Introduction: A Very Grad School Thanksgiving

How to have a phenomenally brilliant Thanksgiving Dinner all by yourself while in NYU Grad School thanks to the "mail-able" food your mommy sent you in a very large love filled package! This will teach one how to have a memorable Thanksgiving dinner in a very small Harry Potter like closet of an apartment in the East Village. This is not sad! This is fabulous! And it just adds (and pales in comparison) to the many crazy bizarre moments in my life. it can now be a part of Jen Raines' amazing history....and it's a beautiful story to tell my future children who will undoubtedly be aware of how insane their mother is......

First step, Enjoy the adorable card with my favorite animal on the cover that was sent to me by my sweet sweet mother.......

Step 1:

Clearly, also read the inside of the card. Cry a little. Or a lot, and immediately call Mother to thank her. Especially for memorizing part of your favorite long listed order from Starbucks.

Step 2:

To begin, unpack the joy!

Step 3:

Ooooo pretty decorative stickers, most assuredly meant to decorate the table.

Step 4:

Give the stickers love and think of how rockin your mother is that she knows the bliss of stickers will never leave this 7 year old in a 25 year old body.

Step 5:

Obviously, one must become slightly intoxicated on Thanksgiving like they would with their family. Or not so much because of the tiny little cute bottles. How brilliant are they?!

Step 6:

Unpack the fresh from the bogs cranberries. Pretend it is a gourmet relish.

Step 7:

What?!! Its homemade stuffing!

Step 8:

These took hours to prepare. I am surprised they made it 1,000 miles in a box still fresh.

Step 9:

Pumpkin in a can for pies!!!

Step 10:

The only way to send milk and eggs for the pie. Incredible. Didn't even know they did that to eggs.

Step 11:


Step 12:

A necessity. matching plates.

Step 13:

Mouth watering mostly.

Step 14:

Continue to unpack and find yams!!!!!

Step 15:

Don't forget to shuck the fresh corn.

Step 16:

The Irish would love this invention. INSTANT!

Step 17:


Step 18:

More hour'dourves!

Step 19:

A 12 pound turkey that will take 13 hours to cook.

Step 20:


Step 21:

My leftovers! She doesn't forget a thing....

Step 22:

Immediately start to engage in the hour'dourves as one would naturally do on this day of feasting...

Step 23:

Now think critically to plan what will take the longest to cook and start with with the pumpkin pies. Remove the top plastic. Smell the delight....

Step 24:

With can-opener, open the pie filling to begin!

Step 25:

Read the back to know what to do. Genius.

Step 26:

Empty contents into large mixing bowl.

Step 27:

Make sure to scoop out all the pumpkiny goodness.

Step 28:

Preheat the oven to said temperature.

Step 29:

Four hundred and twenty five degrees son.

Step 30:

in opening the evaporated milk, puncture opposite ends to allow for air flow and easy dispensing for measuring.

Step 31:

It does wonders. Thank you Mommmie

Step 32:

Measure out milk and add to pumpkin pie bowl.

Step 33:

Put the leftovers in the fridge and use for tea. Or at least thats what i did. If i had Saran-wrap i would have covered it as well.

Step 34:

Figure out how the devil to use "dried powdered whole eggs in a can". (ha devil and eggs, ironic?)

Step 35:

...Or simply read the back of the can to learn.

Step 36:


Step 37:

Reading directions usually clarifies everything. Good to know.

Step 38:

Measure out amount needed according to the can, and use a knife to even off the top for superb measuring accuracy.

Step 39:

Put. In. Bowl.

Step 40:

Admire the unique results. It looks like an egg yolk. Creative food makers....

Step 41:

Add more.

Step 42:

Continue to indulge in the olives. One must stay well nourished while slaving over the stove. Or cans.

Step 43:

Measure out water for the eggs.

Step 44:

Add water to egg powder.

Step 45:

Begin to stir "eggs".

Step 46:


Step 47:

Add eggs to pumpkin pie mix.

Step 48:

Stir to an even consistency.

Step 49:

Get very into the stirring process. Maybe a little too into it....

Step 50:

Pour mixture into pie crust to the top.

Step 51:

Step back and admire.

Step 52:

Open second pie crust for the rest of the leftover pie mix that wouldn't fit in the first pie.

