Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanks Mother Nature

First off, Thanksgiving was a success!! It was almost a disaster.

I decided to do most of my prep early on Friday, so that Saturday I wouldn't have overheated the house with the oven and it would be comfortable for guests.

My final menu:

Cheese Platter *
Stuffed Mushrooms
Salad *
Bread Rolls *
Deviled Eggs
Turkey with Gravy
Yankee Dressing
Cranberry Chutney
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Sweet Potato Casserole
Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whip Cream
Strawberry Pie
Swedish Apple Pie
(dishes with * were brought by others)

I had completed everything by the time the turkey went on the BBQ at 3pm. I decided to have a very casual meal, just because I didn't know who was coming, and a sit down would have been difficult.

A massive thunderstorm was rolling in, so amongst all of my cooking, I was driving Jono and his dad between farms and paddocks trying to harvest as much as possible before the rain.

It started raining quite heavily, and Jono came home to get me. He was going to check for fires. This time of year, when there is a thunderstorm with lots of lightening but little rain, fires are a huge risk. It is so dry, and an unharvested wheat paddock burns in a matter of minutes given the correct wind.

We drove to the tops of hills looking for smoke in areas we had seen lightening strike. He made the call it was getting to rainy to keep harvesting, so before getting his dad and machinery stopped we quickly went home to check the temperature of my turkey.

Then it happened. Lightening struck.

Oh holy crappers! I screamed like a girl, so did Jono. We could feel the static electricity, my hairs were all on end.

It had struck the 60 foot television antenna in our backyard. Jono was maybe 2 feet from one of the straining posts, and I was 15 feet further away almost to the door.

Whoever said lightening never strikes the same place twice, clearly never had a giant tower in their backyard in relatively flat country. It hit there on this past New Years Eve.

So we quickly jumped back in the car (after determining my turkey was okay in the barbecue) and raced out to the paddock. We shuffled vehicles then I came back to one of the sheds, and had to flat out sprint through the rain to get home. Plus I was trying to convince myself I could outrun lightening, ha.

Uh oh. No power. Damn lightening had surged down our power line and blown the whole line, our 2 neighbors lost power too. With only 3 houses on our line we are super low priority for the electric company.

No big deal, just hours before my massive thanksgiving dinner. Ahhhhhh! Luckily, Jonos best friend is an electrician, so he came out early for dinner to hardwire a massive generator to our house.

We were without power for 3 1/2 hours before the generator was going. It came on right as darkness fell and minutes before the first guests arrived.

Now that is something to be thankful for.

I have the worlds largest oven, so everything fit in to heat up. The only thing that really needed to be cooked was the green bean casserole. Thank goodness I decided to put the bird on the barbecue. It wouldn't have been ready if I hadn't.

Just FYI. I had a backup plan. I was going to get Jono's old barbecue and use it as my oven to heat everything up. His old one is still nice and works great, but I replaced it with the taj mahal of barbecues.

So how did everyone enjoy dinner? They loved it! Everyone was shocked by the amount of food, and it some is so different from anything Aussies would eat.

Sweet Potato Casserole- they loved it, but were highly skeptical of potatoes and marshmallows at first. Everyone thought this was pumpkin pie.

Jumbalaya- those that ate it loved it, others were scared off by the idea of spice (it was so bland)

Yankee Dressing- loved it (thanks granny!!) but they couldn't quite understand why it wasn't inside the turkey.

Deviled Eggs- huge hit!

Pies- now Australians have meat pies, they are known for them. When I said pumpkin pie they assumed it was a savory dish. Wrong! The pumpkin pie turned out great (after putting it in the oven I went to sit on the harvester so the crust edges were a bit crispy, and I was flipping out that it wouldn't work from a real pumpkin). They were all surprised by the flavor and texture of the pie. I used my grandmas recipe with candied ginger and rum, so my version has an extra kick to it. They LOVED the strawberry pie, I'm making it again for Christmas. Swedish Apple Pie went over well, but it wasn't as foreign to them as the others.

Lessons learned- As Dad always says, boy scouts motto "be prepared". I am so glad everything was organized before disaster struck, I will do it again next year hopefully sans lightening.

Love y'all!

PS Sorry all my food pictures are leftovers, my phones were dying and then I lost power, and then they were dead and I was too busy drinking wine to care!

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