Um….where did Thanksgiving go? When I woke up yesterday morning, it was ready to greet me, but now the last glass of punch has been drunk, and I’m sitting home alone with leftovers in my fridge. Talk about cold turkey.
Luckily, one of the things I love about Thanksgiving is that I don’t have to live with the blues: the end of Thanksgiving just means the beginning of the holiday season. Trimming the tree with Dave, eating chocolate mint candy canes, drinking eggnog, watching TV by only tree-light, seeing beloved friends and family even more than usual, and the general lightheartedness that sticks around until early January.
Yesterday was a splendid Thanksgiving. It was unusually mild at nearly 65 degrees (!) and was the first Thanksgiving I can remember wearing a short sleeve shirt. The leftover Halloween pumpkins were literally melting in the field.
My brother was in charge of the turkey yesterday. For the last several years, my parents have ordered an organic, free-range turkey from a local farmer, and this year was no exception. You definitely pay the price for a well-cared for turkey, though: a grocery store turkey usually runs 68 cents a pound near Thanksgiving while an organic turkey is nearer to $4.00 a pound.
Still, after knowing that birds are the most inhumanely treated animals in factory farming, I’m so glad my parents continue this tradition, expensive as it is. As it was, my brother took very great care of the twenty pound bird. He stuffed it with a beautiful combination of fruit, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Then remained outside most of the day to monitor its progress.
He put it in a roasting pan covered with foil to prevent blackening and used his handy meat thermometer to take out the turkey when it was perfectly cooked at 165.
My dad is the grilling turkey master and gave Tyler a few pointers during the day, then handed the chef’s hat to Ty while he took a much-deserved nap.
We had three different kinds of stuffing this year: my Mom’s traditional sausage and onion stuffing and a wild rice, mushroom, and fig stuffing. She always makes the best stuffing as well as the most delicious and flavorful cranberry chutney I have ever eaten. I don’t think I could ever eat jellied cranberry sauce.
My sister Moriah also tried her hand at stuffing this year and followed an Aaron Sanchez recipe to make a delicious Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing. The cilantro and cotija cheese were an excellent twist on traditional stuffing.
My brussels sprouts were a cinch to make: I made them just thirty minutes before we ate so they would be relatively crispy.
I don’t think they were quite as good as the roasted broccoli I made last year but they were still tasty, and the added cilantro complemented Moriah’s stuffing nicely.
My Davy took charge of the breads, naturally.
He made two loaves of French Farmhouse bread seasoned with Herbs de Provence.
And a batch of crusty Spinach Feta rolls.
He also made an old favorite: Alton’s Company Punch with black tea, substituting whiskey for the Batavia Arrack which we have still yet to locate. Although we had hoped to eat earlier this year at around 4:00pm, we ended up eating at our more normal 6:00pm, which meant I had more than my fair share of delicious punch.
The boys set about cutting up the turkey while we moved the warming foods to fancy dishes.
After all, it was Thanksgiving!
The table was set simply, but beautifully.
And, as usual, we each got our own place setting.
Before dinner, I read the poem “Happiness” by Raymond Carver. I had it narrowed down to a poem out of my Dad’s poetry book, but the winner was read off Nicole’s phone.
Dim lighting made for blurry food, but I can assure you it was all as tasty as ever.
Although the food and company was as traditional as ever, it was a special Thanksgiving because it was Aurelia’s first.
I had a little of everything and ate until I was comfortably full but not stuffed. After dinner, we retired to the living room to watch Jim Gaffigan’s Beyond the Pale. Unfortunately, Dave had to leave soon after to get ready for work that night, but I’m glad I got to spend most of the day with him.
My parents were lovely hosts as ever, and I hope to one day return the favor in my own home.
They definitely deserve a break from hosting their silly children every year.