The Thanksgiving You Dream Of
I think everyone has this perfect idea of what Thanksgiving looks like. I can clearly remember sitting at Thanksgiving as a young girl, my aunts and my cousins bustling around, harried at the thought of the mashed potatoes being over salted, the green bean casserole being runny or that the turkey didn't turn out just right.
What is Thanksgiving? What's important? Why are we there?
I remember a scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where the turkey deflates and giggled. In fact, I think we all had a good chuckle at their misfortune because we look at ourselves scurrying around the kitchen with a turkey baster, trying to turn out the Jell-O mold and see the humor in how unimportant it is when everything is not just so.
For me, at least, Thanksgiving is time spent with family and friends. The community that you have is made stronger as you share your food...food that has to be just so.
My Perfect Thanksgiving Menu:
Cranberry Sauce | Something different is good here. Fresh is always best. We recently added pomegranate and oranges to ours and served it on artisan bread loaves. It was perfection. Different and yet still present and accepted for the odd duck who actually does eat the cranberry sauce on their turkey.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes | I really need a good, strong garlic mashed potato to catch me and make me fill my plate. None of this bland, gravy-doused nonsense. Whole cloves of roasted garlic and plenty of creme fraiche.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts | This might surprise you, but I totally love brussels done the right way. Drizzled lightly with oil, seasoned and roasted until browned and caramelized, they are delicious.
Green Bean Casserole | My husband has the specific requirements here. He loves green bean casserole, and for him it needs to be plenty creamy, never runny, and loaded with fresh mushrooms and fried onions. We make ours from scratch, never opening the cream of mushroom soup can, but that's not to say he'd turn down the cannned version either.
Stuffing | Or is it dressing? I saute my fresh vegetables and mushrooms lightly before adding them to the dried bread, and I never, ever put my stuffing in the bird or cook it with the giblets, yet it has to be there.
Turkey | I'm not necessarily picky on what my turkey looks like as long as it's moist, well seasoned and warm. A good, crisp skin never hurts either.
Pecan Pie | Again, this is for my husband, Ole. He is not a pumpkin lover, and his heart is very much covered in pecans.
Sure, there are more exciting Thanksgiving-themed recipes that I enjoy, butternut curried soup, stuffed butternut squash or pumpkin pie tiramisu, but it's those classic recipes that bring the traditions to the forefront of my mind. They are what bring me back to my childhood Thanksgiving and give me all the warm fuzzies.
What are you having this Thanksgiving?