Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend was a busy one this year, including but not limited to (and in no particular order):

  • working on Saturday morning (due to the project I’m working on requiring some data daily for a few weeks, so everyone on my team has taken on some weekend shifts)
  • lifting weights up and putting them back down again, on two separate days this weekend
  • playing hockey – and winning in overtime!
  • watching the traditional Thanksgiving movie, Venom
  • battling for a mythical Pokémon
  • getting a massage
  • snuggling my cats
  • buying a new heater for the frog tank, since the old one didn’t seem to be working
  • recording a guest appearance on a podcast1
  • working on the course I’m teaching this semester (a combo of marking assignments and preparing slides for this week’s class)
  • writing alt-text for the images in my textbook so that the book can be a little more accessible for people with visual impairments
  • cooking Thanksgiving dinner2
  • more importantly – eating Thanksgiving dinner!
  • packing up all the leftovers so that I will have delicious lunches all this week

Anyhoo, since it’s Thanksgiving I should probably be blogging about things that I’m thankful for rather than just listing all sorts of things that I’ve done this weekend! So here’s a list, in no particular order and definitely not an exhaustive list, of some things that I’m thankful for:

  • I’m thankful that my family and I are all healthy.
  • I’m thankful for Scott, particularly his kindness and generosity and willingness to put up with me doing all the things all the time.
  • I’m thankful for my cats and my frog3.
  • I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head and food on my table.
  • I’m thankful that I have an amazing team at work – we have lots of fun while working hard and producing high quality and useful information to help inform decisions that are important to the health care system.
  • I’m thankful for all of my wonderful friends.
  • I’m thankful that I’m playing hockey better than I ever have before – and for that, I owe thanks to my amazing trainers at the gym. They’ve coached me to be stronger and more powerful than I ever have before.
  • I’m thankful that I live, work, and play in a safe and beautiful place, and I acknowledge that I do this on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and QayQayt Nations.
  • I’m thankful that I have some upcoming vacation and that I have the means to do some travelling for my vacation.

Happy Thanksgiving!



  1. More about that to come later, when it’s released! []
  2. It was a bit of an unorthodox dinner, as we roasted a chicken instead of a turkey. This may or may not have been due to the fact that I was too disorganized to order a turkey and so the only available turkeys at my butcher shop were ones that way eleventy thousand pounds, which is a wee bit too much for just Scott and I, so I decided to get a chicken instead. We had all the other fixings: mashed potatoes, stuffing, and several kinds of veggies! []
  3. Sadly, we lost some frogs over the summer and are down to just one frog: Copernicus the Third. He’s looking a lot less energetic than he used to, but he’s still with us. []


My First Turkey

As we all know, I live by a “go big or go home” philosophy. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth going full tilt, right? In keeping with this, I decided that for my first Thanksgiving as an unvegetarian in the last decade and a half, I should cook a turkey. However, seeing as I had never cooked a turkey before, I was hesitant to invite anyone over to eat said turkey, because I didn’t want there to be any pressure on me in case the turkey turned out to be overcooked and dry or salmonella-licious! Also, the first time I cook *anything*, I find I have to really concentrate to not screw it up, so I’d be a terrible hostess if I invited anyone over and tried to cook a turkey dinner while I entertained. So, instead, I decide to cook a turkey for just me!

My first step was to find a good local butcher shop where I could buy a turkey that had happily run around, eating non-animal foodstuffs and gobble-gobble-gobbling with his turkey friends until such time as someone killed him in the most humane way possible so that I could eat him. I ended up ordering at turkey from Prime Beef in Delta – despite their name, they have lots of animals for you to cook besides cows! Now, I asked for the smallest bird they could get me, which they said would be about 10 lbs. Ten pounds is a lot of bird for one small Beth, but I am a fan of leftovers and turkey freezes well, so I decided to go for it. When I got there to pick it up on Saturday, however, I discovered that the smallest turkey they had, which they reserved for me was this one:

Free range turkey.
My Thanksgiving turkey. I believe his name was Colin.

Yes, you are reading that correctly. That’s a *sixteen* pound turkey! All for one person! Eep! Thank the FSM that turkey freezes well!

Anyway, after carefully following the directions that my sister gave me, I ended up with this:

My first turkey

Not a bad looking turkey, if I do say so myself!

Now, some random thoughts on cooking a turkey dinner:

  • Preparing the turkey brought me back to my lab days. I examined the giblets – “Yup, that’s a liver. And yup, that’s a heart. And, wow, that’s one heck of a long neck!” – and checked out the bones and flexed the joints – “These all seem to be in working order.” When I cut up the meat at the end, I was totally checking out the different muscles and where they inserted into the various bones. So awesome. Also, a turkey baster is just a giant pipette.
  • Once it turned out that my turkey was moist and delicious, I really wished I’d invited people over to share it with me!
  • It’s not that difficult to cook a turkey, but it is time consuming.
  • I also made a boatload of sides dishes, because it’s not a Thanksgiving dinner without them. Side dishes included:
    • roast garlic mashed potatoes
    • mashed turnips
    • steamed carrots and peas
    • baked brussel sprouts
    • Harvard beets1
    • stuffing
    • homemade cranberry sauce, made by my friend Lianna!
  • When I cook, probably my biggest weakness is not coordinating things so that everything is ready at the same time. Often, this is because I forgot that two things need the same pot until I’m partway through making them – and I have a limited number of pots – and thus something ends up done too early and gets cold and other things end up too late. To deal with this problem, I made the following Gantt chart:

Thanksgiving dinner Gantt chart

The great thing about the Gantt chart was that I could start laying up prep & cooking times and make sure that I wasn’t going to need the same pot for two things at the same time (Resource column), or to make sure that I didn’t have myself scheduled to be preparing two different things at the same time (represented in blue, I just had to make sure that I didn’t have more than one blue square at any one time slot). It took a bit of shuffling around to get it to work, but once it was set up, it allowed me to quickly look and see what the next thing I needed to do was. Best. Gantt Chart. Ever!

In conclusion, I’m happy to report that Colin was delicious and I can now add “cooking turkey” onto my list of “things that I can do.” (Cooking gravy, on the other hand, remains on my unachievable list.)



  1. As I said on Twitter, even my beets are nerdy! []


Things For Which I Give Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving. And I have lots of things to be thankfully for.  In no particular order (and undoubtedly this will be in an incomplete list), I’m thankful for:

  • having a roof over my head and a fridge full of nutritious food
  • for being alive and healthy and able to do things that I want to do
  • for my amazing and fulfilling job where I get to do meaningful work, learn new things everyday, and work with some really great people
  • for my awesome friends, near and far
  • for my great family – my parents, my sister, her amazing boyfriend and my niece, the greatest child who ever lived
  • for my two hockey teams – two great groups of ladies with whom I get to play my favourite sport
  • for the fact that it didn’t rain on me during yesterday’s half marathon
  • for my massage therapist. And my back up massage therapist.
  • for the hot yoga I’m going to be doing for the next month
  • for the plane ticket I have to spend Christmas with my family this year
  • for possibilities

Happy Thanksgiving!

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