Go ahead, keep laughing.
I was left up to my own devices yet again and needed a diversion from the tedious work before me and the maddening thoughts thundering around in my head. I was feeling Thanksgiving today, and since some of our culinary odds and ends made it up here with us, I decided to act on it. Happy Fake Thanksgiving, everyone!
What I had: Canned cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, canned green beans, canned mushroom soup, instant mashed potatoes, pie crusts, some other stuff…
What I needed: Fried onions for the green bean and mushroom soup casserole I’m obviously making, and a turkey. Duh. Little did I know, there was more…
I normally shop at the Food Emporium just a block down from me, but I’ve been meaning to try out some other stores that are near here. (Near = Less than four blocks away. I should just go to Trader Joe’s, which I love, but that’s all the way on 15th and I didn’t want to deal with that rif-raf today.) So, I took a walk up to 52nd just for the hell of it (even though I could have walked to Trader Joe’s) and looped back around to end up at D’Agostino, which I call “Dag Yo.”
Dag Yo had my little turkey bits and also the fried onions I like, which surprised me. Not surprising though, were their comparatively high prices for everything. I had thought that my move to NY would be similar to my move to the Bay Area, where I shopped at the Safeway for a month until I found out that lots of stuff was way cheaper at Albertson’s, no such luck here. I also don’t like how Dag Yo has deals where you need to have earned so many points on your Dag Yo card to get the discount. You should be able to get every discount just by having a card, I think. Anyway, I wasn’t digging the Dag Yo vibe, so I bought my stuff and left.
When I got home, I was hungry, so I made some instant mashed potatoes. Anticipating my bout with braces, I bought more boxes of instant mashed potatoes than any one person could eat in a lifetime. Potatoes are no match for ice cream, so I made my first batch of potatoes today. They provided sustinance, but were kinda dry. I normally wouldn’t care, and Gus rarely complains about the food I make (only because he’s very, very patient), but I decided to get some gravy. It’s Fake Thanksgiving Day, I shouldn’t half-ass it.
I also happened to notice that my can of pumpkin was not pie filling. It was just pumpkin. What the hell? There’s a picture of a pie on the front of it. All the stuff that goes into the pie should be in the can! Luckily, there was a recipe on the back, so all hope was not lost. The recipe called for cinnamon, which I had three or four half-full (half-empty?) bottles of, and some other annoying spices which normal people don’t have just lying around, like cloves and ginger. I also needed condensed milk for this, so I photocopied the writing on the can into my brain and walked to the Food Emporium.
As most people know, I am hopelessly addicted to ice cream, and thought about getting some to go with the pie. On this fateful Fake Thanksgiving Day, I saw numbers that I’ve never seen in an ice cream aisle before. No wonder every girl in this city is a size two; ice cream costs an arm, a leg, and three dress sizes here. Bah, the pie will be okay alone, forget it.
That’s actually more of an assumption than an assertion, as I had decided to forego the half-teaspoon of cloves and ginger. Cloves are too expensive and too much ginger once ruined an entire Saturday night for me. I like cinnamon and had a lot of it, so I ended up using all of what was left of one container.
When I got back, I set everything out to make the pie. Bloody fuck. I need a tin for this thing. I seriously considered trying to make it in a frying pan before I gave up and went to Gristedes, which I call “Grizzly’s.” Grizzly’s is just a block past the Food Emporium, which I didn’t want to return to because I was just there. I also wasn’t sure if Food Emporium would have the tins because it’s kinda small.
Grizzly’s had the pie tins. Let me break for a moment before I go on.
You can probably already tell that I’m somewhat of a cheap bastard, but here’s the part where I get Just-Moved-to-New-York Syndrome: FIVE BUCKS for a set of pie tins? What the fuck?? In Austin, I could go to Wal-Mart and buy TWO PIES for that price! Why do they need to sell these things in sets anyway?? I just want one! ONE for the ONE time in a several-year time span that I am going bake a pie. NO ONE in New York is going to bake six pies. No one!!! I might as well throw away or find other uses for the stuff I have to make this pie and just buy a damn pie because it will be more cost-effective than trying to make one! Arggghhhh!
Okay, I’m done.
I grabbed the tins and headed over to the spice aisle to see if I could find some cheaper/smaller portions of the spices the recipe called for. Nope. I just stood there, holding my over-priced pie tin for awhile.
Who am I kidding? This pie is going to taste like crap, so I need to get some ice cream to go with it. Once again, ice cream is insanely over-priced. This time, it doesn’t matter.
Finally, I have all the shit I need to make my pie. The box says it makes two pie crusts, or one covered pie. I opted for the covered pie, but didn’t have enough “cover” for the entire thing, so I built a little wall around the outside for extra crusty goodness. Somehow I ended up with more filling than necessary and it leaked over the walls and onto the oven. Gross. The fact that I had to move two giant beer mugs out of the way to get to the sugar and that I mixed my dry ingredients in a tumbler should have been two clues that things weren’t going to go right.
I should have said more about those little fried onions because I was munching on them all day. With half a can safely lodged in one of my arteries, I had just enough for the green bean and mushroom soup casserole. That went pretty well, I think.
Now for the turkey. Everyone makes big turkeys, but I just had two pounds of turkey meat. I didn’t know how long or at what temperature you should cook a turkey, so I turned to the intarwebs for some help. It turns out the turkey is supposed to be 180 degrees. The turkey, not the oven.
I originally stuck the turkey in after the pie, which was baking at 325. After about 10 minutes, I was like “Oops” and turned the oven down to 180. After about 30 minutes, I was like “This should be done,” but it wasn’t. The oven was actually at the correct temperature to begin with. I hate when I mess up once, but when I mess up twice, I’m 100 times madder at myself.
Anyway, I caught my mistake before Gus got home and Fake Thanksgiving Day was a success. When I look at all the stuff I made, it seemed like a lot of work for something that I could easily pay someone else to deliver to me. I can’t believe wives in nuclear families did/do this kind of shit on a daily basis. I left out a lot of parts to this story, but this dinner took a really long time. And sadly, it’s the biggest project outside of work that I’ve undertaken and completed in awhile. I think it’s time to cut all my hair off, go shopping, and start hallucinating like a normal New York wifey-poo. (Devil’s Advocate)