Thursday, November 18, 2021

TALK TURKEY TO ME--Things I Wish My Momma had Taught Me, Thanksgiving Edition

<<Original post November, 2012…
but the lessons remain as relevant--and important-- today as they had back then…>>



There comes a time when a woman must start hosting her own Thanksgiving celebrations.  For a woman who marries a military man and moves 3,000 miles away from family, these days come at a tender age of 22.  Had I had any inkling that I would have to prepare Thanksgiving feasts entirely on my own, my childhood holidays would have been better spent hanging out in the kitchen learning the tricks of preparing a flawless holiday mean instead of curling up in an over-sized arm chair with my nose buried in the latest Nancy Drew mystery.  As a result, I’ve had to learn a lot of Turkey Day lessons the hard way. 

          So in the spirit of the season, today I’m offering to a Top Five List of Things I Wish My Mother had Taught Me about Preparing (and Enjoying) a Thanksgiving Feast:

5) Don’t rely on Aunt Alma’s vague directions for turkey preparation.  Find out the basic ingredients then Google a recipe that has exact measurements.  For instance, should that dear aunt tell you to “rub a little sage” on the turkey before roasting, a quick Internet Search would help translate “a little” to a teaspoon, and not an entire half-ounce jar.  Speaking from experience, rubbing said half-ounce jar gives the white meat of the turkey an off-putting green tinge and results in gravy that looks like pea soup.  And the taste is rather off-putting, too!  No calling for pizza back-up on Thanksgiving, either… 

4)    Think carefully before organizing (or participating in) a potluck feast.  Most military spouses I’ve met wage a subtle (yet vicious) culinary competition at all potlucks, especially holiday ones.  They’ll want to bring their most favorite family side dish, and often bring it in their Great-Great-Granny’s casserole dish that predates The Great War.  Yes, it makes for great presentation, and also great conversation, not to mention a tie to Thanksgivings past.  However, many people will be handling said dish, some of whom had more than their share of Lower Cape Codders (our holiday libation of cranberry juice and rum), which invariably results in the dish—and the memories—slipping out of fumbling hands and smashing to smithereens on the tile floor.  Proper etiquette requires the hostess offer to pay to replace it, which can put a huge dent in (or entirely wipe out) the Christmas budget that year. 

3)    Be certain that the turkey preparations are done away from curious eyes, especially those of boys in the stage when they are particularly aware of bodily functions (ages 3 and up).  Experience has shown that when a young lad sees the stuffing going into--and them coming out of--the part of the turkey that goes over the fence last, it can cause lasting emotional scars that preclude him from ever eating stuffing again (and he’s 25 years old now.) 

2)    Pre-Thanksgiving check lists should not only include food items, but also essential culinary tools  There is nothing worse than preparing to baste the turkey, only to find that your husband has purloined the baster for his automobile oil-siphoning needs in the garage--a fact he may not fess up to for years.  And any good cook knows that when you need a turkey baster, you need it right that second—no time to run to the nearest grocery store—if it’s even opened. 

1)    If there is a dog (especially a big one) loose in the house, don’t leave the steaming turkey unattended while the family is gathered, heads bowed and eyes closed, for the blessing. The same may be said for a cat. Although the consequences aren’t quite as dour, as rarely can a seven-pound cat drag a twenty-pound turkey through the doggie door and out into the backyard.

 


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Hope You Gobble 'til you Wobble! 


 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

WRITING INCOGNITO


Jayne Ormerod is not my real name, but there a real person behind the nom de plume (translation: pen name.) Many (okay, most) people ask me, “Why do you write under a pseudonym?"

My first answer is always to assure them I am not running from the law. Or even the taxman. No the decision was much more personal: to be me, or not to be me? That was the question. Obviously, I chose not to be me. 

Here is the reason why... 

Picture this: A family dinner with my active-duty-military husband and twelve-year-old son, sitting on the back deck enjoying the gentle summer breeze. I’d prepared a meal of spicy shrimp scampi and Italian bread smothered with melted cheese, green onions and poppy seeds. After a glass (or three) of a spunky Pinot Grigio, I worked up enough courage to confess my lifelong secret.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

 Jayne's packing up all her books hitting the road Williamsburg, here she comes! 


Thursday, September 9, 2021

WHAT I DID ON SUMMER VACATION--in 1972

This graphic popped up on my Facebook feed the other day, and I realized that times have not changed. It's a right of passage every September for students to write an essay on what they did on summer vacation. So here's mine. Granted, the vacation was in 1972, but through the prism of time I have come to appreciate what my parents did--and did not--teach us.  

The “educational” tag is SO over rated.  Especially when it comes to summer vacations.  My parents (a self-employed business man and an elementary school teacher) made it their mission to make sure we learned something over the summer break.  So while my friends were water skiing on Lake Michigan or riding donkeys down to bottom of the Grand Canyon or hanging out with Mickey & Minnie, my family was marching through the Smithsonian in DC or traipsing along the Freedom Trail in Boston or sitting (snoozing) through historical lectures in the City of Brotherly Love. 
   Did I have VA-CAY Envy?  You bet I did!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

DEAR INCREDIBLE STORY IDEA...I will find you and I will write you!

      

One of the top questions I get asked by readers is, “Where do you get your inspiration for stories?”  The easier question to answer is, “Where DON’T I find inspiration?”  Everything I see, I wonder what the story behind it is, like these shoes in the image. It’s all about asking a few questions and then making up the answers.  
     Say you’re walking down the street of your small Midwestern town and notice that the large clock atop the town hall has stopped working. You ask yourself when and why did it stop?  A writer might (and one did) wonder if it had been struck by lightning. Hence the time it had been struck was preserved for future generations to cogitate about. That begs the question, if someone were to travel back in time and needed to harness a huge amount of energy, they would know what time the clock was struck and arrange to be there when the lightning struck. Hence with a few questions and a little imagination, you could have written Back to the Future. And you would have made a little bit of money doing so, too.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

VERY SUPERSTITIOUS...


Have you checked the calendar today? Yup. It’s Friday the 13th. Does that scare you?

According to my sources (the Internet), thirteen is an unlucky number. Historically it has something to do with the number of people seated at the dinner table. Why? Let’s see…how many were at The Last Supper? Thirteen. And we all know how that turned out. How many, according to the Norse myth, were at the table before Loki arrived uninvited and then some really bad things happened, like, people died? Twelve, plus Loki equals thirteen. The code of Hammurabi skips right over a 13th Law. There must be something to this...

Twelve is considered a “perfect” number (twelve months in a year, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve hours in half of a day.) It then follows that the number thirteen must be equally UN-perfect, right? Or so the superstitious minded say. Peoples’ fear of the number thirteen, labeled triskaidekaphobia (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) is evident through the centuries. Even today you might hop on an elevator in a high-rise and notice there is no 13th floor.   

Thursday, July 29, 2021

CELEBRATE GOOD BOOKS, COME ON!

 

Those who know me know I don’t pay particular attention to these National Observance days. There’s too many to track, over 2,100 according to the National Observance Day website << https://nationaldaytoday.com >>. I’ll do the math for you…that averages almost 200 per month! Works out to be about six per day! More than enough to drive a woman to drink…more!

Of course, my lack of attention means I’ve been known to miss the big ones, like National Son’s Day, or National Mutt Day. But since we celebrate those every day at Casa Ormerod, no need to feel guilty about not giving a social media shoutout every time these important dates roll around.

There’s another National Observance Day on the horizon that I also celebrate every single day, but thought it’s time for the rest of the world to show it a little more love. So today I’m dedicating my blog to raising awareness of this little known but very important day.