Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Some news and the juicy, upside-down turkey

Squirrel chose pecans. There are people who object to that choice, but we won't go there, today.

News, first! I completely missed the release date of the latest issue of Estella's Revenge (wahoo! for Estella) since I was on the road, but the December issue is available for your perusal. It's shorter than usual, perfect for the hectic month of December (at least, it's hectic for some people - not usually so much for us).

And, the ever-delightful and extremely erudite Simon Van Booy is leading a writer's retreat in a redwood forest in May of 2008. He still had some opening slots, as of Friday. Then, I hit the road. You already knew that, though. You can view the information about Simon's workshop (in pdf), here. I wish I could go. I'm tremendously fond of a redwood, you know, and I have no doubt that Simon is an awesome teacher. And, by the way, if you haven't read his book, The Secret Lives of People in Love, you should definitely ask for a copy for Christmas. It's fantabulous.

Speaking of things that have been mercilessly logged . . . okay, really, things that look like logs . . . Violet found the perfect poppety-sized log cabin in my mother's house:

There was, however, a slight problem with the front door:

Violet is still wondering why on earth anyone would create a round front door. It's just not right, you know. Poppets should be allowed to live in proper homes with hinged doors. And, I quote, "Hmmmph," said Violet.

I promised to tell the Tale of the Upside-Down Turkey. This is funny to me because I've been laboring under the misconception that my sister was the perfect daughter, always whipping up something delightful for the family (who ate promptly at 5:00 p.m. - they really did that; I got chewed out for our wing-it cooking style when she came to visit and thought her babies were going to starve to death), with the perfect country-style home (uck, not my thing) and, of course, a well-crafted financial plan to avoid retirement in poverty. So, you know, ignoring all that other stuff . . . let's get back to the perfect cooking bit. Sister spent the night before Thanksgiving in my mother's home, in order to get that bird shoved into the oven, nice and early. It wasn't until she arrived looking just a wee bit frantic and then wondered aloud just how long she should cook the turkey and whether or not she should call the Butterball Hotline that I remembered, "Oh, yeah. I was the daughter to whom everything came easily." Geez, all those wasted years.

Fast-forward to Thursday morning. Early-bird sis shoved the fat turkey into a fiercely hot oven and then concentrated on side dishes. Eventually, her family showed up. Brother-in-law whipped up some mashed potatoes and fussed around in the kitchen (he's an excellent cook) and then they waited and waited and waited. After a few more hours of waiting, out came the meat thermometer. They puzzled over the turkey. Why was it not reaching the proper temperature? And, what the heck was going on with its legs? It just didn't look right, somehow. Finally, my clever brother-in-law realized that Sis had placed the turkey upside-down on its roasting pan and that the thicker breast meat wasn't warming up because it wasn't surrounded by hot air. He pulled the turkey out, flipped it over and popped it back into the oven. At 3:00 p.m., we had a delightfully juicy turkey. Kookie tells me that turning the bird upside- down for an hour actually is a good thing, as it makes the juices run down into the breast meat (and I can confirm that - it was definitely not your typical, dry turkey). Violet just thought that impression of a grid on the turkey looked weird:

For Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made On:

I don't always get great hawk photos. Sometimes, I get grainy red-tail butt. Photography takes lots of practice and lots of frames - even the pros have photos they throw out. Feel better?

Bookfool, still glad to be home, in spite of the mess


  1. Ha! Love the grainy red-tail hawk butt :p

    And I love the turkey story! What's Thanksgiving without a good story, huh? Glad that at least turned into something good with a juicy turkey! We may have to start cooking ours upside down for a little while too!

    Poor Violet :( She looked so determined to get into that house...So tell me, did you just die laughing as you went to snap that photo, because that's just too funny, lol!

  2. Congrats to the eldest!! 3 job offers!! That's a big WAHOO!! (I got myself a job offer with the Red Cross, so I'm pretty happy myself!)

    Glad the turkey turned out good, in spite of the grill impressions!!

    So good to see you back home again!

  3. Chris,

    I thought you might like that hawk butt. He turned just as I managed to snap (sometimes my camera misfires and I have to turn it off and back on - what a pain).

