This year my sister got efficient and combined Thanksgiving with a family reunion. Between those connected to us by DNA and those who fall into the friend category, the list quickly swelled to 30 strong with an invitation going out to everyone except the Pope. And I’m pretty sure he would have gotten an invite had we been catholic. So as tradition dictates, we prepare an obscene amount of food. Because of my sister’s generous disposition and tendency to overcompensate, the food list she was concocting for a crowd of 30 looked like something I would envision for the menu of Oregon’s 75th Annual Lumberjack Convention. I was slotted to bring six dishes.
Of the dishes on my list, only one gave me pause: deviled eggs. Every year I try to find some foolproof method to ensure that the eggs will peel easily, because otherwise, the task brings me to a crisis of belief. But this year I had it. A friend had given me a picture with instructions of how to bake eggs in a muffin tray. Being game to finally make it through a Thanksgiving meal with my gratitude still intact, I pulled my nonstick muffin pan from the oven drawer and arranged the eggs per instructions. This picture claimed the eggs would cook easily, peel like a dream, and taste better. Lies. All lies.
I baked the eggs for the appropriate length of time. I let them cool for over half an hour as my mom always advises, and then I pulled over the trash can and started cracking. Forty-five minutes and one psychotic break later, I was only halfway through my two dozen eggs. And may I just add that as I bent over the Hefty sack and vacillated between the temptation to sob or to lob eggs around my kitchen, I noticed something odd about the wonder baked ovals. They had rust colored spots on the shells that had bled through to the white flesh underneath. My eggs looked as if a small pox epidemic had worked its way through the flock right before laying time. And for those that had lost some of their bubonic plague characteristics when I peeled away half of the egg because of shells that clung like a telemarketer to a landline, they took on an aura that suggested a hint of leprosy. As I plopped the last survivor on the platter, a battalion now only 19 strong, I wanted to strike a Scarlet O’Hara pose with fist held high in the air and vow never to peel eggs again.
I also wanted vengeance. I wanted to take the bar code off that carton, track down that flock of chickens, and hand deliver them to Chick-fil-a. Each clucking poultry member would have a tag attached by festive ribbon that would issue directives for its fate: Nuggets, Strips, Chargrilled. I would be delighted to take a picture of them and help the cows erect a new billboard.
The next day did a great deal to restore my former attitude of appreciation. The crowd raved over the food, and I enjoyed spending time with family I rarely see. Patrons went back for multiple rounds, and it was mid afternoon before the crowd began to disperse. My uncle led the exodus.
“I’ve got to get on home and catch my goats. They’re loose on 300 acres, and I really need to round them up.” As with any crowd steeped in a background of agriculture, heads nodded and no follow-up questions were necessary. After my earlier tangle with farm life, I was more than happy to leave animal husbandry to the pros.
© 2012 – Traci Carver