As things sometimes go with us, we got a late start on Thanksgiving Day. This time, we had a good reason. The day before, Mr. Sprocket and I had worked quite late at the big job project, finally getting connected a complicated section of adjacent ducts joining a huge return blower fan. After working about 12 hours that day, we got the equipment in place around 9:30 pm.
Yesterday, we woke up late, took our morning walk at a leisurely pace and then had breakfast: Leftover wild salmon, stir-fry onions and bell peppers and steamed broccoli. When we finally took an inventory of our fridge, we realized we were quite low on many of our daily staples, and we still needed a few things for our Blood Type compliant pumpkin pies and turkey gravy.
We needed to gas up the car and hit several grocery stores and it's already close to noon. Mr. Sprocket wants to go to Whole Foods first, just to see what they have. There are two very small stores at either end of Sherman Oaks, but I suggest we try the brand new, very large store in Tarzana, about six miles away so Mr. Sprocket can see how big it is with all the special features. BIG. MISTAKE.
The only thing we really needed at Whole Foods was amaranth to make my pumpkin pie crust. (For those of you who don't know about amaranth, it's an ancient grain that's good for almost all blood types. The only type that cannot eat amaranth are Blood Type B, secretors.) We can easily grind up the very tiny seed in our spice grinder to make flour for the pie crust or use for gravy. We already had buckwheat flour that we would use to make Mr. Sprocket's special pie.
Once we get to Whole Foods, Mr. Sprocket has to look at EVERYTHING in the store. He's looking to see what organic vegetables they have. He takes 'forever' to pick out the 'best' broccoli crowns. He's ecstatic when he finds they have brussels sprouts on the stalk and he can get a whole stalk for only $3.99. When he was a child, Thanksgiving dinner always included brussels sprouts so he wants to make them this year. Then he hits the freshly prepared food section. There's an area for freshly baked whole grain breads (whole grain commercial wheat is the worst bread for Blood Type O's so we steer clear), an Asian foods section, a coffee and juice bar and finally the place my husband stops....the pizza ovens. He's over the moon that he can buy a slice of mozzarella pizza made with rice flour crust. He absolutely "had to" try a slice. According to Mr. Sprocket, this pizza was "way better" than the "Amy's" brand of rice crust pizza sold in the frozen food section.
When I finally get him out of the store, we still need to go to a couple local markets to get the rest of our staples: 99 Ranch for the 'Japanese yam' variety of sweet potatoes that I like as well as our green tea, and then Jon's for our pitted dates, onions, more sweet potatoes, bell peppers and dried chilies. 99 Ranch had Greenland Turbot on sale so we took the time to get several pieces.
On the drive home, Mr. Sprocket is calling a local amusement park to see if they were open. I didn't think they would be on Thanksgiving, but he decides to call anyway. One of our disappointments with going to Disneyland on our 10th anniversary a few days ago was no "Skeeball," one of my favorite arcade games.
Amazingly, the amusement park is open and we stop in to spend $5.00 on Skeeball. It's been a long time since we've played it at this park and we were disappointed to see that the Skeeball lanes were very new and the heavy wooden balls had been replaced with some type of hard plastic. Skeeball isn't the same with plastic balls.
So now it's almost 3:00 pm, and we haven't even started making our pumpkin pies yet. I'm making a guess that we won't even have dinner finished until 9pm. Mr. Sprocket had totally forgotten to get fresh sage, rosemary and thyme while we were out so I offer to go back out and hit a local grocery to see if they have it. Luckily, I find the spices. I'm about to drive home when Mr. Sprocket calls me and says, "The oven thermometer broke."
I thought he meant the "add on" magnetic thermometer I had attached to the oven door. I told him I would just buy another one. No. That wasn't it. He meant the wire thermometer that's attached to the oven temperature dial. It was hanging loose inside the oven. He went to add a metal clip so it wasn't hanging down into the middle of the oven and it broke off. This is an old oven. It's not like there would be a store open on Thanksgiving where we could just go buy the part. He didn't think that even the industrial supply houses would have the part.
It's then that the amazing Mr. Sprocket has an idea. He can insert into the oven one of his gauges with a probe to measure the temperature in the oven. The gauge would give us a digital read-out of what the exact temperature in the oven is. However, we won't have a way to really 'control' the temperature and keep it constant except by manually turning the temperature dial on and off.
And that's what we did for the next three and a half hours to bake our pies and cook our bird. Lewis sat on a chair in front of the oven and watched the temperature gauge. To keep him sane, I read out loud the fascinating book Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales. When the temp dropped below a certain point, he turned the dial on. When it got too high, he turned the dial off. He did this about every 30 seconds for the hour it took to make our three pies, and then the two-and-a-half hours it took to cook our turkey. We finally got to eat turkey about 9:45 pm, along with the roasted onions, Japanese yams, brussels sprouts and parsley roots. We also had a selection of three pumpkin pies with different spice combinations, made with agave syrup and almond milk. Quite late in the evening, but all Blood Type compliant.
I have to say, this was the best bird Mr. Sprocket has cooked EVER, thanks to the cooking recommendations of top chef, Bobby Flay. The turkey was moist and tender, even a day later for breakfast.
Not to be out done, today was another set of problems. When we woke up this morning, our 'tankless' hot water heater was not working (for the second time within the past month) and we find that we can't get a replacement part for the oven; it's history. And to totally dampen my Jo Ann Fabric's Black Friday shopping, I have a scratchy, sore throat again. Sometimes when it rains, it pours.