I work on Thanksgiving, and my friends are all busy. But never ones to give up a good gorging of ourselves, we decided to do a Friendsgiving this Friday.
The original idea was to a) have it at my friend Leila’s house and b) keep it low key with some cold cuts and cranberry sauce so we could make “leftovers” turkey sandwiches. This moderation was partly because I’d feel weird bringing a turkey to a vegan’s house, partly because of the logistical issues with getting a turkey to someone else’s house and partly because we’re fans of low-key-ness.
Alas, my Thanksgiving Day (and frugal) spirit went into overdrive when turkey breast went on sale for 99 cents a pound. Then when I got to the store, I found out that whole turkeys were just 69 cents a pound. I think you see where this is going.
The smallest bird I could find was 13.1 lbs, so I’ve been politely and as demurely as possible haranguing our whole group into coming. And of course because of the whole-turkey-at-a-vegan’s-house thing and again the difficulty in transporting a 13-lb bird even the mile to Leila’s house, the party will now be at my place. Because why let someone else take on the stress of having people over when I could assume the headache myself?
I’m doing as much as I can to make it easy on myself.
I’ve outsourced the cranberry sauce, pre-bird snacks and even the stuffing. Someone offered to try crockpot stuffing, which means she could use veggie broth, which means that the vegan could eat it. So it seemed prudent to let that happen. Alas, I couldn’t outsource the potatoes since pretty much everyone is coming directly from work.
As for the turkey itself, I have some brown-in bags which should make it relatively foolproof. And fast-cooking. Both of which are appealing to me.
And on Thursday I’m going to make some pumpkin pie. I’m making it the night before because a) less stress and b) if I foul it up, it gives me time to ask someone to get one from the store.
As you can tell, I have a lot of faith in my own cooking. Though to be fair the last (and only) time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner was 17 years ago. That turned out well, but I’m also prone to flightiness; so it’s easy for me to miss a step when cooking or, say, baking a pie.
The gravy is coming from a jar (I’ve been told Heinz makes a good facsimile of the real thing), and I’m probably going to get some mashed potato packets since some of them turn out quite well. And if not, well… I’m sure some people are used to the taste of instant mashed potatoes.
So far, we only have seven people (myself included) to tackle the bird, so I foresee a lot of leftovers. I can always offer to let people take some meat home, or I’ll just have a ton of future meals, which is hardly the worst fate in the world.
I’m keeping things pretty affordable, since the turkey itself was only $9.04. The gravy was $1.50 a bottle (two bottles, and I can always return one). The evaporated milk and pumpkin were another $4, plus another $2 for the (store brand) pie crust. I still have to buy eggs for the pie and the mashed potatoes, but both are extremely affordable ($0.99 for the eggs and about $4 for enough mashed potatoes to serve eight). In other words, I’m getting this meal for about $30, which should amortize nicely over the time I spend eating leftovers.
Besides actual eating, it’s really going to be a glorified game night with drinking and, obviously, games. So a good time should be had by all — even if I do mess up my contributions.
Do you do any Friendsgivings? What’s the dish that you’re always the most paranoid about messing up?