A Week of Thanksgiving
Nov. 27, 2012 7:12 pm
Updated: Dec. 6, 2012 5:45 am
It was a busy week of trying to catch up and, hopefully, get ahead of schedule so that our son could take the weekend off to celebrate Thanksgiving. He is a contractor, specifically trim carpentry, and he had conflicts in his schedule because of a rush job
that demanded pieces of his days- just pieces. When I offered my help, he readily accepted. I arrived at his Westerville, OH home late Saturday evening and went straight to bed to get as much sleep as possible.
He and I began the day at a very upscale home that had suffered fire damage. His company had five rooms to reconstruct from the drywall outward. Everything is custom, including the profiles of the millwork. Any mistake would be costly and time consuming. During
this work, he was called to the restaurant where he had constructed the inside motif, a southwest theme that leaned heavily to New Mexico.
At this restaurant I met the super nice couple that owned it and who were in the rush of final details before their opening on Wednesday afternoon. I was immediately reminded of the "Restaurant Impossible" rush to completion in each of the episodes. Unlike
Robert Irvine, this couple were the nicest and most pleasant people anyone could meet. They handled their people very well and could get the best effort from them just by a quiet voice and serious approach that was all business. It was in this mad rush that
I was introduced to their head chef who shared the nice approach to dealing with the help with the same success as his bosses. They gave my son the list of what they wanted done and said they would be adding to it as things happened that weren't in the plans.
Around 11:30n PM we able to leave. There were a couple of projects remaining, but we had to wait for the stores to open on Wednesday. We were told they would call when the pieces were there.
My son decided that we would spend Wednesday moving tools and equipment from a storage unit into a space he had just leased for a shop where he would build much of the custom work his customers demanded. That was a grueling job because of the weight, bulky
sizes and quantity he had in that unit. At his new space, he would be able to have much of it permanently set up and the rest would be readily available for use. We finished the move around three o'clock and went to his place to prepare for the holiday. We
hadn't been there a half hour when the restaurant called for us to complete their jobs.
This time, we were there for only a few hours and we could leave for the holiday.
When we returned my daughter in law had returned from her trip picking up the items that would complete the Thanksgiving menu and my wife had arrived with the parents of my daughter in law.
My son was the chef for Thanksgiving and right at the beginning of the day he barked his one standing order for the day, "Stay outside the kitchen. I don't need help unless I ask for it!" I had no problem with that. I would use the time to play with the granddaughter
and the dog as well as enjoy the company of my wife and friends.
The recipe my son picked for the turkey was different from any I had seen. The turkey was 12 lbs of organic goodness. He began the process on Wednesday when he brined the bird in a mix of one cup salt and two gallons of water for six hours and then refrigerated
it uncovered over night. (Which turned out to be ten hours.) This was to create a browned crispy skin. He then baked it at 300*, breast down until the thigh temp was 130* and then turned the bird on its back to cook until the thigh temp was 175* and the breast
temp was 165*. Then, the bird was to rest for 30 minutes before carving. When the bird came out, it was a dark golden brown. Perfection!
My daughter in law is of Italian descent so something Italian was required. She chose Ravioli. On Wednesday evening, she mad her own pasta and then ran the sheets through her Kitchen Aid Ravioli attachment. She made the filling and sauce from a four generation
recipe of her family. I was able to witness the process and found it fascinating.
She, also, prepared stuffing from a family recipe and her mother had brought cranberry salad from home. My wife had brought plenty of home made bread to last the remaining three days of the weekend. Those three items were the centerpices of the feast and were
adorned by a veggie plate and fruit tray. Her mother brought a pecan pie and my wife brought a pumpkin cream cheese pie. That was plenty for the seven of us. There was a semi dry Reisling for a drink.
My daughter in law prepared the dining table in a an autumn motif and used fine china, silver tableware and crystal for the service. It was beautiful and elegant.
Those two put on a day to be remembered for a lifetime!
On Friday, while "the girls" were shopping, my son, his father in law and I went to the shop and helped arrange tools and equipment on the shelving. A photograph was taken of each item for insurance records, also. When we left, the floor space had increased
dramatically. My son was a happy puppy.
Saturday was a totally kick-back day and Sunday morning the old folks piled into the car and headed back to Michigan.
When I was still growing up, my mother would fix a turkey and a ham for Thanksgiving. Her stuffing was the traditional sage stuffing. I haven't had a thanksgiving like that since I left home to enter The U.S. Air Force. I decided that I would make a meal for
my wife from the elements I was missing. Tonight I made the nostalgic entry into my past and baked a ham, traditional dressing and steamed sweet potatoes with dairy butter.
I did step away from traditional dressing, somewhat. The recipe was the same but I baked it in a muffin pan. We had seen the idea on Food Network and liked the thought of each serving having it's own delicious crust.
As the aromas of the ham and stuffing wafted their way through the house, memories of years long gone re-awakened and presented themselves to me. I was alone so I allowed myself to entertain those memories. Unfortunatly, when one entertains memories of the
past, all of the past is relived, including those tragic things that marred his life. Joy and sadness bring lost emotions to the surface to be dealt with again. I would do it again. It was an important effort to remember why I am where I am.
It was my second Thanksgiving of 2012.
Mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, sister, brother in law,, nephew, mother in law sister in law, cousins and many friends were all there.