There’s no stopping it. The hounds have been released. The holidays are upon us. I mowed the lawn real short, threw down some grass seeds and spread out a nice layer of steer manure as the boys came home from school bearing art & crafts projects with Thanksgiving motifs. They yell, “Eeewwww, what’s that smell.” I say, “It’s cow poop, it’s a natural. Just stay off the lawn for a few days.” I think to myself, Â yeah, good luck with that dad.
It’s Thanksgiving already. Debbie is in the kitchen making her 6th or 7th persimmon pudding of the season, a couple of the boys are playing MilleÂ Bornes in our bed, Theo is writing a tell all expose of the Catanzaros, Sam is still asleep and Ollie, Simon and I are going to Temescal Canyon to collect oak bark to smoke the turkeys.
There’s always a fight for the wings, soÂ this year we’re barbecuing 2 turkeys. That’s four wings. After massaging the birds I placed fresh sage, oregano and rosemary under theÂ loosened skin. Â The two 10 pound birds have been sitting in a kosher salt and aux Poivre pepper blendÂ rub for threeÂ in the fridge.
Cooking a turkey (turkeys) on the barbecue is aÂ different experience every year. This year, along with the bacon draped over the birds in a symbolic X marks the spot gesture, I’ve added a cheesecloth cloaking device over the breasts. Guests start to arrive. There’s a frenzy of peeling, mashing, and stirring in the kitchen. As always, there’s a shortage of oven space. Debbie needs to heat the stuffing, make the yams and mashed potatoes. Food is shuttled here and there. Peter and Virginia are making the brussels sprouts and baconÂ and Bruce has added his Parker House butter rolls to the menu both of which Â require oven space. Â No one really comes out to see the birds on the grill (or me) this year. It’s just me and my birds as I rotate and flip them over their cast iron pyres. In a record 1 hour 45 minutes the turkeys are ready. The turkeys are beautiful. I’m a stinky, smokey, greasy mess with no time for a shower.
The meal takes longer than usual, maybe because I end up at the kids table sitting across from Sookie who is eating at her ever well-mannered pace. I’m Â flanked by Theo and Simon. Theo seems to be pacing himself too in anticipation of all the desserts Debbie has made. We adjourn to the living room where Peter and I break out the ukuleles and start practicing our Christmas songs. As usual, it evolves into Peter teaching all the kids how to play BlitzkriegÂ Bob. He says, “It’s easy on a guitar but really difficult on a uke.”
After playing some really silly songs quite badly, we somehow make room for dessert. It’s time to bring it on- Persimmon pudding, persimmon cake, pumpkin pie and a tart tartin all made by Debbie. And before you know it, the dishes are done, there’s a chihuahua on the dining room table, I’m under a dog-pile of kids in front of the fire and it is all good. Time for bed. Tomorrow is another big day. Time to clean out the gutters and put up the Xmas lights.