Cooking from scratch together

Turkey Day has just passed and we’re now fully in the holiday season.  We decided to start the season this year by hosting Thanksgiving dinner and making the turkey stuffing from scratch all by ourselves.

The process started a week or two prior to Thanksgiving.  I baked a few loaves of bread, sliced it up, put the pieces in a bowl on the counter, and waited for them to become stale.  Apparently, stale bread crust is key to good stuffing!  The day before Thanksgiving, preparations began in full.  Throughout the day, I chopped celery, onion, and parsley, and cooked pork sausage.  I think that made the daunting task of chopping the bread and mixing it all together much more manageable.  After dinner, Sean and I rolled up our sleeves for the final stuffing steps.

How does the stale bread actually end up tasting so yummy?  Sean soaked it in chicken broth, squeezed out the excess liquid, and added it to the celery, onion, parsley, and pork sausage.  I was in charge of the chopping bowl and chopped and mixed all the ingredients together.  Once it was ready, it was put into the refrigerator until we needed to stuff the turkey on Thanksgiving morning.

We woke up on Thanksgiving with a plan and timeline.  Sean was in charge of prepping the turkey, stuffing it, and getting it in the oven in time so that it would be ready to eat around 4pm.  The turkey got a good rinse, the neck was removed, and the stuffing was stuffed in.  Sean sewed it up, slathered it in butter, and covered it in cheesecloth to prevent burning.  (If you read through this list closely, you’ll notice that one small step was skipped, but we’ll address that shortly.)  While it cooked, we basted it, admired it, and enjoyed the turkey aroma throughout the house.

When the turkey was done, shortly after 4pm, Sean had the honor of carving it.  Of course, as he unstuffed the turkey and started carving, he started taste testing…and it tasted good!  As he continued carving, he ran across something that made him realize that he had missed a step earlier during the turkey preparation process.  Could he do anything about it now? No, not really.  Am I going to reveal here exactly what key step he forgot – no, but if you read closely above, and have cooked a turkey before, I’m sure you can figure out what step was omitted.  We determined that the turkey and stuffing was safe to eat and that the skipped step wouldn’t cause us a health issue.  (I actually just googled our issue and found that…if you accidently leave them in while cooking, the turkey isn’t ruined…it’s happened before and will happen again, so rest assured Butterball’s thought of that feature just in case you forget…)

At the end of the day, we all got a laugh and a belly full of good food – turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, monkey bread, jell-o, cranberry sauce, broccoli, apple pie, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, eggnog, bubbly grape juice, wine, and sparkling wine.  Sean and I handled it all with great team work.  Now we move on to the next holiday event, a dinner party for almost 30 people.  I think Sean and I can do it – I just need to come up with the menu!