A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all. To those of you who hosted the highly anticipated event this year, I sincerely hope you were able to enjoy the holiday amidst the hustle and bustle. Now that the last of your guests have left and you have time to muse upon the madness, please share with us your stories. We would love to hear them.
‘Thanksgiving evening. These past two days, I spent several hours immersing myself in the Internet perusing Thanksgiving recipes, techniques and blogs on brining, aromatics and gravy. By the way, preparing gravy could easily be a college course given the depth of information that I found on the web. By the end of my information gathering, I was half expecting to receive my online degree as a turkey connoisseur.
I purchased a 20 pound frozen turkey two days ago. To the wise chefs out there, that entire statement raises a red flag: 20 pound, frozen and two days ago. Last night, as I finally had some mental space to focus on Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to check on the bird which was thawing in the refrigerator. To my horror, it was as frozen as the day I bought it and a quick forward calculation told me that it would not be ready in time for guests the next day. Back to my trusty Google. A few minutes later, I hurriedly filled the kitchen sink with cold water and ice and placed the wrapped turkey in the water for several hours. Before bed, I placed the turkey back in the refrigerator with an earnest prayer to the Thanksgiving gods that it would be thawed by morning. It was a night of restless sleep, muttering gibberish, probably something about the dreaded gravy process.
Morning came and hallelujah the turkey was thawed. It was time to get busy. The classical music was playing and I was in the zone. Once the turkey was cleaned, stuffed and in the oven, everything moved like clockwork. I even had time to make a bonus appetizer: Butternut squash and carrot soup with sage and nutmeg (which later proved to be a big hit). By the time my family filed in through the door, all the dishes were more or less ready and surprisingly, there had been no disasters. The turkey was golden and roasted to moist perfection. My sisters ooh’d and ahh’d at the fresh cranberry sauce, which included pomegranate seeds from my father’s garden. I had forgotten to add the requisite two sticks of butter to the stuffing but no one seemed to mind and, in fact, they complimented the healthy twist. Oh and I am very pleased to say that the gravy was outstanding, rich and savory with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. To complete the meal, there was an Urth Caffe pumpkin pie and all those who have had the pleasure of trying it understand that this is truly the lord of all pumpkin pies. A few hours ago, it was the only dish that I had confidence in and even if disasters had abounded and we were forced to order in pizza for Thanksgiving, at least we would have some yummy pie.
My family each brought their own special dish as well. My sisters made a cheese and green bean casserole and mushroom scalloped potatoes that were delicious. Roasted pig graced the table as well to the delight of my turkey-phobic mother. My father eschewed his dietary restrictions for a glass of red wine. My ‘no-sugar-please’ sister delighted in a slice of pumpkin pie, her diet kryptonite, with whip cream. My baby niece was happily slurping on the soup. Throughout the evening there was good wine, good music and good conversation- the stuff that the best memories are made of. As everyone finished their meal feeling satisfied, I breathed a contented sigh and looked around the room at my wonderful family. The true meaning of Thanksgiving slowly sank in. I had prepared the food with love for the people that I love and it turned out well. But most importantly, we were all together and everyone was safe and healthy. For that, I am truly thankful. Happy Thanksgiving.’
– Sapphire, singer for pop rock music group Millennium
It is that time of the year again when the Thanksgiving holiday can either have you feeling blessed, as the name thanksgiving would suggest, or stressed. If you are in the category of those feeling stressed, chances are you are hosting for family or friends this year. In appreciation for all the brave and wonderful hosts throughout the country and their endeavors to create the perfect holiday banquet, we have asked you all to share your experiences. You are not alone.
‘Thanksgiving is only two days away. This year, I have taken it upon myself to host this event promising a glorious feast with all the fixings. I knew this serious task would fall to me this year seeing as that my sister just had a baby and my mother has a strange phobia to consuming this beloved holiday staple. In fact, Thanksgiving has become increasingly complicated over the years as extended family and the list of each member’s dietary agenda have grown. We have my mother with her turkey phobia, my sister requiring a strictly balanced diet (translation: an absolute precise ratio of protein to vegetables and little or no sugar), her husband who is the lumberjack meat and potatoes man, and my father who needs to stay away from red meat and alcohol. Of course you have those who are watching their weight (this is LA) and those who can have a Thanksgiving meal for three days straight, just like the pilgrims, and not gain an ounce. It is no wonder why I am facing a sense of paralysis as I force myself to sit down and write out the dreaded shopping list. I doubt anyone thirty years ago ever faced such a dilemma. In this day and age, one needs to consult a dietician in order to prepare a meal. What ever happened to a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving meal with a golden roasted 20-lb. turkey, cornbread stuffing, savory gravy, luscious cranberry sauce and a decadent pumpkin pie?’
– Sapphire, singer for pop rock music group Millennium
Stay tuned for Part II of Thanksgiving- A Time To Count Your Stressings