Thanksgiving Day 1999

Note: This little piece was originally posted for the rest of my family, who were spending Thanksgiving in Hawai’i. At the time, we didn’t have a digital camera, so the photos were taken with a Polaroid Spectra and scanned using an HP OfficeJet All-In-One. They were posted almost in real-time, with a lag of no more than five minutes. Unfortunately, one of the few amenities lacking in the rental house in Hawai’i, was an Internet connection. So, my family didn’t get to see these photos until much later.

Happy Thanksgiving! We wanted to share a bit of our day.

John bastes the turkey. We used our usual recipe which calls for an overnight soak in a brine solution. We like brining because it gets the turkey out of our rather small fridge and into a bucket of brine, so it’s out of the way.

As far as the brining process goes, we defrost the frozen turkey overnight in a solution using one pound of salt in enough water to submerge the bird completely in a five-gallon bucket. Since the turkey tends to float, we weight it down with an ice-pack. We also add herbs and seasonings to the brine. If it is unseasonably warm, we throw more ice or ice-packs into the brine as well, but usually it is okay in the unheated dining room, which stays quite cold. We dare not park the bird outside, because the coyotes and raccoons would make off with it.

Update, 2001: we no longer baste the turkey, so the oven door gets opened only three times: once to put the bird in, once to check it and flip it, and once to pull it out. We have found this cuts a good hour off the cooking time. We cook by time, and check the internal temperature with an old-fashioned probe thermometer. Why no remote-sensor-probe thermometer? Because we also now have a toddler who would find the cord and the device itself irresistible. See, this is the stuff they just don’t tell you on the cooking shows.

John flips the bird. We ended up with a big turkey, nearly 20 pounds. Not the size we’d have chosen, but it was sort of chosen for us by the folks at Ralph’s. Not bad for a free bird. Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that we need a larger roasting pan.

Update, 2001: after shopping the Calphalons and All-Clads, we bought a nice heavy aluminum French Roaster from Target of all places. Big enough for a 20-pound-plus turkey, with a non-stick V-rack, $20, such a deal!

Ondine’s centerpiece. She’s been watching Martha Stewart Living during the day. Does it show?

Ondine’s other centerpiece. This one is sitting in the living room. The leaves and stuff came from our yard.

Ondine sets the table as zero hour approaches.

Two turkeys. Ready right on the dot!

Dig in! Here’s a turkey, partially carved, plus some fixings. The rest of the meal, including the wonderful yams, brussels sprouts, herbed mashed potatoes, and stuffing (all brought by B&B), are on the other counter.

Dinner. And a lot to be thankful for.

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! From left to right, John, Barbara, Ondine (in foreground), Bill.

Make a wish! B&B make a wish, pull, and pull, and ... pull some more ... and the wishbone ... EXPLODES! B gets impaled by a bone shard (lightly impaled). Ondine ducks flying wishbone fragments. We find the peak of the wishbone across the kitchen, having ricocheted off the wall. We decide to take this as a sign that all our wishes will be fulfilled emphatically.

Pie at B&B’s. We go next door for pie by the fireplace. The reason for two pies? B is allergic to gluten (as in flour, as in wheat, as in pie crusts), so the square dish is pumpkin pie filling and cream cheese.

Turkish Coffee. B prepares a wonderful, cardamom-laced Turkish Coffee using her new briki. It’s delicious! We enjoy coffee and pie by the fireplace, thankful to be surrounded by so much warmth and love.

More of our lives, only much more-current
The Kuraoka Family Website, including our inordinately popular weekly diary of ordinary family life. By the way, it has been a few years since these photos were taken. We now have a child, with another on the way.
John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter, John’s business site.
Memory Quilt Memoirs, Ondine’s business site.