Because of the 0.00014% of me that is asian, I wanted to surprise the family with some Vietnamese pho for Friday’s dinner. I figured turkey pho was appropriate to the season so why not attempt it when we had all real components. I had thought about doing this since last week when the roomies and I had made our best chicken pho to date. The only thing that I didnt think about was that my hometown would not be the most ethnically diverse place like back in the NYC area.
The whole reason for this stretch from normal eating, you know turkey sandwiches and leftovers, was just to surprise Larry since he likes pho so much. He and I went out on Black Friday looking for all the accoutrement for the dish, but we were out of luck. We found most of the spices at a local country market, but when we went looking for rice noodles, we struck out in every location. It was funny to stroll the “ethnic food” aisle and have it only be one side of the aisle and as wide as I could spread my arms. Funnier still is that all ethnic food around here revolves around ramen noodles and assorted asian pre-made sauces or taco shells and cans of refried beans.
My hometown has its charm, but doesnt like to extend itself too far outside its comfort zone in many areas. One of those would be food. I think pho would be classified as “big city food” and might not make it around here where steak and potatoes and chain restaurants rule the culinary landscape. Dont get me wrong, I love me some steak and pototes, but I could skip out on an Olive Garbage or crApplebee’s for the rest of my life. Give me hometown, one-off cooking. Give me hole-in-the-wall, you-gotta-know-somebody-to-get-you-in type restaurants. And give me some damn rice noodles so I can make the first batch of pho Hagerstown has even seen. Please…
I woke up a little too late today, 1130 to be exact. I havent slept like that in a long time, I kind of feel bad for it. I grabbed a coffee and jumped right into Thanksgiving mode and helped out wherever I could with the prep work though mom and Larry had most of it under control. We were deep frying the turkey again this year, the only way to do it in my opinion, so I was in charge of frying the bird. Easy task when your equipment is working, but not so easy when people dont return your stuff like you leant it out. I didnt test the burner out before I put the oil on, but after 15 minutes I knew this wasnt going to work. Larry confirmed that the regulator wasnt working properly and on Thanksgiving Day we have to replace it or not have turkey. Lowe’s is closed and WalMart is the only place we could find. We had to buy a whole new setup and of course when we got it home and assembled, it didnt work correctly.
The burner wouldnt stay lit so after almost throwing it across the garage, we rigged it up with a nut and zip tie so the flame was wide open. Redneck ingenuity rules again!! Full flame burning and the peanut oil was ready in minutes. Its turkey time!! One 14 lb bird done and crispy in 45 minutes, ding dong! Yams, green bean casserole, oyster stuffing, regular stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry/orange zest relish, baked corn, and baked pineapple on the menu! Because of the turkey fiasco, we were behind the 8 ball with everyone of these fixins as well. Timing’s off in every aspect of the preparation and this really screwed with the day. We were almost 3 hours late on eating so tensions were a little high, a perfect thing on Thanksgiving Day. All in all we had a good meal even with all the troubles of the day. Im thankful for the company and for being home at this time. Im thankful for my friends and for my family being around to “enjoy” the day. I just wish little brother would have come through to make an appearance. Selfishness claims another family holiday. Not just for us, but for anyone who has been there and seen that. Just glad he is still around even if he isnt “around.”
If people could put aside their differences and really sit down to hash things out, life would be easier. Instead of being hardheaded, take a breath, calm down and realize time is short. My family is getting older and who knows how many more we all have together. Its sad to think about this, but its true. And its sad to think that my brother is missing out on these times. Selfishness get us nowhere. And nowhere is where “we” are right now little bro.
Turkey Eve-Eve Sheng Feng Roadtrip Extravaganza I said!! I’ll break down the title for you because you probably think that I am crazy sauce. Today is Turkey Eve, so yesterday would have been Turkey Eve-Eve. Sheng Feng was the horrible bus I road on from NYC to Hagerstown. Roadtrip Extravaganza is my try at sarcasm about this whole “amazing” trip home to be with family and friends. I figured it need to be broken into several parts because I wrote for nearly 4 hours straight. It’s just too long for one post.
Here’s how the trip went. I wrote most of this as it was happening so I just let my mind run and let my fingers ramble on. Consider yourself warned, hopefully you will be entertained.
After seeing that other methods of travel were too expensive and my usual buses were booked, I decided to go out on a limb and take one of the Chinatown buses that rolls directly into my hometown. Weird right? My hometown happens to be on a major highway running north and south so I guess it isn’t that weird, plus it has one of the larger outlet malls on the east coast there. But a direct bus has to be too good to believe.
Stretching from my normal means of travel had me worried from the jump but I had to get down to Hagerstown for turkey and I didn’t want to wait until Thanksgiving Eve or the trip would have been exponentially longer. One year while in AZ, I traveled north to Phoenix for the holiday instead of staying in Tucson. The trip is usually 2 hours max, but traveling on Turkey Eve took me 5 hours! AND I even pulled some illegal maneuvers and side routes. If I would’ve sat in traffic for Tucson, the trip may have taken 8 hours.
I have been worried about this Chinatown bus since I looked at the website, but I explored the option anyway because I needed to get home somehow. The website looks like a 6-year-old made it. The buses come equipped with AC and bathrooms, how amazing (sarcasm)!! BUT NO WEB and as I would find out upon entering the bus, they forgot to include leg room in my ticket price. Despite all my bad feelings about this situation I entered my credit card information (Right at this moment a Chinese woman named Matt Colvin is getting her new Maryland license printed up and is afforded freedom hiding under my guise. Good luck Chinese lady named Matt Colvin, I hope we get to meet someday. Hey wait!! We share a birthday! Youre gonna be 30 soon, but you’ll still wont look a day over 4tween.). I really can go on a tangent sometimes, sorry. This is what flows from my brain on a regular basis when it’s not restrained. Read more…