If you have ever been to my home for a holiday meal, I have most likely had reason to apologize. There have been the broken dishes, the family arguments, the exploding casserole (I still have not understood the chemical reaction that caused that), the sounding of smoke alarms, of course the meals were always obscenely late, and there was that time that I nearly set the back deck on fire by sitting the burning pot on it. Silly me. The dream kitchen in New Orleans didn’t help. The professionally trained chef who married into my family in Atlanta did help…but only when he was available. My cooking has always been an adventure but those of you who have experienced it have laughed along with me and together we have made a lot of memories.
This year I have been faced with the tiniest, least equipped, and poorly functioning kitchen that I ever had to cook in. Add to that the necessity of boiling water, cleaning contamination off all fruits and vegetables, high altitude alterations to recipes, Kenyan substitutions for ingredients, converting Farenheit temperatures to Celcius, and I figured that my family might not ever eat again. We’ve gotten by and learned a lot along the way.
Then Thanksgiving arrived. I put my apron on (not really…it’s one thing I just about refuse to do) and started the preparations. We are talking everything from scratch. No cans. Nothing frozen. Granted there wasn’t a cranberry or celery stalk to be found in this part of the world but we pressed onward with acceptable alternatives. My five assistants asked for assignments and I doled them out. Sauté, roll dough, measure, stir, wash, mix, add, double, taste, season, bake, fry, and voila…the best damn holiday meal that I’ve ever produced and all on the table, warm, edible, at the same time, and on time. I could hardly stop laughing. I guess that I’ve gone native. We ate like kings and will have leftovers all weekend.
I realize that I shouldn’t brag but I just wanted to invite all of you over to eat. Bon appetite.