“America’s Funniest Home Videos” was a favorite in my childhood home, popular with my parents for its relatively clean content and abundance of staged pitfalls and baseballs to the crotch. Every year, without fail the show would welcome the holiday season with a montage of videos featuring a naive young hostess, wowing her guests with a lovely, golden roasted turkey only to be called out for mistaking the gizzards for stuffing or failing to defrost the bird before baking.
Unwillingly to become another well-documented statistic and fail to perfectly accomplish number 15 on the list, I approached my first attempt at making an entire holiday meal with cautious precision and determination.
Now, even with a plan of attack firmly in place, I was nervous about the bird as turkey tends to be fairly temperamental and quick to dry up if not treated with tender love and care. So, before everything else, I made sure to take care of the following first:
Step number one – remove all gizzards.
Step number two – keep my mother close at hand in case of emergency.
With those two taken care of, the rest of the meal was a breeze. The side dishes were all well rehearsed family favorites, dishes I’ve made at least once a year since my mother let me play with the oven – mashed potatoes (with gravy), green bean casserole and mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. Throw in a few roles, set the table with a candle or two and – !BAM! – Thanksgiving Dinner.
When it was over and our bellies were full and I was basking in the glory-shine of a job well done, I was surprised at how simple the entire ordeal had been. No fights, nothing burnt, and, best of all, the turkey was golden, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious.
See the entire set, Mandy Cooks Thanksgiving Dinner, on Flickr.