“I think I’ll make a souffle,” I’ll say. “I think I might just bake another seven-layer cake from scratch and sculpt something beautiful with icing.”
In these culinary dreams I envision myself just suddenly understanding how to saute instead of cremate. Kitchen drawers are filled with well-used, cool gadgets because I use them so much. I have pretty pots and pans with matching lids and all sizes of serving dishes since everyone begs to be invited to my fancy dinner parties.
When I’m not hallucinating, however, I just tell myself that I need to try harder than I did last year. Be more observant at the grocery store. Ask the right questions of the women standing by the spices. Pour all of my energy into everything culinary.
At some point during November, I punish myself even more by digging out my grandma’s recipe books. Then I make a big list of all that I’ll need but don’t have for the fabulous feast I talk myself into believing that I can prepare.
I need a long list of important stuff, by the way, such as a turkey baster, spices other than salt, a pretty cloth tablecloth, napkin rings and enough forks for any guests brave enough to gather around my table. And oh yeah, I definitely need a couple of knives that will cut more than butter. I even imagine myself wearing a pretty apron over a beautiful dress with high heels and red lipstick. I imagine that I say things like, “Oh, stop. You’re embarrassing me with all the compliments.” And, “Darling, of course you are welcome to stop by anytime for a cooking lesson.”
I imagine gently apologizing to Rachel Ray because I’m taking over her cooking show.
But then reality hits.
I have to face the fact that I gag when I remove that little bag of yucky stuff from a naked turkey’s body. I remember that I don’t own a meat thermometer. I don’t have a gravy ladle since I can’t make gravy. I cannot identify a giblet. I’m not having one thing to do with a turkey neck. I have anxiety attacks about all the baking I don’t know how to do. And the last time I even attempted to butter a bird, it bounced off the counter and rolled across the kitchen like a bowling ball.
It’s a sad time of year for a female like me. No one ever asks me to share recipes, and they don’t call for my culinary expertise, either. They know I read the side of a box and that’s as far as this old gal goes with kitchen stuff. Thank goodness for my big, fat imagination. While I’m chewing frozen pizza tomorrow, I’ll daydream that it’s turkey and dressing. And I’ll count my blessings, too.
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups.