I woke in a sleepy panic at 1:00 am last night. Which means, while I was rolling it all through my head, I wasn’t actually acting upon it. You see, I didn’t take the frozen-solid turkey out to thaw on Tuesday when I was probably supposed to. I was trying to recall anything I had read about quick thawing frozen things, and while I know you’re supposed to thaw in cold water, this was a bit larger than a chicken breast. You do use cold water, right? Oh god, what if I give everyone salmonella. Could I get away with a little warm water? I’m still snuggled deep under the covers. It’s 7° out. Let’s not be rash. Fifteen more minutes go by. I know it’s a cold water bath, but wouldn’t that make the water too cold to actually thaw anything in time. My mother will be here around noon, and we’re supposed to make a tamarind habanero glaze for the frozen fat bird. Can’t you just glaze it frozen. Surely by tomorrow it will have thawed. My eyes close. Clearly, I’m not too concerned.
“You have 10 people coming for Thanksgiving.” My subconscious voice is whispering in my ear, “Get your ass out of bed and take the damn bird out already.” I drag myself out from under the covers, hoping my histrionics will wake my dear heart sleeping soundly and peacefully next to me. Clearly, he’s not worried or maybe he hasn’t thought of it. Why isn’t he tormented with this? Nada.
I slip like a ghost into the kitchen. My dog didn’t even get up with me. Lazy. I pull the frozen rock out and leave it in the sink under the watchful gaze of the glorious stars shining bright. Back to bed. Is that enough? Will it thaw? Will it thaw too fast? I could always run to the grocery and grab a handful of Swanson’s frozen turkey dinners. I’m back out. It’s in the star’s hands now.
This morning, it’s a new day. The temp has come up to a whopping 24° and I’m online reading how to thaw out a turkey, fast. I fill the sink with cold water, and plunge the bird in. You’re supposed to refresh the water every 30 minutes, for every pound. This sucker should be thawed in five-ish hours. Emergency diverted for now.
On a larger scope, this could resonate like failure somehow. To be fair, Thanksgiving has never really been my holiday to put loads of energy into. I’ve always preferred the less traditional route; tacos or enchiladas, maybe Chinese, copious amounts of bubbles- not traditional. Yet, this year it just turned out that way, and that’s fine. The bigger picture I’m getting to is more about recognizing that it’s OK is a few disasters happen. Those beautiful photoshoots of perfectly coiffed tables, glossy brown turkeys and all the trimmings, beautiful people dressed beautifully with happy smiles and amazing makeup. Well, let’s just say that’s pretty far from most of our realities. Guess what? Perfect is boring. The world isn’t perfect, but perfectly imperfect.
I believe the act of creating a meal for a large group of people is more about where your heart is and intentions. This holiday is about being with those we love, and those in our inner circle and celebrating a night together – breaking bread together as it were. It’s not about being perfect and impressing those people. They have seen you at your worse, and still love you. Gratitude and forgiveness are a package deal.
Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a high five. Tell yourself how much you love yourself, and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Nobody will care if you’re not perfect, or if your turkey isn’t either.