Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Leftovers Are Important

Three years ago I had an eight year-old and a two year-old, and a nine month-old who I was nursing. I had been back at work for six months at a job I really hated and my husband's family decided that we would be celebrating Thanksgiving at his sister's house--and frying the turkey!

I panicked.

Dinner at his sister's? Fried turkey? How would I get my fill of my mother's stuffing? What if they served cornbread dressing?!

And what about leftovers?!

I just knew my Thanksgiving was going to be a bust, but we were tied into the plans. So, I did what any other stressed-out, hormonal, sleep deprived woman would do. I went to the grocery store at 8:00 p.m. on the night before Thanksgiving and bought all of the makings for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Dammit! I was going to have leftovers.

Somehow I managed to find a fresh turkey, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, Pepperidge Farms dressing mix (just like mom's) and the ingredients for both apple and pumpkin pie.

As soon as I got home, I pulled out the giblets and boiled them up to ready them for the stuffing. I chopped them and mixed them in with the breadcrumbs and seasoning and stuffed that turkey. Warmed up the oven and shoved the whole mess in.

Then it was upstairs to nurse the little guy. As typically happened with the late evening feeding, I fell sound asleep next to the baby.

At 2:30 a.m. I woke up to the most delicious smell. And then I panicked! How long had the turkey been in the oven. Way longer than it was supposed to be. I was sure I was going to have a dried out bird.

I raced downstairs to find my turkey monitor sound asleep on the couch. Harumph! I sent him up to bed and peeked into the oven. Unbelievably, the turkey was perfect! So I set about peeling and boiling white and sweet potatoes. Mashing and stirring and seasoning to perfection. I cut shortening into flour for pie crusts and peeled apples and mixed pumpkin mush into pie filling. Sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes complete, pies baking and filling the house with even better smells and it was only 4:00 a.m.

So I started cleaning up after myself.

Stored the "leftovers" in the fridge, washed up the dishes and went to wipe down the counters. That's when I noticed the gunk around the edge of the sink. So I scrubbed and I pulled out an old toothbrush and I scrubbed some more. And then I worked on the faucet and the backsplash and then OH MY GOD HAVE YOU SEEN THE STOVE! The burners were filthy. I dug under the sink for the SOS pad and got to work. Fantastik and 409. SOS and a toothbrush.

Oh how that kitchen shined!

Pies were done, and I noticed I was getting a little tired. It was 6:00 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. We didn't have to be at my sister-in-laws until the afternoon, so I thought I might put my head down for a few minutes.

When I woke three hours later, I came downstairs to find a husband staring at me in disbelief.

And all I could say was, "I needed to have my mother's stuffing."

Turns out, it's my mother-in-law's stuffing too.

15 Deserve Mamma's Love:

Nancy said...

Since my kids father & I divorced when they were 4 & 7 ...tradition started he had them T/Giving, I had them Christmas.

They didn't like the fact they never had left-overs.

While they spent the day with their dad, I fixed a full dinner just so they could have left-overs, for the next few days.

At 19 & 22, we still do that =)

Anonymous said...

You found your turkey monitor fast asleep--hahaha!!

Oh what we do for tradition! I am impressed.

Blog Antagonist said...

You know...I never even thought about doing that. It's genius, sheer genius! Twenty years in the South eating cornbread dressing and all this time I could have just made my own. Sigh.

Lawyer Mama said...

Babe, this sooooo sounds like something I would do in a fit of nostalgia. Right down to scrubbing the sink with a toothbrush at 6am. And cornbread stuffing? Is not real stuffing. Mine has to be made with french bread and oysters. Just like my mom's.

Julie Pippert said...

You just described my exact feeling I went to bed with last night!! Except...I didn't act on it or anything by cooking or cleaning, well okay cleaning. I had to re-clean.

This is classic. I hope your family enjoyed all the great "leftovers."


Using My Words

Kim said...

Of course it is. :)

Happy Thanksgiving, Mamma!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Now, that was a great story.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired just thinking about it! What energy!

Happy Thankgiving!

SHA said...

The things we do....HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Anonymous said...

I'm exhausted just reading this story! Happy Thanksgiving!

Gunfighter said...


Cathy, Amy and Kristina said...

Oh, I felt the same year I was dating a British man and his mother came into town during Thanksgiving weekend. I FORCED them to go out to one of those hotel buffets just so I could have turkey and stuffing.

The Fritz Facts said...

That sounds like something I would do! I hate not having the leftovers, they are vital! Same with the pies...a must have.

Such a great story!

Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

I so understand!

My best friend from college and I never spend Thanksgiving together even though we live in the same town with no extended family here.

Neither one of us wants to share the cooking and we both want our own leftovers :)