Step 53:

Add filling to the crust and discuss with and assure the pie that just because it is not as full as the other one does not mean it is any less important or DELICIOUS.

Step 54:

Do the dishes a little at time in order to not create an overwhelming mess. Plus working in a 2 feet by 2 feet kitchen with limited supplies one must re-use utensils.

Step 55:

Dry the materials after washing.

Step 56:

Wash out pie can..

Step 57:

And recycle for a beautiful world!

Step 58:

Before you put the pie in the oven, make sure that the stove you are using for the first time is working properly and that you are not going to ruin anything.

Step 59:

Now put the pie in the center of the oven.

Step 60:

Put smaller still loved pie in as well.

Step 61:

Pay attention to the time to make sure you know when to turn down the heat, and when the pies will be finished.

Step 62:

Begin to make the elite stuffing.

Step 63:

Consult side of box for directions.

Step 64:

Measure water as directed.

Step 65:

Add water to pot. Using already hot scolding water always helps in boil faster. And with this New York apartment one does not really have a choice when using the warm water handle.

Step 66:

Prepare the butter. (Or your roomates butter then write her an " i owe you butter" note) They even tell you on the package the measurements. Always helpful.

Step 67:

Cut needed amount of butter.

Step 68:

Add to the pot of water.

Step 69:

Turn on the stove and bring to a slight boil until the butter melts.

Step 70:

Keep an eye on the clock....

Step 71:

Itsa boilin!

Step 72:

Start pouring stuffing...

Step 73:

...Keep pouring stuffing because you added an extra picture because the pouring action was much more intense....

Step 74:

And then stop pouring.

Step 75:

And start to stir!!!

Step 76:

Cover with lid.

Step 77:

Turn off stove and let stuffing sit. Then fluff before serving.

Step 78:

Wipe up the mess that results from cooking with one hand and photographing with the other which causes one to drop the bag of stuffing mix while trying to frame the scene.

Step 79:

Wash the device after putting stuffing in a side bowl and covering so you can use the pot for the next entree.

Step 80:

Dispose of garbage into proper waste receptacles.

Step 81:

And even recycle the cardboard!

Step 82:


Step 83:

its yam time!

Step 84:

Pour entire contents into pot on stove.

Step 85:

Again, read the directions to once again make sure you know what your doing.

Step 86:

Bring the yams to a boil.

Step 87:

Rinse and recycle...

Step 88:

Its time to turn the oven down on the pies for the rest of their cooking experience.

Step 89:

Ta Dah!

Step 90:

Double check the already recycled pie can to make sure your doing everything right. Double check, it never hurts!

Step 91:

Now its time for the potatoes.

Step 92:

I love potatoes!

Step 93:

Check on the yams that are doing well.

Step 94:

Return focus back to the potatoes and read instructions.

Step 95:

Measure water.

Step 96:

Add water.

Step 97:

Measure out more water because you decide you want 6 servings of potatoes instead of two.

Step 98:

Once again add.

Step 99:

Add amount of salt required.

Step 100:

Add the buttaaa

Step 101:

....To the pot.

Step 102:

Measure out the milk.

Step 103:

Add milk and bring to boil.

Step 104:

The yams are done so drain the water. Multitasking is a good skill to have.

Step 105:

Put yams in a bowl and cover and keep in microwave to keep warm while you continue to cook.

Step 106:

Little kitchens get warm. Get plenty of air and rest.

Step 107:

Then return to opening the can of corn. I mean shucking the cobs from the field in the back yard.

Step 108:

Put in pot.

Step 109:

Rinse and recycle...rinse and la laaa

Step 110:

Heat the corn.

Step 111:

Measure out potato flakes.

Step 112:

Add to water after it has boiled.

Step 113:

Turn off the heat on the potatoes.

Step 114:

Stir the goodness together. (After realizing that you were suppose to add the milk now, not in the beginning. shhh don't tell)

Step 115:

And cover until ready to consume.

Step 116:

Now open the cranberry can. (No i am not that insane, the label is on the can the wrong way) classic.

Step 117:

Wiggle shake and squeeze the can to get the gelatin like substance to emerge.....

Step 118:

...So that it looks like THIS hahaa. Thats wicked.

Step 119:

Slice up can shaped substance.

Step 120:

Replace rest of cranberry delight into can for more leftovers.

Step 121:

Keep watching the corn.

