In Which I Am Extremely Helpful Making Food For Thanksgiving


I hope to help in preparing things for Thanksgiving. I have reason to think I can. I cook most dinners. I don’t do advanced cooking. I mostly use the cooking trick of “warm up a food thing”. Make sure it’s a food thing (very important.) Warming it up is also important. You can try having, say, an un-warmed baked potato. The results are sad to taste, plus then you have a conversation afterwards about how you reached this point in life.

Still, warming is pretty much the one trick I’m good at. Thanksgiving dinners need two or even four tricks. So its cooking is a challenge. The first challenge is getting over my offense that we find recipes on the Internet. The thing is in the early 80s computer magazines would tell us three things. That we should learn BASIC to program computers. That we could use computers to store recipes. That we needed to know what “modem” was short for. This was all nonsense and I’m annoyed we’re letting computers give us recipes. I don’t care if it’s the only way to find out what a blanched tomato might even be. We don’t need to know that much. “Modem” is short for “modulator/demonstrator”.

So I take a recipe and step into action. I check first that it is a recipe for a thing we want to have at or around Thanksgiving. This isn’t my first rodeo. I confirm the ingredients:

  • 1 (one) loaf, adumbrated
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 5/8 cups water (rotational cut)
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 14-18 crackers, club
  • pinch allspice
  • two eggs (British-style)
  • pinch somespice
  • 1 can, peas or what have you, 8-12 oz (troy weight)
  • cheek-rub nutmeg
  • yellow squash (at least two parts yellow to one part squash)
  • 1 and 7/9th cups scuppered niblicks
  • some mushrooms of the “usual kynde” (Ref: Chaucer, c 1387)
  • 2/5th cup sugar (mixed white and dark, or as it is known to professional cooks, “chiarosucrose”)

I spread the cream cheese onto the crackers, interrupted by the two crackers that break in half mid-spread. Placing the smaller half on top allows these to become tiny pyramidal cream cheese snacks. It fortifies me for the work of making food. I’m lucky not to need a snack to get the fortification crackers ready. I discard 2/7 cups of water as surplus to requirements.

There’s sure to be a need for some milk product. I look over the cans: evaporated milk. Condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk. Unsweetened unevaporated milk. Powdered half-and-half. Half-and-unpowdered-half. Instant yoghurt [sic]. Partially assembled yogurt [sic]. Whipping cream. Whipped cream. Lightweight whipped cream. Summer-weight whipping cream. Pitted milk. Unpitted milk. De-unpitted milk. Re-pitted milk. Lots of pulp milk. Pitied milk. I take out a can of cheese soup stock and pretend to be dusting the cabinet shelf when challenged.

Anticipating a serving-spoon shortage I select some spoons, “fiiyne and trew” (Ref: Pepys, 1667), and set them in a secure spot, thereby causing the shortage.

Preheating the oven to 395 I start telling anyone who’ll listen of how I replaced the heating element in the old electric oven. The only one willing to listen is the new electric oven. I trust this story rallies it to new heights of oven skills, as like four months after I put the new element in we got rid of the old oven. Well, we had a new one. So with the old we looked through Craigslist. We found someone named Craig who wasn’t going to check their lawn any too often to see if someone abandoned an electric oven there. It has a good home now with a Craig who’s entertaining fantasies about some home-based food-making service, so far as we know.

There are instructions on one of the recipe pages printed out about fluting a pie. This is a prank and I pay it no attention.

I open the carton of bread crumbs. It’s a cherished carton, handed down in the family for decades now. The box’s design betrays its age. The lettering is in that check-numbers typeface they used for future-y stuff in computer magazines of the early 80s. Its UPC number is 4. I take a clean handful of crumbs and rub them against the loaf until the crumbs, themselves dryer than my hands if such a thing is possible, crumble. The cloud of bread crumb crumbles spreads in a vaporous movement off the counter. It settles on the floor, where it becomes a patch of the tile that never feels comfortable to walk on again, even in socks.

I set the microwave timer to 1:99, and switch it to 20 percent power, before turning it off.

The butter needs clarifying, as far as we know. We’ve been getting these “butter rolls” from the hipster farmer’s market. They’re cylinders about four inches in diameter and upwards up twenty feet long. I begin the clarification process by connecting it to our lie detector. It’s actually the old iPod Nano, with a broken pair of earbuds used as the sensors. Don’t tell it. We discuss its past and whether it feels any trauma from having once been milk. And then its feelings on converting from milk to butter. What is it to endure the process the dairy industry professionals know as milk-into-butter-converterization-processificationizing? We can only hope to know. Its alibi checks out and it is released from custody.

In a moment of whelming curiosity I look up what it is to “parbroil” a thing. It is to boil a food until it is partially cooked. This makes me rant about how “part boiled” is exactly the joke I would make about what it means. And it’s irresponsible of actual food-related people to pull a stunt like that. I start to ask whether it is a “pound” cake because of the many steps in which one punches the cake. Furthermore, I show with logic everyone agrees to be supremely correct and right and everyone else was wronggity wrong wrong wrong that the word “demonstrator” must imply the existence of a word “monstrator” which would be an explanation which makes the workings of a thing completely obscure.

I am excused from the kitchen.

An Embarrassing Clarification


My Dearly Beloved was reading over my little warning from the dream world, about racing whilst under-clad into Target to catch my father before he makes a terrible mistake about buying milk as the music of odd group Sparks plays on the public address system, and it turend out, didn’t understand something, so I felt I had to clarify. Yes, the dream happened as such.

But the important thing is: this wasn’t a humiliation dream, the kind where you go out in public and everyone starts laughing at you, or you realize you’re doing something that brings eternal and unending shame upon you, like misremembering which manufacturer produced the Intellivision game console. (None did. It simply appeared, from space, for a time, and then supplies stopped, which was fine because the unknown entities producing it also gave us the video game Frog Bog for which they should feel embarrassed.) No. Running through Target in nothing but underwear and maybe a T-shirt does not here produce embarrassment; it just produces a sense of frustration that people keep pointing this out to you, as if you weren’t aware, and as if the path to my father wasn’t going to take you through Men’s Wear (or, if you prefer, Women’s Wear) anyway so you could put on something sensible then if the milk situation didn’t require fast action.

I apologize to anyone who has, in the past couple days, found themselves in the parking lot of Target with my father sorting out the salad dressings and other contents of their car’s trunk-kitchen and raced in without enough clothes on and found themselves incorrectly embarrassed when they should be mildly irritated at others.

A Targeted Warning From The Dream World


According to my subconscious apparently this is an important problem, so, let me put the advice out for anyone who finds themselves in this situation:

If you ever find yourself with my father in the parking lot of Target, and we’re working out just which of the bottles of salad dressing in that little cubby-hole we used to use for storing compact discs back before everyone got over compact discs still have any salad dressing to speak of in there, and he goes in to buy new salad dressings, and you go around back to the trunk and discover the milk in his Toyota Something Or Other is not spoiled after all, despite how hot a day it’s been, plus there’s like a third of a bottle of light vinaigrette left and you need to rush in to warn my father about this, then, remember to put on some pants and a shirt. Even if you’re just rushing in through the pharmacy door to get word to him, people are going to pay more attention to your running through Target in your underpants with a carton of unspoiled milk than they are going to notice that the speaker system is playing songs from Sparks’s 1974 album Kimono My House.

I just hope we can all take a valuable lesson from this, and that is, to not put the vinaigrette in that weird cubby-hole underneath the stereo where nobody knows what’s supposed to go in but it accumulates old papers and unneeded receipts anyway, because it’ll spill all over the papers you don’t need.