Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Thanksgiving: Turkey. Friday: Vietnamese

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Dear Kay,
Let’s just say that there’s still a half gallon of gravy in the refrigerator. We seriously overshot the gravy requirement.
There are seven extra people staying at our house, which is great. This place is like a kibbutz. It completely maxes out the accomodations here, but having eleven people in a house makes for things that don’t otherwise happen.
1. Food. Somebody’s always fixing a meal in the kitchen. You can go in the kitchen at any time, and somebody will have a concept for food going, and you can just pile on. Grilled turkey panini with tapenade? I am IN.
2. Shoes. There are so many shoes and jackets all over the place that if you want to go outside, you just grab some shoes and a jacket, and they’re likely to fit.
3. The endless playgroup. There are four boys here between the ages of four and eleven, plus one two-year-old girl. This may be the perfect permutation of small humans, because the boy clump shifts and mixes, and just when they start to gnaw on each other too much, the girl wanders in and is so uniformly charming that whatever head-butting is going on stops instantly. She has this effect on adults too. The charm offensive. She is brutal yet effective in laying on the cute. Mercilessly cute.
4. The mysterious dishwasher. Somebody in the family is washing dishes and putting them away. I have a suspicion about who it is. She thinks I don’t notice this.
5. Guitar Hero III. There’s a lot of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” coming out of the TV these days. The Wii has this game where you have a plastic guitar and you play every single terrible song you ever heard growing up. I was told that I should start with “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” because it’s, like, stupid easy.
6. Staying up late and talking. Last night we were all talking while yawning, yet we kept talking. It was like a game of chicken; nobody wanted to be the one to cave. We may have actually talked while sleeping, I don’t really know.
7. Election predictions. At dinner last night, which included a dozen more cousins imported from all over the country, we all made our predictions for the 2008 presidential election. We put them in a time capsule (aka a Ziploc bag to be placed a frankly sort of insecure and disclosed location) to be opened next Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to see who wins. I am insanely interested in the upcoming election, and I think we all should be. These are tangled times, and there are stark choices among the candidates.
8. Achievement in carving. The day before Thanksgiving I noticed that the most-emailed article in the New York Times was a video of a butcher in New York explaining how to get the most meat out of your turkey. This was a weirdly moving video for me–I can’t really explain it except that the guy is so clearly a genius at carving meat. He was so matter of fact about his profession, yet so good at it. He said that he thinks about carving a turkey as a butcher does, not a chef. The goal is to get the most meat possible from the bird. So I figured, we have two turkeys this year, so if I totally botch one, I get a second chance.
Vegetarians may not want to see this, but here’s how it went.
It worked, people. This 15-pound bird yielded 14.8 pounds of turkeyish goodness. Pretty much. OK, I’m exaggerating. But if you’re getting a bird for the holidays, here’s your ticket to a whole new way to carve.
9. Knitting. Feeling very tiny about knitting, very back to basics as I make squares for Oliver’s Blanket. I carry them around in my purse, a tiny ball of yarn and a pair of needles. I’m using the littlest leftover balls of sock yarn I can find, spit-felting these scraps together. It’s such a simple thing to do; I like thinking about all the squares being made for this blanket, and how it’s going to look when it’s all assembled.
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10. Family as destiny. I actually caught myself saying what my grandmother would say to us within an hour of our arrival at her house in Selma: “When you coming back to see me?” I said this. To family members who were standing right in front of me. AAAAAACK! They aren’t coming back: they are actually here, this minute!
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Wishing you all a great nap sometime this weekend. I gotta go figure out how to make a gravy smoothie. Or something.
Love,
Ann

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. A new tradition, Ann’s recap of the holiday! Love your platter of bird…nothing more Pilgrimmy than good old fashioned turkey with an iPod sitting nearby! Ah, I love how old fashioned and ancient, yet space-agey we all are! I took pictures of my pies with my camera phone for gosh-sakes! For us my gramma would complain that we never come to visit and in an hour couldn’t wait for us to all leave! Happy Holidays!

  2. This is the best Turkey Day post. Ever. I loved it. That gravy thing, though? I have never, ever overshot the gravy requirement, probably because we are serious gravy eaters here. No such thing as too much gravy.

  3. I’m counting down to my nap in about…22 minutes.

  4. Ann, reassuring to hear your g’ma’s words, as my dad would always say to me upon my arrival, “when are you leaving?” He wanted to know how long I was staying, but he never put it that way! The girls & Brotherman & I went out for a buffet Thursday. We’re a bittersweet little palm of family . . . XXO

  5. Well, god bless grandma; she sure loved you all!
    As for gravy: I “overshot” the requirements when, at age15, I made my first Thanksgiving dinner. 15 cups of “gravy”–which somehow looked like turkey broth–for three people. And we didn’t eat till 9:00 p.m., ‘cos I was trying to make the gravy. Since then, it’s been CRANBERRY SAUCE ALL THE WAY!!!!!

  6. Well, god bless grandma; she sure loved you all!
    As for gravy: I “overshot” the requirements when, at age15, I made my first Thanksgiving dinner. 15 cups of “gravy”–which somehow looked like turkey broth–for three people. And we didn’t eat till 9:00 p.m., ‘cos I was trying to make the gravy. Since then, it’s been CRANBERRY SAUCE ALL THE WAY!!!!!

  7. You can *never* overshoot the gravy requirement because gravy freezes well. (Really!) Just dump the frozen gravy into a double boiler, add a tablespoon of water, and warm it up slooooowly. If it separates, give it a good whisk while it’s warming. Mmmmmm, gravy.

