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N in azaleas

Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving is nearly here. What makes it Thanksgiving to you?

My first Thanksgiving in grad school, I couldn't afford to go home. My friend Christina flew up to see me instead. We made turkey, stuffing, spinach souffle, and pumpkin pie.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a giant potluck among a bunch of family and any "orphans" -- grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, roommates, officemates, assorted SOs. Some offerings were staples - the turkey, stuffing, spinach souffle, rice, pumpkin pie -- and others were experiments (pumpkin soy ginger mousse).

This year, I'm going to my husband's family's celebration. It features tenderloin, for those that hate turkey, and some kind of corn casserole. I'm making sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and green beans.

What are you having?


I'm going to try again with a chocolate haupia pie, like the one that I failed with before at one of your family events. Different recipe. Hopefully it stays together better.
Thanksgiving in my favorite of the "holiday season" holidays. I love the food, I love the principle of the holiday... everything.

Thanksgiving is ALWAYS turkey with Simon and Garfunkel stuffing, along with cranberry pear chipotle relish, pecan brussels sprouts, "Regan's" rolls (because if she doesn't help, they really don't turn out as good), and mashed potatoes and green bean for the kids. Served with pinot or zin and sparkling cider. Dessert of pumpkin pie with hard sauce.

And The Four Seasons must play as we sit down. This because the first Tgiving I ever cooked on my own was in college with my roomie and then boyfriend. We cooked the full meal in our little teeny kitchen, turned out all the lights, lit candles everywhere, and turned on The Four Seasons for ambiance. It was magical... somehow, even though it was the first time I'd tried the holiday on my own, away from home, it FELT like home. Since then, I can't do the meal without Vivaldi.
For me, Thanksgiving has to include the bit where I help cook (and other people are cooking too). Some year's I've done it at home - that was fun. Visiting family is also fine. Going to Kyle's is just lovely because he'll let me pitch in.

My worst Thanksgiving ever was my first away from home. I was invited to a friend's home but we just went over for the meal. So we arrived, ate a lot of food that wasn't my family's traditional food, chatted uncomfortably with people we didn't really know, and then came back to the dorms where it was super-quiet and kind of lonely... The best T'giving during those years was one with my friend Jim and his family - and even though I didn't know his family either it was warm, welcoming, fun, inclusive, wonderful. Since then my rule of thumb has been something like "if you wouldn't be comfortable sitting on the floor laughing about how hard it is to hand-whip the whipped cream while watching "A Christmas Story" for the bajillionth time, then probably it's not the real thing...

This year I've picked up ingredients for a cranberry/orange/apple/raisin/nut relish I like to make and Kyle wouldn't ever think to make. We're already indulging in pumpkin pie and I have this idea I can make an apple pie as a learning experience. There will be turkey, bread stuffing (none of that cornbread stuff), mashed potatoes, and various other stuff - wouldn't surprise me if Amy's presence brought in more veggies...

It'll be relaxed time with "family" and a big meal that we all pitched in to make. Perfect.
Thanksgiving, to me, is all about family and food.

Growing up, we usually went to my aunt's house outside of town. All of our two families, my grandparents, my uncle's mother, sometimes some of the other cousins and aunts and uncles but not always. Sometimes we'd do it at my grandparents' house, and then it was more likely that more of the aunts and uncles and cousins would come. This was all my mother's side of the family, by the way ... occasionally, my dad's sister and her family would come as well, but not as often. We'd visit some of his family if we went to my grandparents' house.

Turkey is a must. As is pumpkin pie. And rolls. And candied yams with marshmallows on top, although that's become negotiable. ;)

In recent years, we've been getting together at my sister's house, and it's usually been a good sized group, but different composition. Only my immediate family lives around here any more, and the aunt and uncle who used to host Thanksgiving dinners only occasionally come down for it. It's the only winter holiday cheshiremoons will come down for, so it's nice to have all the sisters and Mom united celebrating a holiday and being silly as hell. It's kindof rare for us to all four get together these days. My brother-in-law's family usually joins us too: his mother, and usually his brother and his wife and kids will come at least for a little while.

Recent addition to the must-have Thanksgiving foods is Cyndi's amazing macaroni and cheese (really, it's unbelievable).

This year, cheshiremoons is going to introduce us to Tofurkey as well, which she has agreed we can dress up to be Malevolent. Ala:

I will ask her for the recipe and will post it for you!

I'm not sure she always uses the same one. They have a mac and cheese COOKBOOK. (My brother-in-law is crazy about cheese!)
N in azaleas

September 2009

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