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topaz: (dream avatar)
There are three things in particular that I feel especially thankful for this year.

I'm thankful that, after so many years and so much work, we get to spend Thanksgiving at Mosaic Commons.  I love spending this day cooking and socializing with friends and family, and I love it even more now that taking a break from dinner prep means going for a stroll and stopping in at friends' houses for a glass of wine and to wish them a happy holiday.  It's amazing what a difference it makes.

I'm thankful that at this time, this year, [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I are in a much better place than we have been in a long time.  We are doing much better at working with and communicating with each other about the hard stuff of life, and I'm incredibly grateful for the work that we have done to get here.

And I'm thankful for my friends.  I'm always thankful for my friends, but I'm not accustomed to leaning on them.  Lately things have been really hard for me, and I've found myself leaning on you a lot, and it's given me a chance to discover just what an amazing, thoughtful, resourceful, brilliant band of brigands you are.

So this is me.  Giving you my thanks.  And if for any reason you think I'm not talking about you.... you're wrong.  I mean you, too.
topaz: (Quinn - holding breath)


topaz: (strawberry)
Our turkey still had a feather on it!  That was so awesome.

pumpkin pie with oak leaf crust
Homemade pumpkin pie with oak leaf pastry decoration, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] primal_pastry.  Made from scratch, starting with a pumpkin!  That woman is so cool.

chocolate cranberry cake
The infamous chocolate cranberry cake: chocolate cake with a cranberry filling and chocolate glaze.  Sugared cranberries and mint on top.  It worked out even better than I expected: the cake was extremely dense (three times as much butter as flour) and the cranberry was sweet enough that it didn't clash.
topaz: (strawberry)
"The next time I pick a complicated recipe without knowing where everything is in my kitchen, just shoot me, okay?"

This message has been brought to you by the department of improvised parchment paper, wax paper, fine mesh strainer, and wire drying racks.

P.S. Beth, you'll get the parchment paper and wax paper back first thing in the morning, I promise!
P.P.S. No, I didn't take anything else!  Honest!
topaz: (arrr!)
If you find yourself on Friday with too many leftovers, bring them to our Thanksgiving leftovers brunch! 

In fact, if you find yourself without any leftovers at all on Friday, come eat ours anyway, because, let's be real, we have way too much food anyway.

Thanksgiving leftovers brunch is a fabulous tradition started years ago by [livejournal.com profile] agaran, [livejournal.com profile] ghislaine and [livejournal.com profile] winged_faerie, and I'm delighted that we get to host it this year.

Friday at 1pm at our place in Carlisle.  Comment here or email or text if you need directions.

topaz: (garfield minus)
8/100: Butternut squash soup. Came out better than I expected, maybe due to sitting in the fridge overnight.  It's lovely but very delicate, which made it an odd companion at a table full of aggressively macho side dishes.  It will hold up well at the leftovers brunch tomorrow.  Some time I will make it again with [livejournal.com profile] fengshui's advice in mind.

9/100: Roast turkey. The book recommends brining for 4 hours and letting it air-dry for 8 hours.  Due to timing restrictions (didn't get started till midnight Wednesday) I brined it for about 8 hours and let it dry for 4.  Still it came out well.  I overcooked it a bit but it was not completely dry when it arrived at the table.  The roasted vegetables in the pan were, sadly, totally carbonized.  Notes for next time: if the bird is under 14 pounds, don't be afraid to check it early and often.

10/100: Giblet pan gravy.  Very tasty. [livejournal.com profile] keyne pointed out that this recipe is awfully cumbersome and not a huge improvement over making it from pan drippings.  She's right.  On the other hand, due to the aforementioned overcooked bird, we didn't actually have any useful pan drippings, so it's just as well I did this.

Other dishes at our table, not blessed by America's Test Kitchen:

Key lime pie, from the recipe on the key lime juice bottle: perfect.  And dead easy, too.  You can't get any more rock-stupid than this: egg yolks, lime juice, condensed milk, beat well, slosh into pie crust and throw in oven at 350.  Nice.

Pumpkin pie: every year we lose our recipe for lactose-free pumpkin pie and go hunting for another one.  This time I gave up and just substituted 10 oz Lactaid milk with 2 tsp. cornstarch for 12 oz condensed milk.  Texture was good but it wasn't quite as sweet or rich as I'd like.

Creamed spinach: from a randomly chosen recipe found on the net.  Not bad.  I used 2% milk and Greek yogurt in place of whole milk and sour cream.  Whole milk would have rounded it out better.  Maybe even a little half-and-half.

Mashed potatoes: made from potatoes.  Smart.

Dressing: from a bag, but what you gonna do?