    The upside-down turkey was really kind of serendipitous, I guess - finding out that turning one over makes it juicier. Cool. We'll definitely do that, again - although, next time maybe not for quite so long. We were half-filled on chips and pretty much anything else that was sitting out, by the time the turkey finished cooking.

    Okay, yes, I laugh at my own jokes. I confess. I thought Violet poking out of the house was a hoot. :)


    Congratulations on the job offer!!! That's a definite wahoo! You should be happy. :) I'm thrilled about the son, but I'd be even more thrilled if we hadn't had to loan him money to rent an apartment because he can't manage to set aside even a dollar a week and made the mistake of signing a year-long contract on his place in Oxford. In July. Knowing he was going to graduate in December (DUH). Okay, yeah, I'll just be happy. He could have come home (I shiver at the thought).

    The turkey was really awfully good. And, I suppose it's great that the discovery of how to make a turkey juicy was couched in hilarity. Nobody's going to forget that one.

    Thanks, it's good to be home. I missed you guys!!

  4. Aww..poor Violet! It's such a funny picture though. :P
    Glad the upside-down turkey ended up being tasty! I'll have to remember that if I ever have a chance to cook a turkey.

  5. Now I see where you mentioned eldest getting 3 job offers. That's great!

  6. Glad to have you back! Cute pics. Love that turkey story.

  7. Yay!! She's Back!!

    I missed you!!!!

  8. Nat,

    Yep, three offers - that was a huge wahoo. Uh-oh, is it Wednesday? I may have some wahooing to do. :)


    Thank you and thank you. It's good to be back!


    Aw, how sweet! Thanks, I missed you, too! My mother's computer had Windows 98 and went clickety-clickety-clickety for an hour (without actually doing anything). . . so it was Burger King for the wireless signal and my time was limited. It's so good to be back to a fairly up-to-date computer and a DSL connection. Wahoo!

  9. Mmmhmm, I did that upside down bit to a chicken recently. B got home late so the grid marks had more or less disappeared. Whee!

  10. Andi,

    That will never happen to me. I avoid handling meat to the best of my ability. I did cook some chicken breast in OK, but I had to wear rubber gloves and say, "Ewwww," repeatedly. Glad your grid marks disappeared in the nick of time. ;)

  11. This is why it's so great to have you back! You absolutely make me laugh. The turkey story is funny and I'll have to pass along the tip about starting it out upside down.

    And you should be proud of the eldest! It says a lot about him.

    Welcome back, again!


  12. CJ,

    That's just about the nicest thing you could say to me. I live to make people smile (laughter is even better). Of course, if you'd been there you would have definitely been laughing. It was pretty funny.

    I am definitely proud of the eldest. And, I'm very excited. It's such a tremendous load off our shoulders, just knowing he has a job waiting.

    Thanks, again!!! It's so great to be back to the bloggy world!!!

  13. I love the redwoods too. That sounds like it would be an awesome retreat to go on.

    A log cabin with a round door. I wonder if before it was a Poppet's house it was a house for birds?

    I am glad the upside turkey incident turned out for the best. Yummy turkey for everyone. :-)

  14. Wendy,

    I've only seen the redwoods one time, but we were awestruck. I think it would be a great place for a retreat, definitely.

    Yep, it's a birdhouse. I don't know if it ever was hung outside, though. I think maybe my mother thought it was too pretty to expose to the elements.

    Usually, I hate turkey because it's so dry - definitely serendipity, if you ask me. Some mistakes end up teaching you something new and this was a good one. Also, it was funny. You can't beat having a good excuse to laugh while you wait.

  15. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Loved the turkey story! I'll have to try cooking it upside down.

    I see you read THE LAST DAYS OF SUMMER. I loved that book!

  16. Hi Lynne!

    Glad you liked the story. :) I think we all learned an interesting lesson in cooking, on top of the good laugh!

    Yes, I read Last Days of Summer and love, love, loved it. If I ever get around to posting about it (I've got a huge do-list, again, today), I'll recommend it highly. It was my favorite read in November.

