Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Betty Freakin Crocker

The turkey roasting went so well that last night I decided, "What better to do on a snow day then bake a cake with the girls." So I told them we'd be baking Daddy's favorite cake -- yellow cake with chocolate frosting. From the other room Daddy mumbles something about his favorite cake being yellow cake with vanilla frosting and mommy should know that after 17 years of dating and ten years of marriage. But whatever, I digress. SO the baking got off to a great start. The kids washed their hands, took turns pouring in the water, oil, eggs. We were sharing and measuring and mixing, it was like Betty Crocker and mother-of-the-year together in one kitchen. Then came the only part I actually had to do without their help. Remove the two round 8 inchers from the oven and transport them to the cooling rack. The first half went smoothly and I had visions of my cake looking just like that picture on the cover of the Betty Crocker box. The second half, on the other hand, stuck in the pan (YES MOM, I greased it first). I had to shake rattle and pound this thing to dislodge it, which of course broke it into quite a few pieces. I still wasn't discouraged. I now had visions of using the frosting to repair the damage and get this thing all stuck back together - good as new. That plan shit the bed when I attempted to frost the top of the bad half, which was all crumbly, and made things worse. Then I broke the good half while transferring it onto the mountain of cake mess I had on the plate. I persevered and STILL thought I could manage to frost this sad excuse for a cake. I can't tell a lie, I thought of blaming it on the children. But truthfully, I think they could have done a better job. (and besides, they both would have ratted me out). They weren't thrilled when they saw the disaster on the counter (see photo) but the best part came when I placed the cake in front of them. Ava got hers first and she wrinkled up her face, which prompted mini-me (Maddy) to say in her sternest voice, "YOU EAT that RIGHT now." When Maddy got her cake she dove right in. (thatta girl!). Would love to write more, but I have to get ready for my job interview at Cake's For Occasions. Once they see this beauty, they are sure to be calling.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Me and Mr. T

Just when I thought the holiday season was officially over, and I had sat my fat ass down at every friend and family member's dinner table from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day....I had the bright idea to host one last Xmas party with some of my family that my Mom usually hosts at her house. This would have been fine if I had also decided to cook sauce and meatballs, or eggplant parm, or chicken ziti and broccoli (basically the three things I know how to make) or even order some food. But instead, I thought cooking a 22lb turkey would be a swell idea. Only problem was that I had never cooked one before.SO I gave myself a little pep talk first, reminding myself what a smart, capable woman I am...reasoning that I had been 8th grade valedictorian (even though there were only 13 graduates in my class), 1990 Teen Miss Chelsea (which I tied with someone and had to share the coveted title), I have a Master's Degree, and that I used to work as a United States Special Agent/Criminal Investigator. Roast a TURKEY? Piece of cake. So I had this bird (let's call him Mr. T) sitting in a shallow roasting pan defrosting in the basement fridge for 5 days. I have to wake up early to get this monster prepared and in the oven by 8 a.m.. The fun started right away when I took Mr. T out of the fridge and underneath the pan was a large gooey pink puddle....which of course dripped all over the fridge and left a trail all the way up the stairs and to the kitchen sink. I plopped Mr. T onto the pan roasting rack which I had in the sink. Now came the part that I dreaded - the real reason why I have never cooked one of these things before. Reaching in to take out the neck and the giblets. (gag). I was totally prepared for this job....I had several plastic bags from the supermarket. One to use as a glove over my hand while I reached in, and the others to triple-bag whatever the %^%$% I was about to remove from Mr. T. So I closed my eyes and went in for the kill. Only problem....I couldn't find anything. It felt pretty icy in there, so I thought maybe this bulging bag of guts was frozen somewhere inside there. I decided to prop Mr. T up and run some cold water right into his nasty neck hole (see photo). At this point, I have no choice but to call and ask my Mom for a turkey tutorial. At first she sounds completely annoyed at my apparent stupidity and inability to locate the guts-- like she may even want a refund for my college education. But by the end she is laughing her azz off and my father is in the background yelling, "I can't believe this, hasn't she ever cooked a turkey before?" My mother assures me that there HAS to be something in there, a neck, a bag with the organs, etc. At this point I knew I needed to get brave, lose the shopping bag mitt and check this mo-fo out once and for all. For this, I needed a flashlight, because I really couldn't see too well in there. (See flashlight in photo). Now, let me assure you, there was all kinds of nasty looking shit in there, but none of it was loose, and nothing was coming out - I was really tugging around in there. Then my mother drops a bomb on me. She tells me to check the other hole. This news leaves me speechless, but all kinds of bad words are circling in my head. WHAT other hole does Mr.T have!?!?!? I turn wet, slippery, 22lb Mr. T over and my mother tells me to lift up the skin flap. I throw-up in my mouth a little at this point. THE skin flap? This turkey butt had many many fatty skin folds, none of which I enjoyed peeking under. FINALLY I peel open the right one and find Mr. T's glove compartment and sure enough there is a little bag with a couple of dark colored organs in it. (gag). Never did find his neck, which I am actually very happy about, and I would like to thank whoever it was at the turkey farm that apparently forgot to stuff half of Mr.T's body parts back inside. I did get one last nice little surprise when I unhooked Mr. T's turkey legs from their little vice, and there was his little neck stump where they chopped his head off (complete with the chopped bones sticking right out of it). I tugged on this a little bit, just to make sure it was supposed to stay on there and it was on there pretty tight. Which brings me to my next point...if Mr. T were still alive he definitely would have called the police or a perhaps his therapist because there is no way around the fact that I had assaulted this putrid piece of poultry. One hour later, I had Mr. T safely in the oven under his tin-foil tent with two celery stalks and a quartered orange sticking out of his neck hole. The only other problem I encountered was nearly causing a grease fire while attempting to baste the turkey. Apparently I needed to squeeze the bulb a little more gently, as to not spray the entire oven with Mr. T's juices. Fast forward to dinner time, I actually cooked a perfectly edible turkey. Maybe some of my blog readers who were at my house today can vouch for me. And for the rest of you, if you have always driven your fat azz to someone else's house for Thanksgiving and never roasted your own turkey, you should be sending a thank you note to your hostess, cause that task is a bit more involved than I ever realized!

PS: If you look closely at the picture, in the background you'll see an "Icee Maker. " I guess Santa talks a lot of smack in his letters. (See Pen Pals with Santa post 11/16)