the organic turkey was delicious. there was a humorus episode in which i unwrapped it and decided it smelled funky, mom ran to the the neighbor, who speaks very little english, neighbor thought we were asking her to prepare the turkey for us, and gamely began rinsing it, poking it, etc. we finally conveyed our concerns about smell at which point she nodded, patted the turkey, and exclaimed brightly: "it's natural!" which indeed it was.
my guide that day was a stack of "cook's illustrated" magazines. i had a subscription for about two years and only used it once or twice. decided i would go through every single one and find some gems. i made a cook's illustrated gravy, from scratch, which was certainly the most professional gravy i have ever made (samuel and i gleefully swapped gravy stories the next day; only once you've done it do you know this feeling of pride). i made smashed potatoes , for which the secret ingredient was cream cheese. i made baked acorn squash with brown sugar glaze, for which the secret ingredient was the microwave. cornbread mushroom stuffing came courtesy of martha stewart, my favorite jailbird/celebrity homemaker.
wendy carved the turkey for me, like she always does. mom made her always good cranberry sauce and excellent mushroom barley soup, joan made terrific walnut string beans, and we had more pies than we knew what to do with.
i am still having issues with how to get everything the right temperature at these shindigs, but if i am lucky, i'll have a lifetime to get it right.