  17. Love the turkey story! The person who hosted T-giving did it that way - but on purpose. Love the grid marks.

  18. We always cook the turkey on its breast, in an oven bag. No dry turkey for us!

  19. Tristi,

    That's so funny. I would never, ever have known that turning a turkey upside-down makes it so nice and juicy if my sister hadn't turned it the wrong way. You learn something new every day!

  20. I cook chickens upside down ALL the time. Not on purpose. But you know what makes perfect, not-dry turkey every time? Those big oven bags you can cook them in. You don't have to baste or anything, and if you have to leave the turkey in the oven for even a couple hours longer due to late guests or whatever, it still doesn't dry out. I love those things.

  21. Well, I never have guests for Thanksgiving, so that's not a problem! But, if we ever get back to having our Thanksgiving dinners with friends instead of relatives, I'll have to remember, "Bag the turkey." Got it. Bag him.

  22. Tomorrow's the big day! Congrats to your son and to you and your hubby. I know you're proud of him and suspect it will be a happy day for all.

  23. Thanks, Les!

    He actually took his last final, last night. So, eldest is done with the undergraduate degree! Wahoo! Yeah, we're happy about that. Now, the part of Memphis where he's going to be living is another story . . .

  24. I am behind in the posts but noticed you were back :). Glad you made it home safely and without another ticket. Sounds like you have a mess that hubby made for you. That was sweet, eh?

    Oh gee....I love your humor Nancy, it makes me smile and laugh.

    Sorry about hubby's grandmother!

    And, I'm slightly jealous of the poppet now, ;-))


  25. Har! I didn't consider the roasting rack! I don't use one. That doesn't look like a Martha Stewart bird...that's for sure. I'm glad you got a picture of it.

  26. Hey Andrea!

    I like that picture of you. :)

    The mess is unbearable. After a couple of days of working my butt off and getting nowhere, I just curled up and read, today. And, thank you. The return trip was good - no ticket and 88 hawks spotted, including the one that ignored me while he ate his dinner. That was sooo cool.

    Thanks. I live to make people smile. And, thanks for the condolences. We'll miss Gma Lyon, but she lived a good, long life. :)

    Violet had such fun. Can you tell? I thought she looked kind of proud of that log cabin (that's a nice thing about poppets - you can interpret their look, any old which way).


    We have a ceramic roasting pan, so yeah . . . I guess it just depends on what you're used to. I thought it was so funny that I got used to my mother's kitchen and the odd places she puts things - and I just expected my sister to know where everything was, since she lives so much closer. Nope, not at all. When I got up (substantially later than the sister did) on Thanksgiving, Sister said she couldn't find any cooking oil. I looked up at her and said, "Broom closet." My mother grinned. It was a moment.

    Yeah, I think Martha would have tossed that one out, but it tasted great in spite of its looks. LOL

  27. I have two sisters who are pretty darn near perfect, but they are also smart. They don't host many meals that's left up to me the idiot! And I'm always making major goofs.

    Loved your post. You always make me smile at life.

    Congratulations on son's graduation and the start of a new job. Exciting stuff.

  28. Booklogged,

    I just have the one sister and she's much more accomplished than I am, so it's a bit of a joke. But, actually, just about everything I cooked turned out perfect. It could be because I'm terrified of mistakes. I definitely don't like eating them.

    Aw, thanks. I just love it when my posts make people smile. :)

    And, thanks for the congrats for eldest. Now, we just have to force ourselves to sit back and let him make his own mistakes in the real world. That's a little bit more frightening than I thought it would be. Gotta do some mental umbilical-cutting, here.

  29. Nancy!

    Thank you, I like the picture too...hopefully I can take more.

    Yep, sometimes you just have to let go dealing with something that you probably won't be able to do much with anyway. I hope you find your counter soon!!!

    Dang, 88 is A LOT! Sounds like you had a good drive home besides the bathroom problem. ;)

    You trying to put Violet in that cabin door was very cute. I showed your blog (the pix of Violet and the other poppets on the poppet blog) to my boyfriend today and he wanted to know the names of the others?? I like to think I know when Chester is smiling at me and his other expressions too...I guess it's a small pleasure in life. I have a couple of moose animals and I've named them all, I think. And, two of them sleep with me. The Martha Stewart christmas moose is hanging on my mirror in the Jeep. :)

    She sure did. 93 (I think that's what you said) is a good long time. :) I hope we can both be so lucky to live that long.


