Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Happy Thanksgiving

Here it is, the grand finale of this favorite holiday meal, on display as a promise, but protected by a heavy glass dome, barring us until the cream is whipped, the coffee has been brewed, and the table has been reset.  It's one of the best moments of the entire happy day.   

Since I've been hosting a thanksgiving dinner of my own, I've expanded the holiday to include taking a day off work on the Wednesday before the big day.  It's wonderful.  I spend the entire day making pies and making lists of all the things Brandon needs to do to get ready.  It's incredibly productive!

I can't remember how many times (5?) I've cooked a giant turkey and some of the traditional side dishes, but this was the first year that I did my grocery shopping without a list, and I don't think I had to send someone to the store for forgotten items any more times than usual, so I must be getting the hang of this!  The chocolate pie above, and pumpkin pie, I baked the day before, but this year (at Brandon's request) the apple pie went in the oven after dinner so we could have warm apple pie for dessert.  Revolutionary!  

I went all-in this year, and incorporated napkins featuring turkeys and squash in an autumn pallet. Nothing says Thanksgiving turkey like decor with a Thanksgiving turkey, right?  

One of the fun things about preparing Thanksgiving dinner is getting to use so many of my dishes and cookware that I don't get to use very often, or at least not all at the same time.  I have roasting pans and casserole dishes that only see use for this meal.  Because I like a reason to scour peddlers malls and flea markets searching for the appropriate dish for, say, baking sweet potatoes that are topped with both chopped pecans and roasted marsh mellows, that will allow the lid to be placed on top to keep it warm without messing up the perfect golden crust on the marsh mellows, I'm thankful every year that someone else doesn't say they want to host next time.  How would I justify all those gravy boats?  

The turkey this year was raised by our friend Joe.  If you remember, last year Joe raised a mixed flock of heritage turkeys, and we all got together and butchered them ourselves.  In exchange for our labor, Joe gave us one of the largest turkeys.  It was delicious.  This year, Joe raised all white turkeys, which are the kind that have been bred to produce giant birds in shorter order, like the ones we're used to from the grocery store.  Joe kept his turkeys on his organic pastures, and moved their coops and fences throughout the pasture so the grass was always fresh.  This turkey was also delicious, and although we've had numerous conversations comparing the merits of farmer Joe's turkeys, we've yet to come to a conclusion about whether or not a heritage turkey tastes better than a white one.  

Before I dismantled the turkey, I made sure to ask everyone if they wanted to see the bird before I messed with it.  We all wanted to see.  Especially since we've been talking about this turkey since the spring, when Joe got the baby turkeys to raise, and I placed an order.  Having turkeys for the past two years that we planned for and discussed prior to grocery day, has made the turkey more fun and interesting, for sure.   

Do you like my Thanksgiving glasses and pitcher?  These are a flea market treasures, and I only get them out one day a year.  They have orange circles and yellow emblems with corn and wheat sheaves around the top.  For some reason Brandon seems surprised by these glasses every year and makes jokes about socialist artwork.  

When the meringue on the chocolate pie shrank a little, little globes of liquid sugar formed on the surface, which made the pie sparkly.  Someone asked if I put sparkles on the pie on purpose, and I quickly confirmed that I did.  Sparkly pie is the best!

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