I think channeling your inner-Julia is a good idea in general, but on Thanksgiving, it's more necessary than ever. I mean, here's this major holiday with all these fancy, labor-intensive dishes that most of us only ever cook once a year, plus there's the added pressure of delivering this meal to a crowd of hungry and expectant friends and family. It's enough to put even the most confident and composed cook on high alert.
This is why we need Julia. What do you think she'd tell us when faced with our most stressful Thanksgiving mishaps?
If the Store Is Out of Canned Pumpkin
Julia would say, "Well, how rude! Here, you've gone all the way to the store to buy your canned pumpkin for your pumpkin pie, only to find that the rest of the town has gotten theirs first. So I think you have two options: Go grab a nice, jolly sugar pumpkin and make your own purée — it's really not that hard and you can certainly manage it. Or your second option is to just tell your guests they'll have to go to the neighbor's house for pumpkin pie this year!"
If Your Turkey Is Still Frozen on Thanksgiving Morning
Julia would say, "Put that bird in a great big sink full of cold water and tell her she'd better get herself thawing! Or, you know, you can also just roast your turkey frozen. It feels rather improper and not at all what one does, but as long as you don't tell your mother in-law what you've done, everyone will be perfectly happy."
If Your Pie Crust Cracks
Julia would say, "Oh, pffft! If your pie crust cracks, just patch it back up again. That's what the scraps are for. Besides, once you fill it with your pumpkin, apple, or pecan filling — what have you — no one will ever know, dear."
If the Pie Burns in the Oven
Julia would say, "This is why I always make an extra pie — or even two. You can never have too much pie. But really, if your poor pie has burned, there's nothing to be done but carry on with things with a sturdy spirit. You could always scoop out the filling and serve it with ice cream — tell your guests that instead of pie à la mode, they're getting ice cream à la pie!"
If Your Gravy Is Lumpy
Julia would say, "Now a lumpy gravy, yes, that is cause for concern. Your flour or cornstarch has gone all clumped up on you, hasn't it? But all is not lost — just grab your handy strainer and strain those lumps. Out, darn lumps, out!"
If Your Mashed Potatoes Are Gummy
Julia would say, "The best fix for this is not getting yourself into the situation to start with. Use only starchy potatoes, like Russets or those lovely yellow Yukon Golds. Mash them right away while they're still warm, and use a potato masher and your upper arm strength. Put down that electric mixer! Overworking the spuds is what gets you gluey mashed potatoes. Once gluey, best to scrap this batch and ask someone to run to the store for more potatoes."
If Your Turkey Is Dry
Julia would say, "Turkeys are such tricky things, aren't they? We're told by our friends at the USDA that we can't undercook them, but overcook them by a hair and all the goodness is gone. But here's a great secret that I've learned: There's almost nothing a little more gravy won't solve."
If the Wine Runs Out
Julia would say, "Well, if there's no more wine, that is when you open the liquor cabinet."