  8. What is it with half-inch slices of turkey or roast beef or whatever?! that’s gross! I like nice thin pieces – not overwhelming, not thick and gummy, just right. x.X

  9. That’s a great carved turkey! :) (And the thought of turkey panini with tapenade is making me hungry…)

  10. That post almost makes me like Thanksgiving. I think our Thanksgivings need more people, especially cute two year olds. And more games. We’re all old and stodgy in my family now.
    There now, I’m giving thanks for your post. And your blog. And your book…soon to be books.
    Thank you.

  11. Baking powder biscuits and gravy! Rice and gravy! Please please please mail some to me in Oregon. Just kidding! LOL

  12. A gravy smoothie. . . . Why not combine the gravy with leftover mashed potatoes, thin with a bit of turkey or chicken broth, and call it a smoothie? Yeah, it’s a soup, but serve it in cups and the kids will think it’s cool. Or not. And you can add chunky bits of leftovers too, if you like. A warm and creamy soup sounds darned good on a chilly Saturday afternoon!

  13. Might I borrow the mysterious dishwasher person??? Just for a while, maybe? It would make my day! :O) Happy leftovers! samm

  14. My family always favored the gnaw-any-leftover-scraps-off-the-bone approach to turkey carving. Back in the day when I actually ate meat, I happily joined in.
    This upcoming election year promises to be *very* interesting.

  15. I loved your book and I’m sure I’d love your blog but cheesh! the typeface is so tiny (at least on my little Mac laptop) I’m gittin’ a friggin headache trying to read it. Can’t you two type bigger??!

  16. the gravy works wonders in the turkey soup you make with the carcass — that is what I am doing tomorrow. ;)

  17. Sounds like the very best kind of holiday. I’m so glad.

  18. You slay me…..with gravy. I can’t stop laughing at the idea of a gravy smoothie. (could be good) But all those people before me said it: Freeze that stuff!
    And you are spit-felting sock yarn? That’s better than making gravy smoothies. All the sock yarn I’ve met is superwash and doesn’t felt. Well, okay, I do realize that some is NOT superwash. Nevah mind.
    (To the person asking for bigger font: Can a MAC laptop not make the print bigger by the equivalent of CRTL+ on the PCs?)
    Gravy. Smoothie.

  19. The best, nay, the only way to use up pots of gravy is poutine! Fries with squeaky cheese curds and lots of hot gravy poured over it. Heart attack in a bowl and perfect antidote for fighting boys and omnipresent cuteness.

  20. Tried Kay’s Corn Souffle for dinner tonight. It was confirmed as a “do again” at our house. Thanks Kay!

  21. lovely posting
    i have a zoom button on this machine
    makes print and pictures as large
    as i need see if you have one mines
    on the right hand corner
    thank you for shareing ann

  22. I sat here tonight, Sunday, and told my dear Japanese husband, that on this, my 11+ something year in Japan, that I love him dearly and am grateful for our life together. And for that reason, I am still here in Japan. But it is holiday time, that for me, is the most difficult. It is the tears in my eyes each day as I view through cable TV and the internet, the holiday season from afar. Enjoy each moment with your family. You are truly blessed. Rhonda from Chicago at heart, homesick…again

  23. Loved the Thanksgiving recap. What a wonderful time. But I think you should pass on the gravy smoothie……

  24. where’s the part about Vietnamese?

  25. one thing you could use your gravey for is what my family calls turkey gravey. You heat up the gravy put some chunks of turkey in it and serve it over potatoes or white rice. My parent’s even freeze gravy and use it later on in the year for this.

  26. one thing you could use your gravey for is what my family calls turkey gravey. You heat up the gravy put some chunks of turkey in it and serve it over potatoes or white rice. My parent’s even freeze gravy and use it later on in the year for this.

  27. I find the text tiny, too, but in Firefox you can go to “view” then “text size” then “increase.” I just have to remember to decrease again before doing sudoku….

  28. We spent Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house. There were 12 of us, family and friends, and with this being the first big holiday event since my FIL passed away, she asked my husband to say the blessing at the Thanksgiving dinner. His blessing started out, “Thank you, Lord, for the food, and I pray that you will bless everyone as they travel home….” This may well be the first time in my life, I have ever snickered during a blessing.

  29. Grandma always tells us at Easter how sad she is that she doesn’t get to see any of us from Thanksgiving to Easter time. I quit taking the old lady’s guilt a few years ago and told her “I am not the one who goes to Florida every year!”

  30. About those squares — please tell me that yours are not falling off your needles in such utter, flat, geometric perfection? Surely you’ve processed them in some way? ‘Cause mine look like that now, but they sure didn’t used to. [Fine syntax there, eh?]
    Note to Kay: does it look like you’ll have all the squares you need by the November 30 deadline? Or should I keep seeking out the sock yarn leftovers?

  31. Guitar Hero (all of them) look like a lot of fun, but I just don’t have the gumption to play in front of people.
    I love all of the horrible music from the 80s. So much fun.

  32. Gravy on french fries…mmmm… with melted cheese… mmmm… Yah, just a health food FANATIC up here.
    Everyone in my household is jonesing for pizza or mexican, as we had a 22 pounder for the 12 of us. But the gravy’s already gone.
    And, uh, how many blankets is this Kay going to be making? Or will it be a double-layered king-size? Because, wow. You’re cranking that stuff out, and that tiny-square-with-tiny-yarn action is addictive – I added 5 to her stash this morning and I already have one more and another on the needles. And she’s got a pile already, from the looks of her last post. I can’t wait for the playing with arranging them pictures – I think there will be many many possibilities.

  33. We also used that NYT butchering article and my brother in law David who always “carves” the turkey said it was the greatest! I also took a nap – even if it wasn’t til Sunday when everyone left. It really is a nice holiday though, isn’t it? The squares are looking beautiful.