Sunday, November 16, 2008

What have I done.... WHAT have I DONE???


So I'm excited about Thanksgiving because we're spending it with Kurt's Mom and Dad.

They're coming to our house.

They're very sweet, gracious people.

Which is a good thing - because I can't cook to save my life.

Seriously.

Okay, I'm going to go ahead and go vulnerable here...

(gulp) I can't even cook a turkey (spoken in a small, shakey voice).

When I was in high school my friend Sherri and I made dinner for our boyfriends. We made cornish game hens.

We skinned them and washed them in the kitchen sink with dish soap because we were concerned about salmonella.

They turned gray when we cooked them.

So now maybe you'll take me seriously when I say I can't cook.

I don't have the faintest idea how to do any of it (except maybe for mashed potatoes - I make decent mashed potatoes once and they didn't even involve flakes or boxes).

What do I do? How do I do it? How do I time it all out so that everything is ready at the same time and it's nice and hot (not cold and nasty)? How do you make gravy? Did I even spell that right? What about the stuffing? I've always just made Stove Top - but I can't serve that to Kurt's parents (his mom's a really good cook...).

How do you people COOK?

I need HELP.

I beseech you....

Please. For pity's sake...

Help me.

I'm losing sleep over it.

I close my eyes at night and see stove fires, blackened turkeys, runny gravy, lumpy slimey stuffing, Kurt's dad doubled over at the table with a barf bag and Kurt's mom being whisked away in an ambulance.

Anxiety levels rising....

Panic attack is imminent...

Need for Xanax increasing...

I'm sorry that my blog has turned into a perpetual plea for help on one subject or another.

I just need lots of help.

25 comments:

Stacey said...

Hey! Have Kurt cook!!!

Anonymous said...

With my dad being out of town last year, I made the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Everyone raved that it was the best they had ever had! I was thinking today that I need to find the email that my friend sent me last year (with instructions) so that I can pull it off again this year. I will gladly forward it on to you (it was very simple). Brandi

PS, we do Stove Top : )

Diane Davis said...

1). I agree, have Kurt help LOTS. I hear BBQ turkeys are great. Sounds very southern california and the perfect job for the man of the house.

2). Your mother in law must know of your challenges in the kitchen, no? I'm sure she would be willing to help.

3). I love stove top! Call me trailer, but I like it better than the other stuff.

4). Good luck. Better you than me, my friend...

johnsonandjohnson said...

Dude....call my mom. She's amazing!

Rick said...

Heidi, This is Jan. I can't cook either. BUT, I can read instructions. Do you have a good, old fashioned cookbook (like Better Home & Gardens or Betty Crocker)? If not, let me know you can borrow one of mine. Also, buy as much as you can, pies especially!!!!

Brazenlilly said...

First of all, don't say "can't even cook a turkey" like that's one of the first things people learn. It's actually one of the last and it can be tricky! Good advice so far: delegate to hubby and even guests for side dishes, salads & such. Prepare in advance, buy ready-made or do something simple for rolls, desserts & whatever else you can. Then, when you have to dive in, just find a recipe and read it carefully and follow the directions! YOU CAN DO IT! (Plus, we want a play-by-play afterwards with pics.)

Kristi said...

Hey - Curtis and I spent one Thanksgiving parentless in Vegas with my BFF Jen Brazenlilly Bunch. We enjoyed a fabulous Albertsons Thanksgiving pre-cooked meal and made some tasty sides to go with it...

There ain't no shame in that.

And there...that is a comment for you. You are welcome.

The Unlikely Pastor's Wife said...

nobody really cooks.... It's all a conspiracy.
We all just buy it pre- made from the store and throw it in the oven to heat up and make the house smell yummy.

Connie said...

Heidi,
Rent the movie "Always"... it's a great movie and has an excellent instructional segment on how to prepare a fabulous, impressive meal ... Holly Hunter is better than Martha Stewart... she'll help you pull off a great Thanksgiving Meal and make you look like you've worked yourself to death doing it!! ... it's not a bad movie either... you might even have time to sit down and view it again after you've slaved away on the Thanksgiving Meal!! Enjoy.....
I'll help you any way I can.... I can cook - I just don't like to.... perk up the Stove Top with a little chopped onions and sage sauteed in butter... plan your menu - keep it simple - we can all pitch in and share "simple secrets" with you.... your organizational skills will make this a breeze!!! You can do anything-so this will be no big deal!!

Michelle said...

I agree with the above, Stovetop is fine. Throwing in some fresh-chopped onion is a great idea, I usually throw into it: a very finely chopped apple, some chunked-up Costco chicken or some turkey (save the rest for making gravy) and this year I am going to also add some dried cranberries.

I have several great fool-proof turkey recipes, one thing I almost always do is use a disposable pan and an oven bag. This year I am going to put lots of butter under the skin on the breast and cook the turkey upside down in 3-4 cups of chicken broth. It will get turned over the last 1/2 hour of cooking, and I will remove the bag at that time. Then, use the broth in the pan for the gravy. Just heat it to boiling, throw in the leftover Costco chicken not used in the stuffing, and add some cornstarch mixed with cold water until smooth. Stir constantly until it thickens. It may sound complicated, but it isn't. Good luck, contact me if you have any questions.

