My and B. J.’s annual winding-down-the-year holiday fiestas usually begin during the Thanksgiving season and run through New Year’s Day. It is the celebrating/eating time of the year where abundant calorie-laden cuisine is both a savory delight and a risky amusement. Extra pounds can and do collect.
This year, the Thanksgiving time was real kick-starter. It all began at on November 22 at the Annual Community Thanksgiving Celebration at Epworth By the Sea. The big Smith dining room was filled to capacity, the program was lively and entertaining and the food, turkey and dressing and gravy and ham and all the trimmings were abundant and delicious.
On Thanksgiving Day we ate Thanksgiving lunch twice. Our first feast of the day was at the Taylor family reunion held at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Appling County where Beau Taylor serves as pastor. What a banquet! We talked and laughed and carried on and had a delightful reunion with old friends and former church members--and ate too much.
The catch 22 on Thanksgiving Day was that we were committed to dine in the afternoon in Vidalia with B. J.’s sister Rita and her family. This was another spread on the heels of the Taylor get-together. My belt pressure was building.
We rode Big Red to the Merck’s charming residence on Larry Drive and then on down to their daughter Jennifer’s and son-in-law Pat’s house (next door) where the family had gathered. Rita came hurrying out to greet us and escorted us into the dining room. We were overwhelmed by all the food. We had not gotten over the fête at the Taylor’s and here we were faced with another heap of food.
B.J.’s red haired sister Rita is a great cooker of desserts. She loves to fix my two favorites--banana pudding and coconut cake. I saw no coconut cake on the table. My spirit fell. Rita knew what was going through my mind. At an opportune time, she sidled up beside me and whispered, “I’ve got something special for you up at the house.”
I knew what it was.
Later, we excused ourselves from the Mitchell’s and followed Rita and her fun-loving hubby Brad up the hill to their cozy home with the big front yard and the sprawling deck and swimming pool in the backyard. And sure enough there it was sitting on the island in the kitchen--a big pretty coconut cake! I got the first slice! Yum yum was it tasty. Rita had really cooked that coconut cake up right.
I had had it. My belt pressure was way over into the red. I couldn’t handle no more. I put B. J. into Big Red’s saddle and handed her the reins. She would drive us home.
But it wasn’t over. I had promised that I would deep-fry a turkey breast sometime during Thanksgiving. We have cooking gear of all sorts. Among my cooking paraphernalia is a state-of-the-art electric deep-fryer with precision controls to fine tune it to the precise heat needed to deep-fry whatever I’m cooking. Saturday would be the day of the deep-fried turkey and B. J.’s lip smacking cornbread dressing and gravy the recipe of which has been passed down for generations.
On Friday night, I marinated a select turkey breast amply with a special concoction of spices and herbs and placed it in the refrigerator to soak overnight in the magic potion.
We were up early Saturday. B. J. put together the ingredients of her dressing and set it aside to “work” for awhile before putting it in the oven to cook. She would put the dressing in the oven at 9:30am.
Since it only takes around twenty-five minutes to deep-fry a six pound turkey breast, I waited to 11:00am to cook the turkey. I readied the deep-fryer, filled it to maximum capacity with peanut oil, heated it to 375? F. and submerged the marinated turkey breast in the boiling oil; it sizzled and boiled big time. I replaced the special cover on the deep-fryer and let it fry.
By noon, B. J. and I had our own private Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings ready. We served it up on our screened in patio and had a real party all by ourselves. It was fun cooking it up and yum yum was it ever so succulent.
But wait. This is just Thanksgiving. I haven’t begun the Christmas fiesta yet.