Thanksgiving is quite possibly the greatest American cooking day of the year… which means it is a day of pure torture for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bad cook at all… I am simply a reluctant cook.
I grew up in a single-parent home and as anyone who has heard me reminisce about childhood dinners consisting of pie-dough and/or popcorn knows, my mother does not cook. Like, at all. So I didn’t grow up helping out in the kitchen and learning how to make secret family recipes.
Over the years, I’ve picked up several recipes that are easy to follow and turn out consistently good. I use these on the rare occasions that I do cook, but I have never really developed a joy for cooking and try to avoid it whenever I can. I would much rather clean and wash every dirty dish in the house than juggle spices or follow a recipe.
My youngest brother, however, has found his happy place in cooking… and by happy place, I mean he’s joined the Alton Brown cult and is the highest of kitchen snobs. When I asked him years ago for advice on which pots and pans to buy, I received back a lengthy email that could qualify as a PhD dissertation in most countries. I wish I had kept it because it truly was a masterpiece.
Since he’s moved to NC, we’re able to see each other more often and he’s had the chance to cook for us each time that we see him. When he comes to our house, he arrives with literally trunks of kitchen ware from his own home and then proceeds to explain each item to me and demonstrate its use. Despite his traveling kitchen, he is always asking me for some other gadget that he somehow missed packing.
Because he is my brother, he also loves to constantly harass me… it usually goes something like this:
Him: “hey, do you have a whatever-obscure-kitchen-item?”
Me: “a what?! is that even legal in this state?!”
Him: “I’m so disappointed”
He was visiting a few months ago and we had this same conversation set on an infinite loop… I finally pulled out my “gadget” drawer and said “dude, this is what I have… if it’s not in this drawer, I don’t have it!”
About a half hour later, I hear his muffled question from within my pantry… “hey dude, when you move, do you move your entire pantry with you each time?” I said yeah, why. With a pained face, he hands me my baking powder.
And then he tells me to turn it over…
Okay, whatever… he wins. I reminded him though that the only thing I dislike more than cooking is baking… seriously, my brain completely shuts down as soon as the oven door opens. I guess I have kitchen ADD because I will put something in the oven and walk away with no memory of ever putting it in the oven… which is how my Thanksgiving stuffing ended up crunchy this year. Damn it.
So they came to visit for Thanksgiving. Within minutes of arriving, he unpacks his kitchen in my kitchen and begins some really elaborate recipe for our turkey. I am a firm believer that there is a secret society for people who are able to cook a Thanksgiving turkey without the use of profanity or human sacrifice… I am so not a member, but I think my brother might be.
Turkey in the oven, he started peeling the potatoes I had bought for homemade mashed potatoes. A few potatoes in, he suddenly shoves this slightly rotted potato in my general direction:
His exact words were “CRIMES AGAINST FRUITMANITY! I found this in that cattle-car you call a potato bag!”. Apparently, I should be buying free-range potatoes that have not endured the cruel potato pens.
And this, kids… is why I go to therapy. Well, one of many reasons.
All kidding aside, my brother’s cooking rocks and I’d be crushed if he chose to never cook for me again… thankfully, I’m pretty sure that will never happen.
How was your Thanksgiving?!