Move Over Martha, Make Room For the Redneck

Up north, here in the land O' Canada, we are celebrating our turkey long weekend. In our family, not only do we give thanks to the pilgrims before us, but we slap on the paper hats, grab a few candles and celebrate Fric and Frac's birthday with Boo's family.

Nothing like a little Betty Crocker's frosting to wash down all that pie and turkey.

Every year, since I managed to wrangle my way into this family, I have been responsible for bringing the desserts to these family functions. Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Groundhog's day, my in-laws eagerly await for our family to arrive to see the bevy of sugary products I bring in from the car.

It's a lot of pressure to put on a mom who taught her five year old daughter to make toasted tuna sandwiches for lunch so the mother wouldn't starve to death.

A lot of pressure for a woman who's greatest culinary accomplishments lay in her skill to operate a can opener and a microwave blindfolded and with one arm tied behind her back.

A lot of pressure for a chick who still hasn't learned how to use her fancy new stove with it's pretty convection oven and overwhelming choice of digital buttons.

(The instruction manual is two inches thick people! Who has time to read that???)

However, this is a burden I must bear and since it means I have total control over the dessert options available to cram down our gullets, I try not to bitch about it. At least publicly, where any of the in-laws could hear. They may decide to change their mind and assign me as the official (and dreaded) turkey cooker.

Nothing says family love than having to shove your hand up a dead turkey's butt and pull out the giblets. I'd rather sell my soul than wrestle with a slippery, slimy carcass every year.

(Everyone has their thing. A dead bird is not mine.)

Because I am me - a poor planner, a procrastinator and all around failure as a Martha Stewart wannabe - I waited until the morning of our scheduled Thanksgiving supper. Nothing like putting a little pressure on myself to bake four different types of pie as well as a birthday cake, to get the blood pumping.

I might have been better served to be the reincarnation of Betty Crocker if I hadn't gone out with my darling Boo and a herd of our friends the night before to celebrate a birthday. I might have been better served if I had not ingested every alcoholic beverage I could get my mitts on. And there is the small fact I may have been better if, in a moment of drunken stupidity and complete lapse of dignity, I had stayed off the mechanical bull instead of demonstrating to the underaged patrons of the establishment that I may be old, but I can still ride a bull. One handed and pie-faced.

It's good to be queen.

However, none of that was helping me bang around my kitchen, hung-over, slightly bruised and dessert-less the next morning.

After much coffee and painkillers, I managed to bake four pies. I died a little bit on the inside every time I had to roll out another pie crust, but my pride wouldn't allow me to cheat and go to the nearest bakery.

I knew if I did that, I would be on turkey duty forever, and that is a task that must be avoided at all costs.

So the apple pie was over-cooked, the pumpkin pies had too much nutmeg and the praline pie looked lopsided. They were edible, on time and fresh. Boo couldn't believe I had it in me. He was secretly phoning the nearest bakeries, looking to salvage my reputation and save me from having to wake my ass up in the wee hours of the morning next year to shove a bird in the oven.

Shame on you, Boo for doubting me. But I love you for knowing me so well.

Turning my slightly blurred focus on to the birthday cake, I rummaged through my pantry, looking for a box of cake mix. I ripped that closet apart, hoping for a devil food's mix or a lemon cake. Anything.

Luck was not on my side. Not a cake mix or pudding package to be had. Pushing up my sleeves, I knew I had to delve deep. I could do this. I just made pies from scratch. Surely a cake wouldn't be too difficult. I had done it before. On eight hours of sleep and no alcohol running through my veins. Any one can do that. But it takes a special type of person (re: desperate and stupid) to try it my way...baking on three hours of sleep and reeking of liquor from every pore I had.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. I did it. I triumphed. No store bought desserts for this family. I avoided bird duty with every successful dessert I pulled out of my ass.

Life was good. Until I got cocky.

In my defence, it looked perfect. Yet, I'll admit, if I had paid more attention to what I was doing, instead of gloating to Boo about what a super woman I had morphed into while he looked like death warmed over and could barely function after one night of recapturing our misspent youth, I may have noticed the cake wasn't completely baked.

(It looked so perfect in the three seconds before it fell and crushed my dreams.)

It still tasted good. Doesn't that count for something?

Damn. I'm sure there is a lesson to be learned somewhere there, but I'm choosing to ignore it.

With no time left and bird duty looming on the fore front of my hungover mind, I did what any woman of desperation would do.

I bought a cake. And blamed the baking disaster on my husband.

Even with ice cream and strawberries, it still tasted like cardboard.

Who said you couldn't have your cake and eat it too? Or in my case, pie. I wouldn't touch that store bought crap if my life depended on it. We fed it to the throng of kids instead while we adults cleaned off the pie plates.

I'm free of turkey baking for another the skin of my Safeway-saved ass.

Like I said, it is good to be queen.