Don't know about you, but I'm not going far this Thanksgiving. And by not going far, I mean less than a sixth of a mile, literally around the corner, via wagon and foot, to my mother's house for the big feast. It's one of the perks of living so close to my mom, we can travel to and fro via the Radio Flyer.
Of course, I won't be cooking the actual dinner, which should not surprise you at this point. For the last few years, my husband has wished aloud that I at least attempt to make a Thanksgiving dinner at our house, but I know better. He should know better. I'm not particularly good with kitchens and fires and explosions and Thanksgiving is not a meal you want to mess up. Why he would still even have such fantasies is beyond me. I guess it's one of those "wouldn't it be nice?" theories that ain't never gonna happen, buddy.
It's not like I just don't want to make my own Thanksgiving dinner (besides the fact that, well, I just don't want to), I have my good reasons. And I'm not even talking about my fear of touching a raw turkey which, come on people! far too closely resembles a naked baby. [shutter] Instead, take for example, Easter of 2003. We were invited to my grandparents house a few hours away for Easter dinner. Normally, we'd go. But this time, I thought I'd live up to my husband's foolish expectations and make our own Easter dinner at home. I was feeling all nesty being a whopping 10 weeks pregnant with what would be our second son, L-dub.
I had it all planned out. I was going to make a ham, mashed potatoes, green beans and crescent rolls. I had never even attempted to make a ham before, but hey, we were being optimistic, weren't we? Following my mom's "always make dessert" rule, I decided to go all out and make chocolate covered strawberries. I did all the research. I mean, screw the ham. If it didn't turn out, who cared? As long as the strawberries were covered in chocolate, we had food.
I didn't have a fondue set so I searched the internet for the best way to melt the chocolate. I found a website that showed me how to make a double-boiler out of two pots I already owned. Easy enough, I was ready. I put the baby down for a nap, my husband headed off to take a snooze of his own, and I set out to be mother and wife of the year, beginning by melting the chocolate in my homemade double-boiler.
The rest is very blurry. All I remember is trying desperately to scream OUT LOUD for help and nothing came out. My husband came running out of the bedroom and into the kitchen like there had been an explosion or something - and well, there had indeed been an explosion. Or something.
It seems making your own double-boiler is not just a no-no, but a STUPID, STUPID what-were-you-thinking?? type of idea. That is, according to the ER doctors who spent the next few hours replacing ice cold rags on my facial and arm burns every few seconds. My face covered in icy cloths, I remember saying over and over again, "I'm pregnant, I can't have pain medication. I'm pregnant. I'm 10 weeks pregnant. Don't give me anything. Damn it, IT B-U-R-N-S. GIVE ME SOMETHING!!!"
Since the Chocolate Explosion of 2003, I have not attempted a holiday dinner of my own. The thought of even trying makes me break out into a cold sweat and see hallucinations of our old ceiling where chocolate was splattered in unfathomable amounts, chunks of ceiling missing where one of the sauce pans hit, the shredded wooden spoon I had been holding suddenly in fifteen pieces on the floor and the dented cast iron pot teetering all wibbly wobbly on an opposite counter.
I wish I could say this was the only, uh, incident I've had in the kitchen but then I'd be lying. There's also the grease fire when L-dub was one week old. I had felt compelled to prove my ability to be a mother to two boys and still be able to put dinner on the table for my husband when he got home from work. Instead, I learned that a fire extinguisher is, apparently, quite messy. And not as easy to use as one might think. Oh, and I also learned that when I panic, I don't always use logic. In all my "oh crap, the house is going to burn down" thoughts, I forgot to call 9-1-1 and instead called my stepdad who frantically asked, "You already called 9-1-1, right???" Oops. I knew I was forgetting something...
By the way, my husband not only immediately replaced our used fire extinguisher with another, but also with, well, another. Ya know, just-in-case I get all domestic-y on him. (Not that he has to worry about that!) And I've since received an electric fondue set and a fountain fondue set from two sets of grandparents who love me and want to see me stay far, far away from the stove.
So this Thanksgiving, I'll be at my mom's, nice and safe from... myself. I'm in charge of the green bean casserole. And by in charge, I mean, I'm allowed to mix all the ingredients and put them in the dish, but someone more responsible will be actually cooking it in the oven. And that right there makes me feel like, well, I should get a gold star for my efforts.
Told you I'm not any good at this cooking stuff.