By Barb Stanley
Happy November! This blog post is a little different from most. If you are a personal Facebook friend of mine, then you may have read it before on my timeline last year. But don't worry, it's still just as funny the second time around, and if it's your first time reading it - then you are welcome. And I hope you enjoy this little reminder that sometimes being perfectly imperfect is the perfect thing to be.
(Last Thanksgiving my family was quarantined, so I was responsible for cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by myself...)
For those of you who were wondering how our first Thanksgiving where I had to cook went, well….
I made four Cornish hens. First, I spent a long time mushing herb butter under the skin of these tiny turkey look-a-likes and congratulating myself for how chef-like I was being. Then I placed two in oven bags in the oven and two in the Instant Pot, not because I forgot to check and see if I had a pan big enough for four hens - or if I had a pan period (no worries, I found a dented up cake pan), but because wouldn’t it be cool to see which method turned out best for the next time I decide to make fancy game hens because now I would become a fancy game hen type of person.
Then I set our table with an actual Thanksgiving table runner, no table cloth mind you, not because I don’t own a table cloth (ok, it was because I don’t own one) but still I was feeling great about my Martha Stewarting all over the place.
Then I realized that the oven had quit working, not because I may or may not or may have set the adjoining microwave on fire yesterday, but because well, probably because I set the microwave on fire. But it was fine, we still had those two hens crammed inside the Instant Pot to save Thanksgiving.
“I got this!” That’s what I kept telling myself as I watched thunderclouds of steam stream out of the top of the pressure cooker.
“Is there supposed to be water pouring out the back?” My husband, Brandon, asked, staring at the waterfall that was cascading onto the floor. Sopping the puddle up with a bath towel and unplugging the pot before a catastrophe, I realized I am not a fancy game hen person after all.
But it all turned out ok. Not because I found some magical Ree Drummond (is that right) Pioneer Lady recipe to resurrect underbaked fowl, but because my family knows me well. And Brandon was kind about the dinner disaster (oddly enough he didn’t look that surprised) and my son, Luke, had already brought home a “just in case” ham from his job at the grocery store. (I choose to believe that his intent was to complement our delicious fancy game hens with a ham side.) That’s what I am telling myself anyway, and I’m sticking to that no matter how many times he corrects me to say “No, it’s because of your cooking history.”
And so our first Thanksgiving at home was microwaved ham (nothing caught fire this time), and a few things that were made the day before, including this pie - which if you only looked at the picture makes it look like our Thanksgiving was perfect. Which in a weird, perfectly imperfect, way it was. We ended up having a nice, simple dinner, some good family time, and some memories we won’t soon forget.
And so as we get ready for this year's Thanksgiving holiday, remember this, sometimes what we should be most thankful for is that we don't have to be perfect, we can just be ourselves (even when we are not fancy game hen type of people). Here's hoping your Thanksgiving holiday this year turns out perfect too.