As tempting an offer as an invitation to dine & meet new folks, I tried to brave a Thanksgiving dinner single handedly… “Read on” for lessons learned
For those who don’t know, this was my first Thanksgiving alone with the kids since the divorce. As often is the case, in an effort to be a role model to my children, I bit off a little more than I bargained for.
Being a bachelor, I didn’t exactly have turkey and stuffing on hand, so Thanksgiving morning we went shopping. I figured I better take it easy and get a pre-cooked ham. “Heat and serve,” no big deal, right? Ah, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
I had no ‘wire rack’ to cool them on, but a layer of butter knives works well too Once the pies were done, I immediately put in the potatoes. I wrestled with this idea, but figured I was pretty good at twice-baked potatoes, whereas home made gravy can be risky business. Unfortunately, since I picked out the largest ones, they ALSO took longer than I bargained for. I started the ham on a higher rack, but they were still too firm for my liking.
With the ham in (dressed in pineapple, of course) I dove eagerly into the potatoes. I figured it was alright that they were a bit firm, as they’ll cook some more, but I hadn’t counted on having to gut them while they’re piping hot. (Word to the wise: a pot holder is meant to hold pots, not POTatoes) I mixed in butter, ranch, bacon bits, and cheddar, and re-filled the semi-torn skins.
The ham wasn’t getting up to temperature as quickly as the label had promised, (see a pattern here?) so I glazed it, set it to broil, and returned the potatoes to the oven. In no time, dinner was ready. With a splash of olives and some egg nog, we had a meal fit for a prince.
Oh yes, one more hurdle. My 6 year-old son chose this moment to stop liking ham & twice-baked potatoes altogether. Holding fast to the “no dinner, no dessert” rule, he missed out on the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
SO, for those considering doing a thanksgiving meal by yourself, I’d recommend doing any pies the night before. Add an hour or two in for extra cooking and preparation, and a healthy serving of patience and gratitude to help wash it down. All-in-all, I didn’t burn anything, and spent the time with those I love, which is what really counts…