Tuesday, December 2, 2008

thanksgiving casualties

fresh sage is tough and therefore difficult to mince, so the night before thanksgiving, i thought i had a genius idea when i threw the dark leaves into the coffee grinder. a real genius, however, wouldn't stick her finger into the grinder before the blades stopped spinning.

blood sprayed onto the white tile countertop when the blade cut through the front of my fingernail and into the flesh beneath. it could have been worse. i don't know why slicing into your finger by way of your nail is so much more jarring than a regular old cut, but it is. at least to me anyway. the tenacious nail is still hanging on though it's probaly just a matter of time before it blackens, rots and falls away.

i shouldn't complain. my friend bryan lost the tip of his thumb preparing food for our thanksgiving party. he arrived having adhered the bit of flesh back onto his digit, secured with a band-aid. i suspect it will go the way of my fingernail...onto the sidewalk. or maybe it already went into the gravy.


shannon bravely prepared a turkey because she didn't want our omnivorous guests to go without. i am a pescetarian, and shannon is vegan, so we don't see much poultry around these parts. in the days leading up to thanksgiving, i would rummage through our fridge and accidentally poke the soft bird, incognito in its plastic grocery bag. i'd pull my hand back, uncertain what i'd touched. remember those haunted houses from childhood where the mad scientist proprietor would stick your hand into shoebox full of spaghetti and call it brains? or a bowlful of eyes, which were really just grapes floating in water? the bird in our fridge was similarly befuddling.

for Chef Shannon the Vegan, cleaning the turkey was the biggest challenge. thanksgiving morning, i heard the squeals and the "ew! ew! ew!"s and the "yuck! yuck! yuck!"s coming from the kitchen. i abandoned my blowdryer in the bathroom and ran to the scene, ever helpful, armed with a camera. shannon was hunched over the sink, elbow deep in the bird's gash.

"how do people do this?" she reached inside and extracted the giblets.

i shrugged and snapped a pic. "how about some wine? is it too early to start drinking?"

shannon's gag reflex was in full-effect.

between four and nine p.m., guests trickled in and out of our apartment, assorted entrees in tow. the omnivores agreed that the turkey was up to snuff, which is an impressive feat for a chef who couldn't taste test. the menu also featured mashed coconut yams, lentil chestnut stuffing, onion torte, biscuits, dueling gravies, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, fennel, walnut & persimmon salad, faux turkey, fennel apple bacon stuffing....and more. there was also dessert, which included two vegan apple pies shipped with love from babycakes in new york, courtesy of shannon's mom and dad. bryan made his now-famous pistachio rosewater cupcakes. unlike our drop-in guests, i was in for the long haul, and over the course of five hours, i don't think i ever really stopped eating.

your hostesses ate their weight in mashed yams.

i think one of my favorite moments of the night occurred post-party. as kathy, ji and i drove to the cat & fiddle for digestifs, the aforementioned bryan (also en route to the bar) pulled up alongside us -- a pot precariously strapped to the back of his motorcycle. it's not every night you see a leather-clad biker carting leftover mashed potatoes around the city.

in conclusion: the second annual Cheremoya Thanksgiving Party was a success. because our apartment can get pretty warm when we entertain, i had circulated an email the day prior, warning, "don't wear a sweater!" so of course, nearly everyone wore a sweater, proving once and for all that no one likes to be told what to do. whatever - we've hosted toastier shindigs. and besides, in heat, there is intimacy.


Georgia said...

I'm sorry I missed out this year, as I would have liked to make up for my disastrous pumpkin/sage pasta from '07. Man that was gross.

Cagey said...

Another one's s'posed to be opening in W. Hollywood, although there's already a Torrance bakery by the same name.

I like THIS Babycakes, personally...

bryan said...

I can't take all the credit: the cupcake recipe comes from this book, with minor adjustments.

And for what it's worth, my hacked-off thumb tip did NOT end up in the gravy. I took great care in this regard.

It finally fell off while I was skating around (and totally not doing any work) in the Doll Factory on Sunday. Still gross.