Thursday, February 12, 2015

It's All Gravy

Cast of Characters:

Connor - Teething grandson
Chelsea and Kris -Tired parents of teething, grumpy baby Connor
Tom -  Patient husband
Josh - Fast thinking son
Sheila - Dear friend of 6+ decades

6:30 p.m. – after a recent family dinner...

Dear Sheila: 

I'm just sitting down now and before the wine wears off I have to share with you about our family dinner that we just had.   

Connor's mom and dad have been working hard, long hours, plus parenting an active, drooling teether.  I must have left the room at our last family gathering as I was nominated and voted in absentia as Sunday's chief turkey cook.

Yesterday I cooked up turkey giblets for the gravy while watching Game of Thrones, Red Wedding chapter. It's hot and gory stuff!  So hot and gory that I forgot about the pot of giblets on the stove until the house filled with stinking smoke.  I grabbed the offending giblet pot from the burner and stick handled it outside the kitchen door to put it on the back steps.  However, the steps are covered in shingles and the pot immediately melted into the tar and grit. 

After it cooled, I pried it out of the tar. Tom looked at the black crud, fused to the inside of the pot, and the tar on the bottom and told me to turf the whole thing.  But, I howled, "It was my mom's pot!"  Two hours later in the basement there was much muttering, scraping and grinding with some sort of fierce tool and Tom made the pot look decent. 

I was not going to let this little incendiary incident defeat my dinner plan. By then it was very late at night, but with no gravy making giblets I drove around and found a 24-hour grocery store.  I told them the sad tale about mom's pot.  At that hour they must have eviscerated an unlucky passing animal and they emerged from the back of the meat counter with a handful of fresh giblets - free. I went home and cooked them again, without needing to phone the fire department on speed dial.

Now, the turkey was one Tom won curling at a turkey shoot.  Well, this bird was shot for sure. It was missing a leg and a wing and lots of breast skin. Did it fly in circles?  Whatever, it was a freebee. I did a turkey dance, (a private little ritual inherited from my aunt Helen) stuffed the bird and put it in the oven.  The smell was amazing and even though somewhat lacking in extremities, the turkey looked pretty good. When it was done I heaved the brute out of the oven (18 lbs.) on to the top of my glass topped range and lifted it onto the platter. As usual, the family gathered round for the next step. 

I love making gravy and I'm good at it. It's one of my finer qualities. I cranked up the burner.  There was a lot of juicy gravy makings and I proceeded to stir the bits in the bottom of the roasting pan with the giblet liquid. I noticed an odd smell and moved the pan slightly aside from the burner. Huge flames shot up.  I slid the pan back over the flames. It seemed the thing to do. Josh dashed for the fire extinguisher and Chelsea grabbed the baking powder.  Everyone shrieked "not the gravy!" as Josh aimed for the pan.  But he backed off as Chelsea carefully aimed the powder as I slowly slid aside the pan (not mom's) ever so cleverly controlling the flames.  Fire out, Josh scraped the burnt, powdery mess from the stove and tossed it out the back door.  We rejoiced that the gravy had survived. It seems that I had left a silicone trivet on the burner to protect the glass top from the roasting pan. Yes, silicone can combust but it takes talent.

On to a glass of wine.  Sheila, by this time I really needed it.

At the table, Tom carved the turkey from the side with limbs and I sang a silent tune of joy that I hadn't managed to bugger up the yams, corn and beans.  The stuffing was a waist watchers nightmare. Simply glorious!  The gravy too! It had that flambĂ©, "je ne sais quoi" about it. Kris helped out by shaking the gravy jug at the table.  Next time we'll ensure the lid is on tight, however gravy seems to work with my tablecloth pattern.  Everyone got served and nobody missed the uncooked carrots still residing in the refrigerator.  I found out after dinner that some carrots did make it to the table.  Unfortunately they were the ones I used to make the giblet juice and apparently they tasted like...  oh I don't know what. 

In his high chair Connor was bouncing, waving his arms about, grunting and whinging for some reason or other. But he was dry. No "trouser treasures." He had his yams, tofu, cereal, apple juice and bottle, what else could he want?  Well Sheila - he wanted turkey!  Chelsea broke off wee bits for him and he gobbled the gobbler like a barbarian.  That was not enough so we gave him the drumstick. Then Kris knocked over a bottle of red.  I looked at the table.  There were bones on it - the large ones Connor tossed aside after gumming them. Red stains were blending into the gravy stains. Connor was covered in baby food goo and turkey bits. The carcass had lost what little glory it ever had. What to do? More red please!

At last the perfect, greasy grandson and his pooped out parents have gone home. Tom and Josh are cleaning up and tearing apart the remains of the carcass for storage. 

My heart is full.  With everything we have all gone through last year, I am so grateful to have had today.  How lucky am I to have such a marvellous crew messing up my table. I wouldn't trade this dinner for the finest dining anywhere, anytime. 

Sheila, how fortunate am I to have you in my life.  Thank you for listening dear friend.  

S...t.  I just realized I forgot to light the candles.  Probably a good thing.