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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, to those in the US; elsewhere, I hope your day is filled with blessings

When the details don't go as planned, remember that there are no holidays devoted to perfection.

Thanksgiving is a holiday of gratitude, for all of life's blessings, and the lessons learned in our failings.

Some of my personal "failures" from Thanksgivings (and other holidays) past:

  • the "turnip" pie. I cooked my pumpkin filling in the same pan that I had previously used for cooking mashed turnips. It was an aluminum pot which absorbs flavors and odors. The whole pie-eating experience was tainted with turnip overtones.
  • The Rancid Turkey Fat Disaster of 2011. It was late Thanksgiving night, when I was cleaning up the kitchen from our feast. I had a tall, narrow container of turkey fat/liquid sitting on the counter, with a long spoon in the jar. I reached over to get something, and knocked the whole container over, spilling onto the counter, into a partially opened drawer, all over me and onto the floor. I used every rag in the house to clean it up, along with a couple of bath towels. I threw the whole mess into the laundry room, and added my turkey fat-soaked clothes. I forgot to deal with this until early the next week, when everything smelled like rancid turkey fat. I ran a load of wash, adding additional clothing to the load. After washing, everything in that load smelled like rancid fat. I rewashed everything 3 or 4 times, on hot, with extra detergent. Many items came clean enough, but one sweatshirt and one t-shirt never came clean of rancid turkey fat. I wound up throwing those two items out, as I couldn't wear them without detecting the faint odor of rancidity.
  • the too-tough-to-cut-with-a-knife pork roast that I served to my son's girlfriend's parents, for son's GF graduation. I had one opportunity to impress my son's girlfriend's parents -- this one dinner. They live in Shanghai, so it's not like I can invite them for a do-over. I planned this menu very carefully. I really did work hard this day, trying to make everything perfect. But I am lousy with cooking meat. That's just me. I have a good thermometer. I just have bad timing. The pork roast came out so tough, I cringed as I watched our guests work at cutting it into bites, then work further at chewing it all. In the end, they did say that they liked approved of our son, as a BF to their daughter. So, I don't think we ruined his future with them. Maybe I'll get a do-over another year.
  • the gravy with more lumps than liquid. I was newly married, and invited my grandparents over to dinner. I made a roast with gravy. I had only made gravy a couple of times before this occasion. My gravy, literally had more volume in lumps than liquid. My grandmother came to my rescue, however. She asked if I owned a sieve (mesh strainer). I got it out, and she showed me that I could push the gravy through the mesh, and make something almost respectable, for gravy. Fortunately, we do get better with experience, and my gravy has improved over the years. (hint: if your gravy looks insipid and pale, use soy sauce to add some flavor and color to the gravy.)
  • scorched mash potatoes, burnt green beans, cold coffee served to guests, and more blunders, yet we survived. Holidays are not about perfection, but about celebration. Have a happy holiday, no matter what goes wrong!


  1. Great post, Lili! Hope your holiday is lovely! :) Sara

  2. Sage advice, as always. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours, Lili! Melissa

  3. I've also had my share of blunders so I can appreciate yours! Have a lovely Thanksgiving Lili!

  4. Oh, my. Rancid turkey fat! That must have been horrible, but it makes a good story years later. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thank you! And happy Thanksgiving weekend to you and your family!

  5. Oh dear, I had to chuckle as I read these -- but just know you're hardly alone! I distinctly remember one particular kitchen mishap when I was mixing up a batch of pumpkin pie filling on my counter. I reached into my over-crowded cabinet above to grab some spice, clumsily knocking over a container of granulated garlic, which tipped into my mixing bowl underneath, knocking the lid off and dumpling its contents into my filling, oy! I scraped it all out as best I could. I didn't mention it to anyone, and no one said anything -- but I'm positive I could definitely taste an undertone of garlic in my pumpkin pie!

    Another mishap was my husband's. Way early in our marriage, he thought he'd try baking bread. He used a recipe from a book that made a big batch, reducing the ingredient measurements in his head as to only make one loaf. Apparently he reduced the ratios of all the ingredients, except for the salt. The loaf looked and smelled great -- it was just so incredibly salty it wasn't edible. Still, we tried --I made a bland, unsalted soup to go with it for dinner thinking that might help. We managed to choke down a few salty bites. Then we both woke up a few hours after going to bed that night to run to the kitchen to guzzle down water at midnight because we woke up so thirsty, lol! And in 25 years of marriage I can't remember him ever trying to make bread again!

    1. Hi Patience,
      Oh no! I can just imagine a garlic-tainted pumpkin pie! And my first attempt at homemade bread wasn't much better than your husband's. I didn't really believe that I had to knead the dough! I made a wheat brick. Oh the memories.

      Have a great day, Patience!


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