Thanksgiving dinner, growing up, was a huge event. We’re talking dinner for 40+. To be fair, so were most of the other holidays. Chanukah brought with it a mountain sized pile of gifts, after all, there were 12 grandchildren, 14 aunts & uncles, the grandparents, and whomever else straggled in from the cold.
So Thanksgiving was quite the event. Even at my fathers’ mother’s home, which was a considerably smaller crowd (just six), it was an event. It was more than celebrating Thanksgiving as a holiday, it was one of a handful of nights in the entire year that was always set aside as a family gathering. It was a bigger than normal dinner. The “fancy food” was made. Dinner took more than the requisite 30 minutes (or less!) to eat. We sat around chatting, and enjoying the meal as a whole. As I’ve gotten older, the crowds have gotten smaller. The faces have gotten older. I’ve made new faces which are, in turn, getting older as well. We’re too spread out to easily spend the holiday together, or at least some of us can’t easily traverse multiple states on a whim. I am envious of those who can, but I’m sure, one day, I’ll be able to as well.
We have a cosy dinner at home. The eight of us. Last year I had it catered, and it was a disappointment. This year I’m cooking again. I’m planning my menu. We’ll be having a grain free, white potato free, mostly dairy free (I still use butter and hard cheeses) holiday spread.
I’ve decided to spatchcock and grill my turkey. It seems to be a thing this year, but I wasn’t aware of that when I made my plans. I just love making chicken that way, and figured, hey, turkey must turn out pretty good that way too! So there it is. I’m thinking about hooking the smoker up to the grill to give it a little something extra too.
Sides are going to be vanilla mashed sweet potatoes, butternut squash & apple latkes, GF dinner rolls, parmesan roasted cauliflower, salad, and mushroom & stout pot pies w/ sweet potato crust. I’m planning to make a couple of savory pumpkin pies for dessert, to balance out the sweetness of some of the sides.
The latkes are a test run for Chanukah. I have been avoiding white potatoes, and last years non-white potato latkes weren’t exactly fabulous. I’m hoping for a better taste and texture this year. I did a sweet potato latke last year, and it was maybe half a step up from being a sweet mash. I wound up with a lot of shredded breakfast hash. No bueno. The cauliflower is a risk too. I abhor cauliflower. I can’t stand how it smell when it’s cooking and I can’t stand how it feels in my mouth. I’m hoping roasting it with parmesan fixes both problems. Those pot pies just sound like they’re to die for. I plan to fix them in the eight million ramekins I own and serve them as side dishes.
I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to a huge food spread. How much I am looking forward to some quality uninterrupted and un-rushed time in the kitchen. How much I am looking forward to spending more than 20 minutes with the family rushing through dinner. They usually indulge me in sitting around and chatting and being generally more family-ish and less in a hurry on big food days like this.
What does your Tday look like? Obviously, we’re less about celebrating historical atrocities and more about celebrating family time together. Then again, I don’t like celebrating current atrocities either ;)