Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This year, I spent Thanksgiving in Dallas with my mom, dad, youngest brother, and oldest brother.  The other brother stayed put in his adopted hometown of Manhattan, for which, given his view of the parade route that day, I do not blame him at all. 

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner fell to me this year, and I decided to keep the menu relatively simple.  Just the classics, done as simply and deliciously as possible.  This isn't the first time a big holiday meal has been my responsibility, and simple recipes using quality ingredients always mean a fantastic meal with as little stress as possible. 

For planning, I typically write down or print each recipe.  Then I create a shopping list organized and divided into categories: produce, dairy, dry goods, beverages, and other.  That makes getting through the store so much easier and just generally makes your life more pleasant.

I also take shortcuts wherever it makes sense.  As much as I love baking, I knew taking on dessert too would just add stress, so we bought a pecan pie, got some vanilla ice cream and plenty of coffee, and that took care of that.  My dad's favorite restaurant was deep-frying turkeys by order so we took advantage of that too.  I've still never taken on roasting a turkey, and quite frankly, it scares me a little.  Way too much pressure. 

My contributions this year included: Macaroni & Cheese, Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic, Cornbread Dressing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Scalloped Potato Gratin.

My dad and I did all the grocery shopping together and he spent the day in the kitchen with me making his famous oyster dressing and an award-worthy mega salad, which really is a meal by itself.  He's quite talented and would like to take full credit for all my cooking abilities.  I'll allow it.

Add rolls, ham, cheese, crackers, lots of wine, coffee & Baileys and you've got yourself a good day.

Holidays and special occasions like this remind me how grateful I am that even though my parents are divorced, they still come together so we can share these days as a family.  Their divorce was final my sophomore year of high school, and yet, both of them come together at every special event and even the occasional regular family dinner.  They've always let us still be a family. 

Not to say there haven't been bumps and skirmishes along the way, but 95% of the time, we just have a really good time all together.  At every one of my graduations, I've gotten to look into the crowd and see my parents sitting together, smiling, and cheering for their daughter.  I'm so grateful and appreciative to both of them for being big enough to make that happen.

Good work, parents. 

I hope you guys had a good one, too, and if you happen to have a fool-proof turkey recipe sure to help me get over my fear, do let me know.