Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 19 And Surprise! The Television Is Upsetting Me

The bartender pointed something out the other night while we were watching New Girl, and as much as I am loathe to criticize anything Zooey Deschanel is involved with because I want to kiss her whole face, I have to admit he has a point. Every single sitcom, every year, has an episode that revolves around making a disaster out of trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner. They are never funny, ever, and the reason why is this: It's not actually that hard to cook Thanksgiving dinner. It just isn't.

I know this because I've done it a number of times. And I really can't figure out how people think that putting a roast in the oven and leaving it there for hours is at all difficult. There is almost nothing you need to do with a turkey as far as roasting it, other than to remember to defrost the thing in time, but even if you forget that, there are completely thawed turkeys at the store and you can run out and get one if the one you bought isn't ready by the day before.

The most difficult part of making Thanksgiving dinner is getting the timing right, but even that isn't really that hard if you make a schedule. It's simple really, you work backwards: figure out what time you want to have dinner, figure out how long each individual dish takes to cook, subtract that from what time you want to serve dinner and write it all down in chronological order. You don't even need to factor in the prep work most of the time. You can bake the pumpkin pie a day or two ahead of time, cube bread for the stuffing and chop onion/celery/apples/whatever you put in your stuffing the night before, peel the potatoes and the parsnips when you wake up in the morning. Even making homemade gravy shouldn't really throw you that much if you want to try it, because you need to let the turkey sit for half an hour anyway so the juices have time to redistribute (FYI, if you are carving up your turkey immediately after pulling it out of the oven and it comes out dry, this is the reason), which is more than enough time for gravy making.

Sitcom writers: this cliche is getting really, really old. If it's that hard to come up with an idea for a Thanksgiving episode, don't worry about it. You can skip it and I promise you no one will miss it.

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