Honey-wheat banana rolls: from an old DAK bread machine recipe book.  At the last minute I dumped them into mini-loaf pans instead of forming them into rolls.  I liked the result -- very Outbacky.

We used at least a pound and a half of butter.

[livejournal.com profile] thomasyan and brother brought a very nice bottle of Australian tokay (!) which we had with dessert.  Also some homemade pork dumplings (!!) which we completely forgot about in our madness.  We had homemade pork dumplings in our house and didn't even serve them.  I can't believe it.  They were both lovely dinner guests and extraordinarily tolerant of the circus acts which are our children.

After coffee and tea and pie and wine, we gave in to the kids' pleas and settled in to watch some Pink Panther from Netflix.  As the food coma started to descend, the brothers Yan took their leave of us for the drive back in to the city and we got the boys to bed.  Not bad.
topaz: (Morgan - sneer)
"Morgan, would you please keep your hair out of the pie?"

But we had a great time.
topaz: (Quinn - at hospital with dad)
Hey! [livejournal.com profile] keyne and I are planning our turkey day.  We have room at the table and hate to think of people going lonely at Thanksgiving.  Are you looking for company?  Join us!  RSVP for times and directions and so on :-)

(Our menu currently includes: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing; cranberry sauce, butternut squash soup, peas, creamed spinach; rolls. Pumpkin pie and key-lime pie, with whipped cream. Coffee, tea, cocoa, milk, juice; seasonal beers.  Feel free to bring something if you feel so moved, but don't feel obliged by any means.)
topaz: (Quinn - bike)
We are doing Thanksgiving this year a day late so that my uncle's family can join us, and are having a real turkey and a tofurkey so that [livejournal.com profile] soundofdoom will have something to eat.

Last night I told the kids that we would be having Thanksgiving dinner at Granny and Grandpa's, and there would be both a real turkey and a fake turkey.  A fake turkey?! they demanded.  Yes, I said, a fake turkey too.

"Can we eat the fake turkey?" Quinn asked impishly.

"Sure, if you want to," I said.

His face passed into an expression of complete astonishment and a little horror.  After a moment he asked, more somberly:

"Is it wooden?"
topaz: (Morgan bike)
My family always had two holidays:  Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sure, my parents paid some lip service to Easter, and allowed my grandmother to take me to Easter services and run around looking for Easter eggs.  On the Fourth of July we would turn our sunburned faces up to the fireworks like all right-minded Americans.  But there were only two holidays that were worth speaking of: Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They were the holidays that we actually would make plans for.  They were the "destination events" of my childhood.

Thanksgiving, in particular, had more of a ritual about it than anything that my parents ever did.  It may have been more religious than anything else we did, not that they would ever admit such a thing.  Around noon on Thanksgiving Day, we would all choose some appropriate semiformal dress.  (Thanksgiving was one of perhaps two days a year on which I would accede to wearing a collared shirt.)  In the early afternoon we would head out into the low autumn afternoon sun to my aunt Denise's house in central New Jersey.  There, my parents would begin catching up boisterously with the 40 or 50 cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews in attendance while I went for a round of touch tag in the fallen leaves in the yard with the other 11- and 12-year-olds.

The meal itself was a mythical thing, of course: at least one monstrous turkey and usually two, accompanied by the classic mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rivers of gravy.  There was usually succotash and creamed onions, and always a cavernous bowl of sweet potato pie covered with crisped melted marshmallows.  There also was generally one pie for roughly every two people at the meal.  I could never make it through this meal without loosening my belt and, usually, my pants as well.

The food is the thing we all remember, of course, but for me there is more, so much more, under the surface.  Denise's was where one of the older cousins would always find me huddled in the corner with a book and draw me out by chatting about science fiction.  It was where Ellen first asked my parents if anyone had ever tried to live in our Nantucket house over the winter, and by doing so, gave them the idea to insulate the place and make it possible for us to try to move there.  It was where I would sit on the couch and listen to stories about how my mother and her cousins, as adolescent hellions, would get bored and find ways to terrorize their summer neighbors.

To me, Thanksgiving is family.  It was where I saw my family and where I left them, every year, and it is now the place I await in the fall, so that I can bring my spouse and my children there too.

card from Morgan

This year is my year to give thanks to [livejournal.com profile] razil and [livejournal.com profile] blivious; to [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and [livejournal.com profile] dilletante, to [livejournal.com profile] nitouche and her beloved, to [livejournal.com profile] entrope and [livejournal.com profile] concrete; to [livejournal.com profile] creidylad and [livejournal.com profile] mr_niggle; to [livejournal.com profile] hawkegirl; to everyone else who is a parent, who is a parent of a parent or who is a child of someone's parents.

You are my homies. You know where it's at, and I thank you all.

April 2012


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