Lake Oswego, OR — While three members of the O’Rodrens clan are confirmed vegetarian/vegans, the seven remaining family members in attendance all identify themselves as omnivorous and thus were expecting turkey with Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. The turkey was finally ready to eat once the family had finished dessert, a delicious pumpkin cheesecake with freshly made whipped cream. While the meal of sage bread stuffing, veggie stuffing with apples, corn casserole a la Paula Deen, mashed potatoes, green beans with frizzled shallots, mashed turnabagas, and Brussels sprouts with pine nuts and bleu cheese and, of course, gravy was declared delicious by all family members there was the matter of the turkey not in the room.
“Why would I special order a frozen turkey? I wouldn’t that’s why!” fumed Maggie, a turkey cooker since 1989. Unable to understand why an unstuffed 18-lb turkey should take six hours to cook, Maggie fumed alternately at New Seasons markets, her oven and her brother John, for his always helpful cooking advice for any food not prepared on a George Foreman Grill.
The party started at Molly’s with all family members clamoring to help. O’Connors are not generally known for their mechanical/electronic know-how (except for Katie), thus did not take the label on the electric chafing dish literally after reading, “Do Not Immerse in Water”. John quickly recommended getting a pitcher of water, Katie got the water while Molly went to find her husband knowing something stupid was going to happen soon. Maggie helped by reiterating “pouring water IN it is not the same as IMMERSING it in water.”
Not surprisingly the water spilled all over the counter, the floors, the electrical outlet (John: “should one of you unplug that?”), the drawers and cabinets. It didn’t take long for all the O’Connors to realize towels would be a good idea and they all helped in the clean up, which coincidentally, also washed the hardwood floor.
As dinner time drew closer, the O’Connor girls teamed up to replace a lid on a La Creuset casserole dish in the oven. While each of the women have individually and successfully put lids on pots for years; this year demanded team work. All three O’Connor girls have prepared delicious Thanksgiving dinners for years, they agreed that “Mom is looking down at us right now shaking her head. ‘Really girls, I taught you nothing?'”
Maggie’s ex-husband, Mitch, did the honors of carving the crispy, brown turkey and with one quick slice it became clear that the bird was not done. “Oh for shit’s sake,” declared Maggie.
After much hoopla, uproar and threats of violence toward John, the bird was put back in the oven and the family sat down to a vegetarian Thanksgiving and they laughed and were very thankful to have each other and a beautiful home to celebrate in and knew there would be turkey for dessert.
Once the turkey was carved up for “firstovers”, John proclaimed that it was a really good turkey and perhaps in the future the bird should be cooked, rested for a couple of hours in a cooler and then put back in the oven. This writer will acknowledge it was the best turkey skin ever.
Brigid, a 3rd generation O’Rodrens, believes that “For Thanksgiving we should have turkey and everything or no turkey at all.”