Or you could just go out for dinner.

Sorry about another book.

discomommy said...

HA HA HA! I am sorry to laugh but to me cooking is comical. I established early on that I do not cook. Thankfully neither do either of my mother-in-laws! (Or my mom's for that matter). If you never pretned like you can do it, you always have the excuse. If you pretended you could do it once to impress them...you are screwed for life sweetie!!!

discomommy said...

Oh, and there is no shame in spuds in a box. In college, every meal included Idaho Spuds and a can of corn. It is genius.

shana said...

i can't cook to save my life and wouldn't have any idea what to do with a turkey. fortunately, for me, kirb is a great cook! but, by my house the super target is selling everything you need for thanksgiving for 8 for like $69 or something . . . just a thought. it will be fine, don't be too stressed! hang in there!
shana

VikingMom said...

Well...I can teach you how to brine and cook the turkey. Wayyy easier than it sounds and turns out excellent everytime. As for the sides, you can start such things the day before to ease you through the big day.

Let me know if you need any help--I'm willing to instruct.

VikingMom said...

Is your oven still on the fritz?

edie said...

Heidi - Here are my tips. First,
you can do this. Really, as long as you have good, detailed instructions and a decent meat thermometer (add this to your list if you don't) the turkey is fairly easy. I would suggest going to cooksillustrated.com and join for a free trial membership. They have very detailed instructions and online videos that help immensely. Second, limit the number of sides. Seriously, there are usually WAY too many sides at Thanksgiving and most of them die a painful death in the fridge. Choose a side or two to make yourself and delegate the rest. Third, depending on your relationship with your mother-in-law, you might ask for her help. If she's a good cook she might love to help you. It could be a very bonding experience. Fourth, create a detailed plan beforehand. Plan what time the turkey will go in the oven, when the potatoes will be mashed, etc. It may seem unnecessary but this step helps alleviate so much stress for me. Lastly, like Kristi wrote there is no shame in buying a dinner, especially if the stress and anxiety will ruin your holiday.

But, I think you can do it and it appears you have lots of people willing to help. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl! Do a little planning for your own peace of mind. Have hubby help, if he can, and quit stressing. If they love you (and who wouldn't) they will be easy to please and not want you to get all crazy over a meal.

Kristi P said...

A few tips I learned.
1. Stove Top is way better than the nasty mushy stuffing that comes out of the cavity of the Turkey where it's guts used to be. That is just gross! Good suggestions about adding fresh stuff to it!
2. Use one of those Turkey bags. I did my very first Turkey using one and it turned out Awesome!.
3. Use the online links the other ladies gave you. It helped me figure out the cooking times for everything and gave me some creative spins on very common dishes.
4. Here is my recipe for cranberry sauce that is a winner even with those who don't like the stuff. It's yummy!

2 cans Ocean spray chunky cranberry sauce (not the jelly kind)
1 can Dole Manderin Oranges (drained)
1 half cup OR 3/4 of a cup of chopped pecan pieces (unsalted) Add the amount you think looks like enough and if you like a lot or a little nuts. You can buy them already chopped at Trader Joes.
Mix all together and serve in a pretty bowl. You can't go wrong with this dish! Good Luck. I am having Turkey Day at my house also and am reaching for the Xanax already. Can't wait to read BOTH of our blogs after it is all over!

Heidi said...

WOW! Who needs Rachel Ray when you've got a blog?

Thank you all VERY much for all the advice.

I feel better about things now. And if I panic, I'll just call Boston Market.

Thanks again everyone!!

Kurt said...

seriously - will you just stay the heck out of the kitchen? There are six other rooms in the house where you do just fine. I'll handle the kitchen.

VikingMom said...

Hey, if Kurt's banning you from the kitchen...I guess you can just poach the turkey in the jacuzzi bath tub. Just throw in some carrots, celery and onion and bubble away. :)

Heidi said...

Ummm, yeah.... see that won't work. Jack "dropped something off" in the tub again last night.

Sigh...

Noelle said...

Heidi, You don't know me but I love your blog, I read it almost as much as Laurel's! Seriously pick Laurel's brain and listen to whatever wisdom she chooses to impart she is a great cook! I learned to brine the turkey from her. Anyway, good luck!
Her sister Noelle

Stacey said...

Hey Heidi! Kurt told you to stay out of the kitchen....so STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN!!!! Good for you! I would suggest ordering pies from Marie Calender's. Always yummy. If you do decide to help...the best advice I can give is to do as much as possible the day before. I always chop my celery and onion etc. for my dressing the day before and put in double-ziplock bags (to prevent the fridge from smelling like onions). You can peel the tators the day before as long as they are completely covered with water. Also, I buy the throw away aluminum roaster pans to save on the pots and pans clean-up. Also get out all the pans, bowls etc. that you will be using. Have the table set a day or two before. Anything that saves you a few minutes on Thursday is a huge help. Good luck!!! I'll be looking forward to your after Thanksgiving day blog!

The Reverend's Lover said...

I can't cook a turkey iether!! Oh, the consolation. You remind me a lot of me.

I read your entire blog about a month ago (in one sitting) sorry I didn't introduce myself. "hi, I'm Erika and I stalk your blog too"

let's be friends :)