This was the first year ever that my grown son did not spend Christmas with us. I knew that it had to happen eventually but there was virtually no way to prepare myself for his absence. We’ve spent Christmases away before but we’ve always gone as a family, so having that empty place at the table this year really left an empty space in my heart as well. Twenty years with my son at home seems increasingly like not enough time and I know that soon he will move out on his own and live his own life.
So maybe now you’re wondering, “where did he spend Christmas, and with whom”? The short answer is that he spent his Christmas with the ‘other woman’ in his life and her family in Disneyland. The long answer is that he went there with the intention of asking her to become his wife and even though I knew this ahead of time it was still a shock to me and the whole family when we heard the news. Twenty is young. There is just no beating around the bush…both of them are quite mature, responsible adults but, oh, they are so young! My son is sure he has found ‘the one’ that he wants to share the rest of his life with and he is a practical boy, eager to begin adult life. She is a great girl and we’ll be happy to welcome her into our family. Fortunately they are waiting until they are both out of secondary school to tie the knot.
And so I planned one last holiday ‘hurrah’ blow out meal, inviting my son’s fiancée, her parents, and my parents to share a meal. I really wanted to go all out so I decided that it was the perfect time to bring the Echelon Foods Turducken out of the freezer. I’ve never planned such a meal before and I found that it really helped to be super organized and to do most of the preparation the day before. The Turducken was pre seasoned and went right from the package into the oven with no fuss at all. I had mis-calculated the time the 4.7 kg fully stuffed Turducken would take to cook and I ended up fiddling around with the time a bit. I also had no idea when my parents would arrive from their white knuckle drive over the mountains. The Turducken went in a 250°F oven at noon, with my intention to have it served around 5 pm. In hindsight I’m not sure why I was even thinking that it would be done! Fortunately after an hour I increased the heat to 300°F and soon we could smell that familiar, comforting turkey smell. About halfway through the cooking time I did remove the roaster lid and increase the heat a bit more to give it a bit of colour. I also basted it with butter a couple of times as well. When the final temperature on the thermometer read 165°F, I deemed the Turducken ready to eat. We took it out around 6pm…right around the time my parents walked in the front door. As the Turducken rested, I had time to finish plating all the dishes. Hubby then carved up the bird (s) which was really easy for him because it was all boneless, except the legs. He had an audience, though, as everyone was quite interested in seeing what the inside of a Turducken looked like. Once he was done carving, we set the Turducken onto the feasting table along with the other dishes, welcomed our visitors, and toasted the engagement. Then we ate. One quality that I really like about my ‘prospective’ daughter in law is that she comes from a family that appreciates a good meal and great wine. I love that she comes over, lured by my instagram food photos, with a bottle of wine in hand. Her family had provided us with a large tray of perfect Scalloped Potatoes which went well with the Spinach Stuffing Balls and Bourbon ‘Baked’ Beans that I had made. I left the construction of the Sweet Potato and Kale Salad to my daughter, who did a wonderful job.
My table isn’t fancy, it’s a fold up. My plates are from IKEA and by being a food blogger, there is no way that I could ever have a matching set of serving dishes or wine glasses but what does that count? I love that the food on the table is delicious and made with love and good intentions. Most importantly, it’s surrounded by those I love.
Echelon Foods provided the Turducken for our family feast and so I must divulge that this is a sponsored post. We really enjoyed the opportunity to try something new and we were all surprised with how flavourful the meat was and how it was enhanced by the spicy Italian sausage stuffing. I definitely appreciated how much easier it made my dinner preparation!