  30. Andrea,

    I hope I find my counter, too. I miss my countertop. :)

    Yeah, 88 is amazing. It made the drive go faster, seeing all those hawks.

    My little red poppet I just call "Poppet". Clever, eh? LOL The blue one is Simone and the purple one is Violet. Thanks for reminding me, I need to hunt for Simone. Oh, dear, she could be anywhere.

    That's a good way to look at the mild craziness of pretending your creatures are smiling - it's a simple pleasure. Yep, that's it. No need for sedatives, officer. They really *are* smiling.

    94 or 95!!! Yeah, that's a nice, long life.

  31. Nancy,

    Well, it's sort of like.....naming a dog, a dog and a cat, a cat. Not to pick on you or anything :P.

    So, which poppet is your favorite?? You'll find Simone, eventually.

    I wonder what would have happened if you had shown Violet to the officer and started talking to her... hmmmmm? lol

    Hope you and your family have a safe trip to and from Hawaii. Enjoy your week there!!!


  32. Andrea,

    When I first got my little red poppet, I honestly had no idea I'd end up owning 3! But, you're right. I've known people with cats named Kitty and dogs named Dog. It's very much the same thing.

    Violet's my favorite because I love purple, but Poppet has the best personality. You asked. LOL

    Oh, so funny you should say that because the minute the highway patrolman pulled away, I thought, "Oh, shoot, I should have asked him to pose!" And, with a poppet would have been even better, of course. But, he would have locked me up, for sure.

    Thank you! It's just the two of us - Daniel's here to ferry Will to school and back. Oddly, Will doesn't even mind that we're going without him. He's just happy to have time to spend with his brother. Cool, or what?

    Pssst, I'll get you some postcards - I sent you some, yesterday.

  33. Nancy,

    I love how this tells me when you have commented. It's very helpful.

    How much are they, the poppets?

    Yep, I did ask and I got my answer. That's a good one! However weird it may be....lol

    I was guessing that Violet must be your favorite since you took her with you when you went to see your mom.

    Was the patrolman not a nice gentlemen? You don't think he would have posed? I mean he did write you a ticket...it's the least he could do, right?

    Clearly, I wasn't thinking. I knew Will was in school...argh. Blonder by the minute. That is nice you two will have some time alone and he will have time to pal around with his brother. :D

    You are seriously spoiling me with postcards! I like it though!


  34. Hi Andrea,

    It's nice you know when I've commented. And, it only feels a little like Big Brother is watching (or, in this case, Little Sis, haha).

    The poppets have varied in price. I think I paid $9 for my first one, but I just bought a Christmas poppet and I'm pretty sure she cost $15. And, there's postage. Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made On always posts a link to eBay when she's selling - they're not available all the time.

    Violet just happened to have been handy, so it wasn't that I wanted a purple poppet in Oklahoma. Actually, I can't find my little red poppet. Argh!!! Where did I put her?

    I can't remember what the hubby said about the idea of photographing a patrolman, but he thought it would make me look fishy. My mind doesn't work the way his does. I just saw a guy in a cool uniform and some very hoopty flashing lights and thought, "Good grief, that would have made such a cool photo. What was I thinking?" And, of course, the hawk that was hunting across the road would have been fun to photograph, but I just watched him, also.

    Well, you know, I used to collect postcards and it's no big deal to grab a few. Have you gotten the ones I sent you, yet? I'm losing track of time - guess it's only been a couple of days since I sent them. :)

  35. Nancy,

    If something is a decent price..the postage always socks it to you, lol.

    I think if I get one I would start talking to it and my grandma would think I have seriously lost it.

    Did Poppet ever turn up?


  36. Hey Andrea,

    Yep, you're right. Postage is a bear.

    Everyone thinks I've seriously lost it. I don't mind. It's something I've long since grown accustomed to. Poppets just give my weirdness a different venue, so to speak. LOL

    Yep, Poppet was right here by the computer. I was just in such a tizzy that I picked up the wrong bag. Molly *looked* red through the fabric. Oopsy. :)


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