Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Earning My Turkey Wings

I was in the 23rd year of my young life and a newlywed when my mother suggested it was my turn to host Thanksgiving dinner.  Although she and I can’t recall much about the actual dinner, it was a poignant moment when my mama bird pushed this baby bird out of the nest to get my hosting wings.  It must not have been too much of a disaster for this fledgling or I would have remembered that!  What I do know is that before I managed to pull the event off, I only thought I knew what I was doing in the kitchen.

Nature versus nurture?  There are times in my life when I inadvertently may say or do something that reminds me of one of my parents; it’s usually my mom.  It happens to me when I least expect it.  It may be the way I turn a phrase or physically react to a situation.  In this situation (hosting Thanksgiving dinner), I automatically go into organizational mode, just like my mom.  Is it because I observed it or is it part of my evolution?  Or am I taking as much care in return for the years of her doing it for me and my family?  I’m not sure, it just comes naturally to me.

What better event than Thanksgiving to learn the basic merits of Mis En Place, a French culinary term where everything is in its place for ease in food preparation.  My previous experience in Thanksgiving prep while growing up included making the pastry for pie, setting a lovely table, overseeing the condiments plate (many a disappearing olives may have occurred during my supervisory time….I claim complete ignorance of their fate) and doing the last minute stir on the gravy.  Mastering the planning, timing and execution of an entire dinner took much practice….years of practice.  I’ll admit that this baby bird still gets a tad nervous on timing and cooking everything properly.

As I plan for next hosting gig just days away, you can bet I’m in planning mode right now to compensate for my weaknesses.  My free-range Heritage turkey has been ordered and my guests who offered assistance have their assignments.  If nothing else because of my lack of practice preparing everything else, I can guarantee I will have a lovely place setting, the pastry will be perfectly flaky and there may be a missing olive or two. 
Shh...don't tell


  1. Oh Baby Bird, what memories you bring back to me. I loved those Thanksgiving dinners when I, too, took over the duties and had my mother in the background offering guidance or just outright making the gravy ("Don't throw out the potato water; you need it for the gravy.").

    You make me smile!

  2. I've just finished the whole series. Tex-Mex gets my vote. And I'd like to see more pix of John doing hard, physical labor.

    But I love it--keep it up!

  3. Many thanks for all the kind words. Olive hearing from you. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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