Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Readying for Thanksgiving

I'm just wondering. For Thanksgiving Day or weekend, do you have plans to feast, travel, attend a church service, get together with family or with friends (or both), watch the big-city parades or football on TV, do something completely different?

We do not travel to our distant families for holidays, so we'll be at home. This is the third year we've gathered for Thanksgiving with two other families with young children who are far from their extended families, and we'll host this year; we invited a fourth family as well.

We could go to our church's Thanksgiving Eve service tonight (readings both Biblical and historical -- colonists, native Americans, historical USA, historical Oklahoma -- and Eucharist), with a pie social afterward. BUT after a couple of busy days cleaning house and cooking up a little storm, I want to hang out at home and look through the Thanksgiving reading and picture books we borrowed from the library, instead!

Our menu for tomorrow is a simple blend of my husband's and my traditions and our preferences, and a good helping of the other families' dishes:

Roast turkey, herbed bread dressing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy (all by me)
Sweet potato casserole, green beans
Cranberry sauce, olives, various pickles
Herb bread, dinner rolls, local butter
Red wine, apple cider
Dessert: pumpkin pie with cranberry-pecan topping (by me), deep-dish apple pie, whipped cream, some sort of layered meringue dessert, good coffee with local cream, mulled cider

I think our menu says we're both Northerners, as there is no cornbread or sausage, and no grits. But we're not from the Atlantic coast -- no oysters or other seafood. No chestnuts in our dressing either. I made my favorite baked cranberry preserves today. I'll make pie crusts tonight, trying lard for the first time, make gravy using yesterday's homemade turkey stock, and gently bake to crispness my soaked pecans and almonds. Tomorrow morning I'll use my slow cooker to turn those crispy nuts into sugared almonds and spicy pecans -- mmmmm, bake the pumpkin pies (one for Thanksgiving, one for Friday breakfast!), and make the mashed potatoes and the dressing. Oh, and roast a bird! Later this weekend we'll make pumpkin bread and cranberry bread, especially because those cranberry preserves are SO GOOD on toasted pumpkin bread. Oh yeah.

Generally we go for basic, homemade, yummy, inexpensive (well, okay, except that my husband is dropping a penny or two on good beer and decent wine right now, LOL, and I already bought the good coffee and the local butter and cream). We save some pennies and luxuries for Thanksgiving and Christmas, making them truly times of feasting and food celebration.


TiaDavidandOurLittleChickens said...

Yes!! Your menu is almost exactly what we had growing up, which got it's root from our childhood in Michigan. The olive/pickle tray is something I completely forgot about! Bummer... and cider would have been a nice touch, especially for the kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

If it's not too much trouble, could you email or post the recipe for the cranberry preserves? I'm at greggdigressions at gmail dot com.

I don't normally trouble people for recipes, but that sounds too good to pass up.