Confession: this is my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Ever.
I usually contribute a dish (or three) to family Thanksgivings and I've made my share of pumpkin pie. But I've never been responsible for the entire shebang. Cooking the whole bird? Nope.
Am I nervous? A little. I'll be cooking for Dan and his parents (visiting from Florida) at our house in Brooklyn. They are great people, and lovely in-laws, but I have a bit of an entertaining sore spot with them otherwise known as The Saga of the Lamb Chops.
The last time I made a proper sit-down dinner for them was over three years ago, and let's just say I was a little green. Long story short, dinner involved $100 worth of tiny lamb chops foolishly purchased from the neighborhood butcher. Extreme sticker shock. I had never spent $100 on ONE ITEM OF UNCOOKED FOOD in my life and probably never will again. "Don't overcook these," the butcher warned me in his thick Brooklyn accent. I nodded seriously and took home the little chops worth their weight in gold.
Back at home, I made a rosemary-white bean soup as a starter, and served the meat with salad and roasted onions. And we all cut into our lamb chops, which were, shall we say...pink. Blood started to pool on our plates. I felt a little faint.
Now, I don't mind a rare piece of meat. But someone (I won't name names) sent their dinner back to be recooked. Sent. It. Back. Trying to play it cool, I shakily collected everyone's chops, put them on a plate, and returned to the kitchen to stick them under the broiler, fretting about whose lamb chop was whose and whether anyone would be offended if they got a different one. It was horrible. Although funny in retrospect. And the soup wasn't half-bad.
I have made successful dinners for my in-laws since this disaster, but something about it still lingers in the back of my mind. Thanksgiving seems like the MOST important meal of the year to me and I dread screwing anything up. Like, God forbid, undercooking the turkey. Judy, Dan's mom, is a very good cook. The bar is high, people.
Did I mention that my birthday is on Thanksgiving Day this year? It is!
And so, dear readers, please give me your best advice as to how to tackle this beast of a holiday. What are your tricks, your secrets, your strategies to pulling it off? Mom, are you out there? Halp!
[Note to Judy and Larry: I'm totally joking about being freaked out! Well, sort of.]