Replacement - The act or process of replacing or of being replaced; substitution.

In place of a real Thanksgiving I participated in Nick's second family one on Sunday. Walking on the wild side, I decided to take a crack at cooking something real and thanksgiving-y so I went for scalloped potatoes.

Now we must note that real cooking turned into me grabbing two boxes of dehydrated potatoes (because my mom told me I wouldn't have the patience to scallop real potatoes). However I defend that I actually did cook because I added butter, water, and milk...well almost.

After turning on the oven and pulling out the casserole dish I received last year in an assortment of cooking ware, (my exact thought: When the frak am I going to use this) I empty out the contents into a bowl and begin to boil water opting to do so in a sauce pan and not a microwave as I always seem to burn myself with boiled microwave water, it loves to bubble up and out over the Pyrex glass and make my skin bubble like the wafflecone irons did at the Cold Stone that served as my first job.

So I add the powder, dehydrated potatoes, and large slab of butter to a mixing bowl, then realize I should just start this off in the casserole dish cause the sauce might not transfer well. I transfer the dry contents over to the dish. After the water has come to a steady boil I slowly pour the contents into the dish. Next instruction: whisk. Okay, I can do that, it used to be one of my jobs in the kitchen when I was small. I still do it with eggs today.

Whisk whisk whisk until the butter is melted.

By this time the oven has started to heat up and I place the concoction on the rack.

The house stove and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it because it is gas and I haven't gotten to use a gas stove since I lived back home in San Diego. I am totally one of those snobs who thinks gas stoves cook better. I hate it because the internal thermometer in the oven does not regulate temperature therefore so it goes straight to broil no matter what temp you set it at. It leads to a complex dance of constantly checking temperature, turning the oven on and off, opening the door to let it cool off. Once I had to watch it for just five minutes while Casey ran to the store.

So I can't leave the kitchen, I decide to clean out the fridge which can accumulate a lot of crap with four people living here. During this time I throw away some old milk, a brown head of lettuce, bad dressing, and five jars of moldy pasta sauce. It clears out a lot of room in the fridge which is good as we'll surly be having some leftovers after tonight. As I'm consolidating I notice that I bought milk at the store this morning.

My internal monologue goes something like this:
'Milk? Why? I never drink it and usually just thieve some for the two drops I use when I have cereal once a month. Why would I buy-Ah CRAP!'

I check the back of the Betty Crocker box, just to be sure; add 2/3 cup of milk.
Piss and vinegar.
The stuff has already been in the oven for ten minutes, I pull it out and to my own astonishment blindly measure out a little over 1 1/3 cups of milk for the double recipe. Stir it in best I can and place it back into the oven. I hope this works...

I keep a close eye on the project and after 25 minutes hear the timer go off and pull my albeit slightly botched project out. Once I set it on the stove top I notice a black looking bubble of death has begun to form over the top of the casserole dish. It looks like a burnt marshmallow. I remember scalloped potatoes should be slightly golden brown but this just looks plain unnatural.
 I take a toothpick and pop it with much delight then drag it off the top. I cover it and crack open a beer to celebrate.
Peoples begin to arrive, Joanna cuts the turkey, Brandon shows up with a bota box of wine, and folks begin to eat. I take a tentative bite of the potatoes, they taste just fine. Just like when mom made them.

Later, Brandon, Casey, Casey's sister, and I sit picnic style in the kitchen drinking boxed wine and having thanksgiving. Casey and I discuss for maybe the millionth time how we need to talk to the landlord about getting our dryer and oven fixed. I love to bake and haven't done laundry in a few weeks, I'm inclined to agree.

Even later, whoever is left at the party has begun playing apples to apples. During the game our landlord magically appears with air filters. I, admittedly a bit wine drunk, approach him to inquire about the dryer and stove. He starts looking at it right then! Yayyy! About halfway through writing this blathering post I hear our landlord once again re-enter. He is installing a new stove as I type. Words cannot describe the feelings I'm experiencing. All five of my readers will have to come over for some baked goods. Even the ones in Denmark.

All in all, last night may have been one of the better, if not the best Thanksgiving I've ever been apart of.

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