Thanksgiving without…. an oven?

So my oven broke. Two days before I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 18 people.

Honestly, I was too busy to notice, what with trying to get all my work done before everyone checked out for the holiday, and the kids being off school and the mayhem that entails, and we had been out of town over the weekend…

Well, let’s just say it was the day before Turkey day and I woke up at 5 am in a panic. Really, what was I going to do without an oven? I had visions of everyone quietly picking at the food on their plates, not making eye contact around the table, because no-one wanted to be the first one to say out loud, “Ummmmm…. why is everything cold?”

Once I woke up all the way, my first coherent thought was, “What wine goes with cold turkey? At least I’ll get the wine right…” But seriously. The turkey was not the problem, anyway. My husband was frying deep frying the gobbler outside, so at least I knew that was taken care of, but that left all the sides.

So ¬†with nothing left to do but admit defeat, I sucked it up and called my mother in law, who lives a mile away, and worked out an oven schedule with her. She’d cook her world famous stuffing Thursday morning, and my mother’s decadent sweet potatoes with praline topping would go in during the early afternoon. Then we’d turn the heat down and keep everything warm until we could bring it back to my house to serve. She even had a hideous warmer contraption that plugged in on my buffet that did an ok job of keeping everything decently warm, even if it looked like everything that was tragic about appliances in the 70′s.

It somehow all came off without a hitch. We had games and crafts for the kids, everyone laughed and joked and had a great time, and no-one complained about having to bring their food in Yeti coolers so that it made the trip to my house hot. Now Thanksgiving is over, and an Arctic blast cold front is on its way, and thankfully the stove still works so the turkey gumbo that we’ll make this weekend with the frozen carcass won’t be a problem. Now my only problem is to figure out what Martin Ulisse wine pairs best with turkey and andouille gumbo????

Weird Science

Every year I dread it. On my way to Meet the Teacher night, I must brace myself. There’s a pep talk involved: I tell myself, “You must calm down. You can handle it this year. He’s getting bigger, can start to do it himself. It’s going to be ok.” Then I walk into the science room and start hyperventilating. The teacher introduces herself, runs through classroom procedures and the curriculum for the year, and it all seems fine. But then, she announces the due date for IT. IT is the Science Fair Project. IT is my worst nightmare.

I didn’t like science the first time around, when I was a student. Nor did I like art. I am not crafty- I look on Pinterest and can honestly say that there is no way that I could do one single thing people post on there. Just thinking about trying to do a craft makes me woozy. The combination of science experiment and crafty display board LITERALLY MAKES ME HAVE PANIC ATTACKS.

This year I vowed to be different. There would be no panic, no yelling, no hysteria. We started the project early, I made sure to pick a super easy one that was doable in a day or two, but most importantly, I picked the bottle of Martin Ulisse wine that was going to get me through it all. My savior was the Veleta Tempranillo: described on the MU website as “velvety, sultry, and complex,” and I knew the minute I pulled it off the shelf that this wine and I were going to be great friends.

So, I calmly sipped the wine while we bounced tennis balls over and over again and timed their bouncing. I calmly sipped the wine while I explained to my oldest darling how to use Microsoft Excel. I calmly sipped the wine while he typed out his hypothesis and conclusion. And, most importantly, I calmly sipped the wine while everything was cut and pasted onto the infamous posterboard, which, we were told last year, was “too white,” so we had to be sure this year to include lots of fancy special effects.

Tempranillo was everything that it was said to be and more, a pleasure to sip, AND I CREDIT IT WITH SAVING MY SANITY. I wonder if I should have added it to the “Materials” list we turned in for the project???

Fall into the Spirit

I absolutely love fall. I think it’s my favorite time of year. There’s just something exciting about that first breath of cool air that makes you want to get things done after all those long, hot, lazy days of summer. Down here in the South, we have cabin fever in August and September because it is simply too hot to go outside and do anything besides swim in a pool. When the cool air comes, we can finally head back outside again without being hit in the face with oppressive heat and humidity. Festivals and carnivals are scheduled every weekend, and America’s favorite pastime, football watching, kicks into high gear. And suddenly, after months of drinking the Martin Ulisse Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Cerasuolo, (which, if you haven’t tried, you simply must- it is my favorite wine to bring to a summer party because it is fruit forward and deliciously cool but also dry enough to not taste too sweet), I find myself in October turning back to reds to complement the crisp autumn evenings. My favorite go-to wine for this weather is the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo because of its versatility (goes great with steak, or roasted butternut squash, or chicken stew- or whatever it is you’re eating tonight!). Casual evenings on the patio with friends become a standard this time of year, and this great wine is so smooth-drinking that it’s even great on it’s own. Now if only I could figure out how to show the football game on the patio…