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Thanksgiving Day, Palm Springs

Gorging on laughs

| Thanksgiving Day dawned brisk and clear, but by the time of the great satiation, it was 80°F, the kind of day that calls irresistibly for a smug, "Eat your heart out, northland." Thanksgiving is not traditionally known as a day of giggles and guffaws, but but this one was a bonanza of belly laughs.

On Wednesday, I assembled all the recipes for which I would be responsible, crafted my shopping list, and set off for Ralph's by the dawn's early light. I would beat the crowds, and I did. As I was double checking the contents of my cart against the shopping list, however, it occurred to me that I must have overlooked one recipe because there were no artichoke hearts on my list, and I knew the stuffing recipe called for artichokes. I picked up the artichokes, but what else was missing?

When I got home, I looked at the stuffing recipe. Doh! the sourdough bread! Back to the store I went. But wait, there's more!

On Thanksgiving Day I popped the bird in the oven and set about preparing the stuffing. Oh, no! I didn't buy enough mushrooms! I got mushrooms for the green beans, but entirely overlooked that the stuffing required another big pile of mushrooms. "That's OK," I told myself reassuringly, "I know Ralph's is open, and I'll buy the ready-sliced ones to save time." Ralph's was out of sliced mushrooms!

By two o'clock, everything was under control — the do-ahead part of the gravy was done, and as the Bunch (minus Phil) began to arrive, I took the turkey out of the oven and put the stuffing in to bake while we sat on the patio with our bubbly and starters.

I excused myself to take care of the last minute steps: finish the gravy, toss the green beans with the sauteed mushrooms, slice the turkey. We sat down to feast, and a wonderful feast it was. It was food to die for! The wine, a gift from niece Joanne several years ago, caressed the palate and delighted the nose. Gluttons all, we ate and drank contentedly.

Bang! Ken had started to open another bottle of bubbly, but realized when he got the wire cage off that we were having the other wine with dinner, so he set it aside. It eventually popped its cork. Ken went into the kitchen to make sure it wasn't spilling all over. "Something's burning in here," he called. Good grief, I had forgotten to turn off the burner under the gravy and it had boiled away and the ladle was now fused to a coating of charcoal in the bottom of the pot.

By now, however, the delectable aromas of our dinner were overcome by the acrid smell of melting plastic wafting from the kitchen. Never mind, we would finish our wine and have dessert on the patio.

Later, having been driven back indoors by the evening chill (well, to us 70° is a chill), we were having coffee at the table, reviewing the highlights of the meal, which was truly one of our most outstanding, when someone said, "We had everything but cranberry sauce."

Oh, no! Cranberry sauce! It was still in the refrigerator. Gales of laughter.

Finally it was time to assemble the doggie-bags and call it a day. I had sliced the other half of the turkey and was standing watching everyone pile leftovers into their styrofoam take-out trays, when I became aware that the oven was still on. "Why is the oven still on?" I asked myself as I shut it off. It was only then that I realized it was still on because the &%$#! stuffing was still in the oven!

Obviously, that stuffing was just not meant to be. It had cost me two extra trips to the store to get ingredients and for what — a shrivelled mass fused to the baking dish! Roars of riotous laughter.

It was an hilarious Thanksgiving that I'm sure will not soon be forgotten. Unfortunately.

But no one can say they didn't get enough to eat!

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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