Monday, December 22, 2008

Adventures in Christmas cooking

I bought a turkey this week to roast up for Christmas dinner for all us orphans stranded in Shanghai for the holidays. I am praying that I don't have another repeat of the India incident - I'm not sure I could handle that again. (For those who didn't have the pleasure of hearing this story the first time around... I picked my frozen-solid bird up at the butcher with head, feet and innards intact. I didn't realize the innards were still there until about 1 am the night before the bird was supposed to go in the oven. I spent the next three hours elbow deep up a turkey's ass trying to wrangle his organs loose from the walls of his body cavity. Then an additional hour removing the rest of the feathers with a pair of pliers. I heard rumors that the turkey was delicious, but I couldn't bring myself to eat any of it, as we had been just a little too intimate.) Anway, I have hope this year, as this bird came wrapped in plastic with no signs of additional appendages. I won't know for sure, however, until his little butt flap of skin thaws and I can do a little spelunking in search of the giblets. If they are still attached on the inside, then I am forever giving up turkey-roasting. Not kidding.

I've already started cooking for the feast. At the moment I'm waiting for the first batch of cornbread for the dressing to come out of the oven. I'll make one more before I go to bed. This is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving/Christmas dinners. The dressing. None of this white bread stuffing crap for me. It's all about day old cornbread, tons of celery and onions, lots of sage, salt and pepper... mmm. I'm making lots of extra so I can freeze a little for the rest of the year.

Tomorrow night will be for making pies and the dressing, and then I'll take a half-day off on Wednesday to cook the bird. We've got about 10 people coming over for dinner and I can't wait. We managed to finagle Thursday and Friday off work, even though they aren't Chinese holidays. I guess since the entire team threatened to call in sick, they decided to make a little concession for us. Aw. Isn't that nice?

I have also been knitting up a storm, finishing a baby blanket for Mama Mia's little one, two Christmas tree hats for my nephews, and a couple of other secret projects that I probably won't get mailed out until after the New Year... but it's the thought that counts!!

And on a completely different note.. I have posted photos of my trip up Kilimanjaro here, but have yet to write anything about it. The whole experience was so intense and challenging and excrutiatingly personal that I'm not sure I could ever do it justice in words. I hope you'll enjoy the imagery though. It's pretty amazing how the scenery changed from day to day - from rain forest to desert plains to moonscape. Simply beautiful. *sigh*

Anyway, I've got to go get the cornbread out of the oven. I wish the Merriest of Merries to you and all your loved ones. Ho ho ho!

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