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Pull Up a Chair: Thanksgiving Celebration 2014

We have much to be thankful for

Here we are, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Twenty questions for you, of a sort: What will your menu be Thursday? Who preps the food? Who do you spend the holiday with, how many people; relatives, friends? How far do you travel, by what mode (air, train, bus, car…)?  How long is your trip?  How long do you stay? What traditions? Do you have to work? If so, will you celebrate another day? Will you bag the effort to cook at home and go to a restaurant? If so, what kind?

My plans are somewhat different and somewhat the same this year…

MENU

•Hors d’oeuvres
•Champagne
•Traditional roast turkey
•Bread stuffing.
•Mashed white potatoes
•Gravy
•Green vegetable
•Exotic mushroom dish
•Fancy white wine from wine cellar
•Pumpkin crème brûlée
•After dinner drinks

FOOD PARTICULARS

Hors d’oeuvres:

I haven’t decided yet. Something small, maybe Parmesan-thyme crackers, with some pickles, olives, and other savories.

Organic turkey:

From Old Ford Farm, 3 miles as the bee flies, 11 miles by road, over the river. Here’s their description of their chicken/turkey operation. They also sell raw milk, organic veggies, and pork in October.

Stuffing:

Flavored packaged bread cubes, fancied up with chestnuts, sautéed onions, and celery.

Cranberry sauce:

I make it from fresh berries, using less sugar than recipe calls for, plus orange & lemon zest.

Mashed potatoes:

I use regular white potatoes, maybe one Idaho potato with two regular ones. Using raw milk in preparation. Might try food mill instead of electric mixer to have less smooth texture.

Gravy:

The usual made from roaster pan drippings.

Green vegetable:

I prefer green over yellow, Citizen 4 will bring this dish.

Exotic mushroom dish:

Citizen 4, sous chef, reports her mushroom dish as follows. “Hope I can get the mushrooms I want—mushroom tart (pastry flour from Wild Hive Farm), goat cheese (from Acorn Hill Farmstead Cheese) and whatever mix of mushrooms I can find at the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market.”

Dessert:

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

Other Food Considerations

Today it is called “organic” and “local” food. In my youth, it was just food, as industrial farming didn’t exist. There was a big inside farmer’s market that ran all year where my father bought fresh food. After years of work, single mom, and otherwise frenzied life, it has been wonderful to be able to take advantage of food that is better for you and also tastes better. I buy the best ingredients when serving guests at a dinner party to make the work pay off.

Old Ford Farm has delicious chickens. This is the first year I’m buying a turkey from them. Becky and Joe, who run the farm, are a young couple with two young children. They’re both college graduates who decided afterwards they’d rather farm. Their website has some good photographs, meander around it to see what real local is about.

Leftovers:

Here are two delicious recipes for turkey leftovers from the New York Times:

Turkey crepes 

Turkey and spinach curry

Guests:

I can manage dinner parties of only 3 up to 5 these days. More people are too much work for it to be fun. As mentioned above, Citizen 4 will bring some food items, and help me finish off food prep. Citizen 5 will keep the home fires burning, literally. That is less work than it sounds because the firewood is stacked right on the back porch just outside the kitchen door. But it’s important work because wood fires require attention.

I’ve known my guests for around 15 years. I met Citizen 4 through a college foundation endowment board I served on for many years; I am still on the finance committee. Citizen 5 is a computer guy. Both are foodies.

At times I’ve found myself a pioneer in social trends. It took a while to figure out why. I was born two years ahead of the start of the post-war baby boom. I did what felt comfortable, many Boomers who followed felt similarly inclined.

With regards to Thanksgiving, as I’ve gotten older, I have tired of the family sturm und drang. Too many of the same conversations, or arguments, or post-dinner football games, or too LOUD.  I decided to try small and quiet with good friends who enjoy good food, and also with whom I share other values and interests. Dinner is scheduled for 2pm, I can’t eat a large dinner at 6pm because I’m too full to retire at a reasonable hour and sleep well, tryptophan or no tryptophan.

Has your social context changed over the years, or is the ritual of family and close friends a comfort?

What are you thankful for?

Getting through another year is at the top of my list. Most of my other blessings are private. What about you and yours?


 
Photo by Don McCullough under Creative Commons license

CommunityMyFDL Front Page

Pull Up a Chair: Thanksgiving Celebration 2014

We have much to be thankful for

Here we are, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Twenty questions for you, of a sort: What will your menu be Thursday? Who preps the food? Who do you spend the holiday with, how many people; relatives, friends? How far do you travel, by what mode (air, train, bus, car…)?  How long is your trip?  How long do you stay? What traditions? Do you have to work? If so, will you celebrate another day? Will you bag the effort to cook at home and go to a restaurant? If so, what kind?

My plans are somewhat different and somewhat the same this year…

MENU

•Hors d’oeuvres
•Champagne
•Traditional roast turkey
•Bread stuffing.
•Mashed white potatoes
•Gravy
•Green vegetable
•Exotic mushroom dish
•Fancy white wine from wine cellar
•Pumpkin crème brûlée
•After dinner drinks

Food Particulars

Hors d’oeuvres:

I haven’t decided yet. Something small, maybe Parmesan-thyme crackers, with some pickles, olives, and other savories.

Organic turkey:

From Old Ford Farm, 3 miles as the bee flies, 11 miles by road, over the river. Here’s their description of their chicken/turkey operation. They also sell raw milk, organic veggies, and pork in October.

Stuffing: (more…)

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