83 thoughts on “November 25, 2020: On The Menu”

  1. Pursuant to yesterday's Oscar discussion, this piece of trivia from Ken Jennings:

    What megahit of 2013 is the only Billboard Top 10 hit AND the only Best Song Oscar winner ever to use the word "fractals" in its lyrics?

    Actual Spoiler SelectShow
  2. I'm making apple pie, pumpkin pie, and dinner rolls today. Rolled out the first pie crust this morning and wanted to make sure I didn't use too much flour. I used too little flour and it stuck like crazy. It's now in the pie pan chilling in the fridge and will hopefully turn out okay.

    Mr. NaCl and both kids were in the kitchen as I was struggling, and I firmly told them not to speak to me while trying to transfer the rolled-out crust to the pan. This bodes well since it's just the 4 of us and one else together all day every day . . .

      1. My children have been very into the Great British Bake Off lately. A couple weekends ago I helped them have their own little competition with tarts. That went well enough that I'm going to have them help me with the pies tonight.

  3. I'm making the turkey and a couple pies (I think... not sure if 2 pumpkin or 1 pumpkin and 1 something else).

    We will be having 9 people together. It is our household and my in-laws, who we treat as one household, given our proximity. My brother-in-law, who moved out not all that long ago, and sees a total of about 8 people ever will also be coming. We thought twice about even this gathering, but since this is essentially our household already, I don't think it makes sense to shrink it just for the holiday.

  4. I'm making the turkey again this year (Alton Brown's brine recipe). Unfortunately, since we're not going to the in-laws' house, I won't have access to the Holland indirect heat grill, which I've found to be the best way to actually cook it. I'll be use a normal oven. My wife will be making a few pies (2 pecan -- one for me, one for her mom, as well as a pumpkin for her). We're trying to load balance the cooking this thanksgiving, so we'll be making some of the sides, and her parents will be making some of them. We'll be doing a swap on their driveway and waving through the windows.

    The holiday itself will just be the three of us.

  5. Just the 4 of us. We have a 6 lb Turkey Breast Roast which I have not even thought about how I will prepare it. Working 9 to 7 today, then hit the store with the grocery list my wife handed over this morning. I usually make 2 different kinds of stuffing (or dressing if you are a commie). Probably will do a wild rice and mushroom stuffing for the wife and I while the kids get something a bit more traditional. My daughter requested a green bean casserole and my son corn. The green beans will be made by my wife and it is the same shit casserole that has cream of mushroom soup in it and the french onion crisps on top. I won't eat it. The corn will probably be finished in a saute pan with some Habanero Garlic Oil and a dash of honey. Good gravy, the gravy will be awesome because I make good gravy. I have homemade chicken stock in the fridge in case I don't get enough drippings off the turkey breast roast. I will probably purchase some sort of pie or dessert for tomorrow for several reasons. 1) My wife is stressed out with work and doesn't want to bake 2) I hate baking. Something to do with actually measuring shit out or experiencing failure 3) I am almost a full year into avoiding sweets of any kind. No interest anymore.

    So, tonight I will be prepping for the meal until about 10 or 11 (with a Rye Whiskey on the rocks in my hand). Get up early to toss in the roast. I hope to be on the couch by 1pm dazing in and out of food coma while watching our A Christmas Story .

      1. Chef club is a conundrum for me. Sometimes I think they’re just trolling my brain’s stupid culinary ideas and putting them to film and edm, and then they go and make things I would totally try. The bacon wrapped cheese stuffed baked potatoes? Yeah mama. The above turkey, sweet god no.

  6. I bought a pumpkin pie from a local bakery. Made cranberry sauce yesterday, and will make an apple cranberry crumble, spatchcocked turkey, mashed potatoes, and cheese grits tomorrow. I’m skipping my usual cornbread stuffing, even though I love it, because it’s just the four of us, and no one else will eat it.

    We are also spending today driving to Arizona and back to buy Blue Bell ice cream, since we can’t get it in Cali. It’s just about my wife’s favorite thing ever, and I have to admit it is the best store-bought ice cream around. She took the kids on this ice cream road trip last year without me on the day before thanksgiving, so it’s becoming a family tradition. This time we are all going and stopping for some hiking in Mojave National Preserve on the way there. Should be fun.

  7. We are having Kowalski's cater our dinner. Just the three of us, like it's been for the last 8 months. Not one person has been in our house other than us three for eight months.

    I have had the weird sensation multiple times of almost feeling sick, but not quite. Then I get a good night's sleep and it all goes away. It's like I'm run down, tired, but no virus to finish the job.

      1. Sleeping is a problem for me and has been for a long time. I get these sensations where I think a cold is coming on, but it doesn't come. I'm not complaining, just noting the weirdness of these feelings.

        1. Before Covid, my sleep issues were struggling to fall asleep and then struggling to wake up. Since March, I fall asleep super quick each night, and no matter how early or late I go to bed, I wake up at 4am. Every damn morning. As soon as I open my eyes, my cat is all over me making sure I don't fall asleep again because food. So, I feed the cats, make coffee and read for about an hour or so until my wife gets up. I think when gyms open up again (and when they are safer to visit) I am going to start working out at 430 every morning. Might was well do something more constructive at that time of day if I am going to be awake.

          1. I've had the worst nightmares throughout Covid. I wake up 2-4AM, and I have to get up to get the dream out of my head, so I watch some late night TV thing on my computer. Usually the dream is I can't find something (like my cellphone), or I'm being chased, or I'm wandering around and lost, or I'm taking a college exam on a topic I'm completely not prepared for.

    1. My wife has two of her teachers with cold-like symptoms as of yesterday.

      Both went for COVID tests. There are no on-demand tests available in our town. RITE-Aid is scheduling them days out. One teacher had to drive to Sactown, I think. And pay ~$250 out of pocket for test results that will take several days at best. Not sure where the other went, although I think she got a same-day result that was negative. Also a spendy out-of-pocket test.

      This is the part I find particularly galling. If you don't have a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, those tests are strictly out-of-pocket and non-deductible for the typical person (Because High Threshhold for deductibility on unreimbursed medical expenses). So working-class people have to wait and wait and wait for public agencies to have testing capacity or pay money they often don't have to get tested.

      This is a rolling public health and public policy disaster. Pandemic-related testing, which is so necessary for businesses to function, should be refundable tax credits at worst, or covered by insurance. And yes, I know that insurers will have to recoup their costs somehow. But testing and tracing is a heck of a lot cheaper than uncontrolled spread of the virus.

      On the food front, I have a (full! 6+ lbs!!) turkey breast (bone in, with rib meat attached, although I cut out some neck in order to flatten the thing) in a buttermilk brine. I'll be smoking it tomorrow to serve with roasted sweet potatoes, sausage dressing (damnit, NOT stuffing), green beans (plain steamed), cranberry sauce, gravy, and cherry pie. It will be a scaled-down but still excessive feast for the two of us.

      And I will be trying really hard to work on some gratitudes.

  8. I mentioned this a few days ago, but a local hunting lodge gave us the gift of a pheasant dinner. It will just be the two of us, as we are isolating in anticipation of Mrs. A's knee replacement surgery, which is scheduled for Monday. Your prayers in regard to that surgery would be appreciated. I know this surgery is relatively common any more, and everything should be fine. But surgery is still surgery, and things can always happen.

    1. best wishes to her.

      My dad had a "partial" replacement (not quite clear what that meant) last year. At 84 (now 85), surgery is always a concern. But his recovery was smooth and quick, and he did his rehab. As Rhu said, rehab is critical.

      1. Mrs. A has had to do exercises, including rehab-like exercises, of one sort of another most of her life, due to various health issues. I have no worries that she will do her PT as she is supposed to.

        1. My daughter ordered smoked meat loaf at a place in St Louis. I had never had it. It's now one of my favorites and I try to duplicate it. I'm not there yet but grinding in some bacon might get there.

                  1. No shade on meat loaf. A little shade on hockey and Adrian Peterson. Although, I'd say that saying a player is overrated is not hate.

                    I mainly am just playing out arguments I'd normally have at a bar on Facebook. Top rain songs. Top female singers. Top sitcoms.

                    1. It has been fun.

                      I was just commenting that haters gonna hate, as one of his top 3 female vocalists might say.

  9. Today I’m prepping the cornbread stuffing, making deviled eggs, cutting up veggies, and buying some wine. BTW, Leinenkugel’s Toasted Bock limited release is full of malty goodness.

    1. I got some Leinie Spritzen because it was being clearanced out for $5.99 for a 12pack.

      Can't beat 50 cents a can.

      But the product is very meh. The flavors are sorta dull. But it's beer(ish) and it was cheap, so I can't complain.

      Been saving my last Crankin' Foamers from Fair State for tomorrow.

  10. I'm still with J, and will be here through the end of the year. It's just the two of us. She's having a Tofurky Ham roast, and I'm going to do bacon wrapped pork loin for myself. For sides: mashed potatoes with Boursin, za'atar roasted carrots, boxed stuffing, and green beans that I can make as simply as possible since the kitchen is tiny. We're picking up a cherry pie for dessert from a bakery here. Gonna make cranberries tonight, probably. And order take out since we'll be cooking all damn day tomorrow haha.

      1. Our Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is Papa Murphy's pizza. We already celebrated that!

        The carrots at the grocery store were awful looking, so I'm going to make corn gratin instead. Also no cranberries, so Ocean Spray can it is. And, I couldn't find vegetarian boxed stuffing on my trips. I appreciate that stores aren't an absolute disaster here because it's not Thanksgiving but boy oh boy do I wish that we had the Thanksgiving stock.

  11. The annual Thanksgiving tradition for Mrs. Rows & myself for the past many years has a nice dinner out at Brother Sebastian's here in Omaha. That isn't gonna happen this year for obvious reasons, so we're have Hy-Vee cater for us. I'll pick it up tonight and reheat tomorrow for a nice relaxing dinner with plenty of leftovers for the rest of the weekend.

  12. Can anyone please explain to my why MS Word is so goddamn brain dead in how it handles multilevel lists?

    I am tearing my hair out trying to get a contract written by one of my staff to actually follow a consistent format. It would really help if our contracts people would develop a template, as I've been asking for, oh, five years, and train program staff to use it.

    But Word is insanely finicky. I can't get it to stick to a multilevel list format, nor recognize the resumption of a list after intervening paragraphs that are NOT supposed to be numbered, nor to consistently allow me to adjust either the numbering level nor the current number. I. Just. Can't. Stand. It.

    1. Seriously. I keep trying to format a multi-level list. I apply an effing style for the list. IT WON'T INCREMENT THE LIST ITEMS. IT KEEPS DISPLAYING THE LIST AS THOUGH IT WERE A BULLETED LIST. EVERYTHING IS A "1" OR AN "A".

      I need to drink heavily.

  13. Recently our 6-year old decided he didn't want to eat land animals any more and we've done our best to support him (at least when he's around, so we sneak some chicken when he's at school). I'm not a turkey person so it isn't much of a loss.

    Earlier this week we decided to splurge on some sushi-grade tuna and salmon and make poke for Thanksgiving. If his pescatarian lifestyle is more than a phase, it can become a tradition for us.

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