First off, it is not worth losing your mind over: Thanksgiving dinner.
If worse comes to worse, serve sandwiches.
I'm not joking.
Karen's problem is she's a new step-mom. Her own kids will have the usual that is also what they want. She wanted to do a good job for her step-daughter. That's great, that's wonderful.
But I'm willing to bet that any child has more than one favorite thing.
The step-daughter said stuffing. No problem. With egg.
Karen was looking for recipes that you whip them in (eggs). No. Most people don't make stuffing like that anymore. If you do, you're usually doing it in a pan (nothing wrong with that) and you want it to be really stiff, not fluffy. You're baking raw eggs into your stuffing mix.
But I asked, "How old is your step-daughter?"
Okay, has she seen it cooked? Can she tell you what was done?
No. She just knows it from the table.
Then you're not using raw eggs.
You really can't taste the egg when you mix them raw with the bread crumbs (and/or the rest) and bake. And you can't see it.
What she was talking about was boiled eggs. Sliced or diced or somehow put into the stuffing.
That's when I got off the phone long enough to see if Wally's mother was available and could join me on a three-way with Karen. Yes, she could.
Thank goodness. Wally's mother lives in (and grew up in) Florida. And this is a southern thing. She said she does see that in Florida and had an aunt who used to bring extra stuffing but with eggs. You boil four eggs. You then slice them or dice them (her aunt sliced).
You then bake your stuffing with the sliced egg in the dressing and with three or so slices on top of the stuffing.
If you're using it in stuffing you're making on the stove top, dice it and add it after you add the crumbs to the boiling water.
Four eggs is the general rule.
After we figured it out, Karen's step-daughter came in and I said, "Ask her about dessert?" Her favorite dessert is pound cake. And she tells Karen that if she'll make a pound cake, she doesn't need anything else.
That's usually the case. Karen's great with pound cakes, by the way. But usually kids don't just have one dish they want. And they will understand if you say, "I'm going to have to get a recipe, let's work on that together for Christmas before it gets here, and in the meantime, let's have your favorite dessert instead."
But the main reason I wanted Wally's mom on the phone was to get across the message: It's not worth it.
You do the best you can and then you let it go.
C.I. pulls off an incredible Thanksgiving every year. My son Mike's goes so I hear about it and see pictures. (Mike is with Elaine. Elaine and C.I. were in college together. The first Thanksgiving, C.I. was going to head home when she found Elaine had no where to go. Her parents were dead, her brother was out of the country. Since that first Thanksgiving, Elaine and C.I. have almost every Thanksgiving together. It's their tradition.
So C.I. has a ton of guests. There are tables and tables. And she supervises the turkeys -- she actually cooks them herself. She does some of the sides as well. She will stay up all night and everything will be perfect. She'll usually disappear for an hour or so and take a nap and then rejoing everyone.
Now this is her big holiday. Christmas? She has that all catered. But she cooks Thanksgiving and if you asked her, even with all she's doing, she'd tell you the same thing, you can only do so much and at some point you have to let it go.
So do not stress. It's not going to make you have a good holiday and you're probably not going to be fun to be around.
If a dish doesn't work out, it doesn't work out.
Oh well. And if that means all you have is a ham and mashed potatoes or a turkey and green beans, that's all you have. That's more than some people have.
I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but most people don't remember the food. If the food's good (or even great), they eat and enjoy it. But people remember more what was said at the table, etc. I wish people remembered food.
I may write about cooking again tomorrow night. Like most, I won't be blogging on Thursday. (Unless there's an Iraq snapshot. If there's a snapshot, I will blog.) C.I. will be posting at least two entries. She'll do a snapshot if the news on the ground in Iraq warrants it.
I will be back to posting Friday night.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday: