Everyone has their own way of approaching the holiday season. In the Dasher residence, the week of Thanksgiving is the official beginning of the Christmas holidays, with everything kicking off the night of Thanksgiving. The week usually starts with a lot of house cleaning, which we did this past weekend. Moving some furniture around, preparing the area where the tree will be setup, start thawing the turkeys (we do two of them, one in the oven, one in the oil-less fryer) and cleaning up the patio where I’ll be doing some of the cooking (the smoker and the fryer). We have an oil-less turkey fryer that uses propane. I had my doubts about it when we first bought it, but let me tell you; it is awesome! It’s less dangerous, and it cooks the turkey perfectly every time. Basically, what you have is a big round, sealed frame with a burner that encircles the bottom. Then a big pot with holes around the top, and a drain hole at the bottom. The pot sits inside the larger frame (or pot… the body of the fryer). The way it works is you place the turkey in a basket (sort of like you might do with a normal fryer) and set the basket down inside the pot. You place the cover over it, which is just a metal screen that is meant to trap heat energy that will circulate through the holes around the top of the pot. The sides of the pot are oiled and cooked just prior to putting in the turkey and absorb flavor as you use it. It is awesome! This is the one we have:
Char-Broil Oilless Fryer
So, we usually have to work Monday through Wednesday then we’re off Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning (Thanksgiving Day), we’ll eat a small breakfast because we’ll have so much food later. We’ll have already started the turkey in the oven Wednesday night and been up and down checking on it all night. I’ll get the smoker ready for ham (if we’re doing that, which this year we may do that for Christmas instead) and the oil-less fryer. I’ll start the turkey in the fryer about 2 hours before we plan to eat to leave enough time for prep and carving. My parents will show up around noon, sometimes earlier. We’ll watch Home Alone while we’re cooking. While eating, we generally don’t pay much attention to the TV, so pretty much anything might be on from football to parades if they’re on. After we’ve counted our blessings and eaten, we’ll watch Home Alone 2 and probably doze through half of it. My dad and I will definitely catch some snoozing time after we eat, we always do. My mom sometimes finds her way to the bed in the guest room and crashes for a while.
Once the effects of the big meal wear off and we wake up, it’s time to dive into the many delightful desserts my wife and mom always make. I usually get a small piece of everything, and generally, we might watch one more Christmas movie or start one of the Home Alone movies again (because we didn’t really watch it to begin with). After that, we put up the tree and put out all the decorations. My parents usually head home about the time we start putting up the tree, and we always make sure to pack as much leftovers for them to take with them as possible! I always try to sneak more leftovers into their car before they leave! The only thing I don’t let them take if there is any left is mom’s sweet potato pie… that is MINE.
So, the night of Thanksgiving, my wife, daughter, and myself… we’ll decorate the tree, put together puzzles (Christmas pictures that we hang when complete), and just relax. The following day, I usually start to work on outside lights. I would usually pop up our camper (we have a pop up) and instead of going in and out of the house, I use it as my “base camp” while decorating the house. There I would make coffee, repair lights and other decorations, or just take a break. I would have Christmas music playing. This year however, I sold the camper to my Aunt. So, I’ll back the Camaro out and set up base camp on the carport this time. I usually spend all day on this because I spend a lot of time getting the lights just right.
Once the lights are all up and working properly, and Thanksgiving is over, and all the work done, we will spend the rest of our time off doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. We put a lot of energy into Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the rest is much needed and very welcome! Sometimes, if we’re up to it, we may do some shopping. But, we never participate in “Black Friday” shopping. We did it once… it was a nightmare. We would rather avoid all that mayhem and shop after the madness is over with.