I cheat sometimes. Let’s just get that out in the open.
I’m a cheater.
There, I said it. Sometimes I order my groceries to be delivered or for them to shop for me and meet me outside and put everything in my car. Sometimes I bring my dog to daycare so he can play with other dogs and get tired so I don’t have to walk him. Sometimes I walk him while someone is shopping for my groceries.
I’m a cheater in other ways too, don’t think it’s that simple.
I’ve cheated on myself.
I cheated myself out of a million loads of laundry by teaching my daughters at a very young age how to wash their own. And I cheated myself out of making a million lunches and maybe half a million dinners by also teaching them how to cook. I’ve cheated myself out of some emotional times by teaching them that they can solve their friendship problems on their own as they navigated their way through childhood and their teens.
I cheat at the holidays too.
As a baker, I have somehow figured out how to not have to bake for the holidays because my husband (sometimes with the help of his sister and some of my kids) would make apple, pumpkin and lemon meringue pies while I steer clear of the kitchen.
Don’t worry, I have to cook so much that it definitely makes up for that. But that’s another place I cheat.
I cheat on the turkey!
After years of trying to jam in a very large bird into a very small oven, and just as many years of trying to cook everything ahead of time so that the oven was free for said gigantic bird, I got a stand alone electric roaster.
When we finally renovated and expanded our kitchen, I had two ovens and I was in heaven! But that meant I could now cook more stuff as the bird was cooking, or those pies could be baking and we’d have another oven to keep food warm. That electric roaster would come out of the basement for every holiday and the big ass bird could be left alone to cook to perfection. Besides, a lot of times our bird was around 24lbs and it didn’t usually fit in any oven roasting pan AND I didn’t enjoy having to bend down awkwardly to lift up that sucker and all it’s boiling hot juices.
My sister cheats too. I don’t know if she does it all the time, but I know that she’s DEEP FRIED her turkey and I count that as cheating. Have you done that? I know many people have done it. All cheaters.
But that’s not the only way I cheated on the bird.
It’s been over 15 years since I read an article in Gourmet magazine, where they recommended dressing your bird and getting it into a really hot oven. Like 450-500º hot. And you leave it alone, no basting every half hour, no more getting up at 4am to get that bird ready and into a low heat oven for 12-17 minutes a pound. I tried it that first time I read that magazine, and I haven’t looked back. Our big breasted birds would could in just a couple of hours, all the way through, with a gorgeous golden brown, crispy skin and OMG so juicy. SOOOO juicy. Which in turn meant I could make homemade gravy to actually feed an army. Or just my husband with all of his leftovers.
Even the article sounds like it’s cheating! Check it out online HERE.
While the magazine is no longer around, this cookbook is very good if you’re interested! Click the image to check it out.
Anyway, combining the high heat method with the roasting pan method has made my kitchen function extremely well. Paired with pies I didn’t to make, and people who set the table and/or try to wash the dishes as a way to earn their fan-freaking-tastic holiday meal, and I’ve figured out how to game the system!
Even though I’ve managed to cheat the system, I don’t think it’s all that bad, since nobody got hurt, right?
As we head into Thanksgiving I just want to add how thankful I am to have hosted so many holiday meals for my extended family over the years. Thanksgiving is one of the holidays we have always had a houseful, and I truly enjoy making sure everyone’s bellies are full. And now this year, being all the way in California, it’s going to be so quiet.
Not too quiet, my daughters all arrive on Wednesday. Their first time seeing the house we rented. It hasn’t rained once since I arrived in California in September and now it’s going to rain when they arrive! I can’t believe it. Not that it matters, since all I want to do is see my kids, rain or shine! This whole empty nest thing feels SO WEIRD.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Are you cooking? Visiting family? What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?
I’m a total devotee of having my groceries delivered (I go back and forth between Whole Foods/Amazon and Peapod/Stop and Shop. I cheated on my dessert this year, which I brought to my brother’s house. I used a box spice cake mix, but made my own spiced cream cheese frosting. It’s all about the frosting for me anyway! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you for your post! I cheated big time this year, I did not cook except for making my candied sweet potatoes. You see, we moved to NE Ohio this summer to be near lots of famil.y The payoff was being blessed to attend a huge family gathering of over 50 where everyone brought dishes to share. This is one of the huge benefits of being empty nesters but make no mistake, I want to be with my kids and grandkids whenever possible! So Christmas will be in Colorado with all of 17 of us. xo Mitzi
Oh, I hope your Thanksgiving was great!
I cheated big this year. I ordered the Thanksgiving meal for 10 through Cracker Barrel and it was good! And I have plenty of leftovers. I love having my extended family over, but they live 10 hours away, so they come to stay with me for 5 days or so. That’s really hard on me, as no one cooks, cleans, shops, or decorates. So, Cracker Barrel was a blessing. And with one oven I was able to just reheat everything in about 2 hours.
Last Thanksgiving, we left town to spend a long weekend on top of a mountain. Just my husband, son and me. And the dog. It’s good to have options!
I miss that Magazine! Great post!
Happy Thanksgiving! I am not much of a cook so thankful I am going to dinner at a friends!! That is my way of cheating!!
Happy Thanksgiving Christine! This is my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, so I’ll at least follow my Momma’s recipes before I decide how to improve/cheat on them… 🙂
For the first year in I can’t remember how long I’m NOT cooking – we have a very small crew since my kids are scattered in other countries this year, so I actually made RESERVATIONS! In prior years I’ve cooked a nearly 40 lb turkey…I had no idea turkeys could even grow that big. And I discovered the short time cooking method a few years ago too – one where it cooks upside down (even before that I accidentally cooked it upside down once, but that’s another story) at low temp for a bit and flips and finishes at high temp for the crispy crust. I’ll miss the leftovers this year, but we’ll have the traditional meal to celebrate when my kids get back stateside in December! Happy Thanksgiving, Christine!!
Yeah for kids coming home! My daughter did a year of college and is taking a break off this year so not quite the empty nest blues yet. Enjoyed the read!!
I LOVED Gourmet mag. So sad it’s not around anymore. Great post, Christine! Happy Thanksgiving!
My magazine has so many little post it tabs and it’s tattered. I have had many food mags, but that was my favorite. Happy T day to you too!