I don't mean the turkey. It was perfect, all 21 pounds of it. Actually, all of the food was perfect except maybe the stuffing, which was tasty but a little bit dry. Nope, no family mishaps or uproar; my family is the best. My husband shopped, rearranged furniture, made pie, cleaned up after me. The kids ironed linens, set the table, peeled potatoes. And my friends: my friends saved the day.
No, “oops” because just as everybody was getting settled in and jolly, and I was about to enter the sprint for the finish that is the last hour of making Thanksgiving dinner, as I was chopping mirepoix for the brussels sprouts, being simultaneously tormented, entertained, and distracted by one of my hilarious friends, I very nearly severed the tip of my left pinky. Lucky me, I only got about halfway through.
I'll spare you the gruesome details, but it was likely ER material, though I was damned if I was going to abandon my guests and the dinner I put so much work into. So with Toby and Hilary playing doctor and nurse, and everyone else providing moral support, comfort, and therapeutic doses of liquor, the wound was elevated, iced, pressured, and eventually cleaned and bandaged, and dinner proceeded with barely a hitch.
Proceeded with barely a hitch because my friend Tom (another kitchen professional) jumped in and picked up where I lopped off, finishing the last of the prep, making the gravy, and expertly carving the bird.
Everybody pitched in, mashing potatoes, filling serving bowls, reheating sides, opening wine. Dinner itself was a riotous good time (they always are around here) followed by the obligatory pie frenzy. I highly recommend this Cardamom-Buttermilk Pie (the fluorescent one in the picture), a case study in Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: light, bright, tangy, and fragrant.
I have a long history of insisting on doing everything myself – I'm one part Control Freak and two parts Overachiever. I thought I was doing pretty well this week, even letting TJ make the pie crust and getting the kids involved in cleaning and set-up. But yesterday was a real lesson in letting go and trusting others (although my ego is lightly bruised today). Sometimes I just need a little Cosmic Smackdown.
So thank you, everyone who was here yesterday (even you, little Lily von Foufington!), especially my sweet handsome husband. And a special thank-you to Annie and Isabel, who are making tonight's dinner: beef stew and biscuits.
One last picture to share. My two beautiful stepdaughters – Annie on the left and Isabel on the right – with my dear friend Zoolander in the middle. I blame her for causing yesterday's tragedy just by being so damned funny.