come into my house.  The kids still got to help with the things that could be done in the Casa kitchen or outside.

The cheese graters

The celery choppers

The onion choppers.  I was part of that group.
The potato peelers.

Since the kids were not coming to my house, Haley spent the night on Wednesday night and helped me prepare.  She was so excited that she began packing a whole week in advance.  Matt brought her to my house as soon as school was out and I could hear her running as fast as she could to my house.  She kept me laughing most of the time.

 I had been busy all day, but one of Haley's first jobs was to help knead the bread.

The bread rose, just as it should.

Hard at work

 Every good cook gets some flour on them.

Emmy got flour on her and she was not even cooking.  She tried to add sugar to something and flicked it into her eye instead of a bowl.  Emmy is a little mess.  All of the time.

At last, the bread is in the oven.

Haley called the oven mitts safety gloves and she wore them most of the night.

We were able to get a pecan pie and the apple cobbler done before Haley went to bed.  She said, "Grammy, if I were not here, you would be up all night.  Little did she know that I was up most of the night any way.

That was Wednesday.  Thursday is when the bumbling, dropping, spilling, breaking, and comedy of errors really began.

Haley was so excited about painting the turkey with butter.  We got that done and got the first turkey in the roaster.  Matt and Nicole arrived about 8:00.  Around 9:30, I asked if anyone could smell the turkey cooking.  Nicole said I smell so many good things, I can`t tell which is which.  I went to check.  Someone had accidentally unplugged the turkey roaster.  There was no way we were going to get two turkeys done on time. 

I painted the other turkey and seasoned it and got it ready.  Matt and Nicole took it to Richard and Yesenia's and put it in their oven.

We usually use Karen's oven for some of the food.  We realized quickly it was not going to be dependable.  It just would not heat.  It often has that problem.  That left a huge problem as how everything would get cooked. 

Matt just kept saying we would have to improvise.  And improvise we did. 

I did not have enough milk.  I did not enough chicken broth.  We did not have enough big pans.  We have always had enough  before.  No one here in Santa Ana carries much stock of anything.  Nicole bought two pulperias completely out of milk.  I used cubitos and made some chicken broth.  The green bean casserole was in two pans instead of one.  And, Matt improvised so well with the sweet potatoes that he almost caught Karen's kitchen on fire.  She came running down here saying look at me, look at me.  Her clothes were wet and she had marshmallows all over her.  She said this is my last sweat shirt because I had dog poop on the other one.  I did not ask, but I wondered how she got dog poop on her other sweat shirt.  Nicole jumped up and said I better go check on the other turkey, I don't want Richard's house to be on fire.  It wasn't, but it was funny that Nicole said such a thing. 

We spilled our way through the day.  I hate those little bags of milk.  We tried to clean as we went, but it did not seem as anything was getting clean.

Finally, things started to get done.

 That is a lot of macaroni and cheese.

When Emma gets hungry, she comes and gets a bowl.  She walks around saying Emma bowl.  She got a bowl and we fed her a little snack.  She carried her bowl, a rather large bowl at that, around for a couple of hours.  Right before everything was ready, she gave it up.

After doing such a good job carving the turkeys, Matt and Nicole got to move to the big table this year.

When the last dish was ready and carried up, we found every one was there.  And, everyone was hungry.

And those sweet potatoes look like they just had a little fire.

There was plenty of food, plenty of laughter and plenty of wind.

Even though things did not go as smoothly as I would have liked, we have so many blessings and many things for which we are thankful.  I enjoyed the day.

When I got back to my house, I was thinking a haz mat team might be in order, but Matt, Nicole and I worked to restore some order.  

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