We were 23, recent college graduates, three of us in a one bedroom apartment, and we decided that before we all left for Thanksgiving we should cook a turkey ourselves. Prior to this our kitchen had been used to make spinach dip with Knorr's soup mix, Minute Rice, popcorn, grilled cheese and occasionally, a scrambled egg. Once or twice I assembled chicken and noodles, as my grandmother had taught me, the secret being Reames frozen egg noodles. Lisa was the real gourmet because she knew how to make a baked brie with crescent rolls that we agreed was the best thing we had ever had.
On the phones with moms, grandmothers and my dad all day, we put together was appeared to be a decent looking meal, turkey, stuffing (not the boxed stuff, the real Pepperidge Farm bag variety), mashed potatoes, green beans and refrigerator crescent rolls. Because the dining room was being used as a closet, our guests joined us at the small kitchen table which we had dragged into the living room. Around our table was a coworker, a fiance who never became a husband, a boyfriend who did, and the three of us, roommates who were also friends, and still are.
Dinner was served. We said a prayer, but did not dance on the table, and the fiance cut ceremoniously into the bird. He struggled, backed up and mightily cut again. Resistance but he was able to get through, to plastic. A bag full of organs sat baked into our beautiful turkey, truly horrifying, absolutely disgusting to remove once cooked. Some of the heartier souls ate turkey, I fell back to the truly good stuff, the accouterments.
We've all improved. My 24 pound bird is brining right now, just waiting to roast the day away tomorrow as I host 15 in an actual dining room. Heather cooks things like talapia with roasted vegetables (but deep fries the turkey), and Lisa hosts family holidays at her house (and certainly still serves that delicious brie). Cooking a bag full of organs was not the greatest cooking disaster in my history, not even close, but it does illustrate to me that all can be overcome, either by decent side dishes or by good friends around the table, even a tiny one stuck in the middle of a living room.
How very thankful I am for two wonderful roommates who remain today two wonderful friends, and the annual reminder that organ night brings, at a time when being thankful is the order of the day.