Step 122:

Put the can in the fridge and cover with a plastic bag as make-shift plastic wrap.

Step 123:

Turn the corn off, as it is time.

Step 124:

Add the rest of the 5 olives you have been eating to the "hour'dourve tray".

Step 125:

And then eat another.

Step 126:

Keep being green. It is easier than Kermits' song alludes to.

Step 127:

Keep and put away the gravy for later usage when you realize you can't possibly consume all of it on the already gravy covered turkey you have.

Step 128:

Add a few ultra fresh sweet cranberries to the tray as well.

Step 129:

Begin decorating in a classy way.

Step 130:


Step 131:

Oh how elegant....

Step 132:

Speaking of elegance, begin to cook the entire bird. Or the 90 second microwavable complete turkey dinners.

Step 133:

Poke holes in the cover gently. or like a mass murderer.

Step 134:

Reference contemporary society by re-inacting a semi famous controversial photo of Lindsay Lohan with a knife. Have fun!

Step 135:

Put turkey tray in microwave.

Step 136:

Press start.

Step 137:

Put the corn in a serving dish as well.

Step 138:

When you hear the beeping your turkey is done! Remove from microwave.

Step 139:

Take a peek. Mmmmmmmmmm

Step 140:

Eat one more olive to get out the frustration of knowing that your family is currently over indulging in a huge piece of fresh cut white juicy tender meat around all your loved ones.

Step 141:

Break out the fine glass butter serving tray aka the top of a take out thai food soup container.

Step 142:

Also start putting the potatoes in the matching fine glass serving dishes.

Step 143:

Taste your creation. Because you are the only one eating these potatoes it is completely acceptable to lick the spoon obnoxiously.

Step 144:

Save the dishes till later because a taste of the potatoes made you hungrier than you thought you were. There is no time for this right now.

Step 145:

Put on an elegant dress and a flower in your hair because it is of utmost importance to be beautiful for oneself while dining alone....on Thanksgiving or any occasion for that matter.

Step 146:

Stay hydrated for darn sake. You just exerted a lot of energy. One must take care of oneself while working so hard. To faint would be so un-lady like.

Step 147:

The final steps are the most important. Pour a large glass of milk.

Step 148:

Serve the delicious turkey to yourself.

Step 149:

Just like your mommy taught you, check to make sure the pies are done by putting a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, your ready to go!

Step 150:

Carefully remove the deliciousness from the oven.

Step 151:

And voila!!!

Step 152:

Bask in the glory of pumpkin pie.

Step 153:

Set the mood.

Step 154:

Open the twist off top wine bottles.

Step 155:


Step 156:

Oooops!. Thats not appropriate to drink from the bottle.

Step 157:

Pour wine in glass. There you go.

Step 158:

Exhale and take a look at what you have done. Take in the fantasy and realize that you are not really dining alone, Johnny Depp is there with you. Thank all that is holy. This could be creepy.

Step 159:

Realize that no one knows what splendor is taking place right inside the mysterious black door to the left.

Step 160:

Season food to your liking. Brown sugar!

Step 161:

Read the sweet note your roomate left you before she took the train home.

Step 162:

It has two sides. Read both.

Step 163:

Call your mommy and thank her from the bottom of your heart for allowing her daughter to have such a beautiful Thanksgiving alone and so far away, feel the love and close your eyes and pretend you are home for a minute before saying goodbye.

Step 164:

Send your family a picture of your dinner. Know they are jealous :) Stay connected and loved through modern technology.

Step 165:

Add more seasoning.

Step 166:

Add even more. It's the holidays.

Step 167:

NOW INDULGE AND FEAST! (after setting up the camera in a very creative and ultimately frustrating way due to limited space)

Step 168:

After eating it is time for dessert!

Step 169:

Then the traditional after Thanksgiving pass out.

Step 170:

Then realize with a start, that you can't do that! Why not?!.....

Step 171:

Because you are a full time grad student at NYU and there is far too much work to be done in a very short amount of time!

Step 172:

So you embrace this fact and accept that you will staying up till at least 5 am working on one of your final projects.

Step 173:

What a memory to look back at. These are the things that make up one awesome, unique, random, free spirited and unconventional life. (Even though next year your mother promises she will fly you home for Thanksgiving, no matter the amount of work that must be done) Life. Is. Good.