Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Thanksgiving menu and a pair of new boots

Every November, I am faced with the same dilemma.  Or at least for the past 10 Novembers that I've known Greg.  For both Greg and I, Thanksgiving is our absolute favorite holiday.  It frustrates us to no end that literally the day after Halloween, CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS are already up in stores, and Christmas music has begun to play.  It's like Thanksgiving doesn't even matter!  No wonder why people get burned out from the holidays.  It just...too much holiday!  Christmas is supposed to be a precious, beautiful time with family, listening to special music that ONLY GETS PLAYED AFTER NOVEMBER 30TH.  Period.  (Please take me with a grain of salt -- if you disagree, you can be sure that I WILL JUDGE YOU, but I'll try to quietly, and only behind your back.  Agreed?)  (Haha.)  (I'm actually not kidding.)  But enough about Christmas -- today, we're talking about Thanksgiving.  The dilemma in our family is this: Thanksgiving is special to Greg and I for somewhat opposite reasons.

For him, different-ness equals awesomeness (and yes, "different-ness" IS a word.  BECAUSE I JUST INVENTED IT.  Thanks.)  A holiday is the perfect time to try out SUPERSPECIALCOMPLICATED recipes from our shelves of cookbooks, "show off Faith's cooking skills" (his words not mine), and generally use all sorts of ingredients we usually wouldn't budget for/consider using (unless it was a holiday).  Also wine, plenty of wine.  And possibly after dinner drinks.  (Those last two are things that we can both agree on.)

For me, every holiday has it's own traditional menu guidelines, and if I don't stick to them, it's hard for me to even feel like we're celebrating that particular event.  Ham is for Christmas (sometimes I've subbed in lamb or beef, but it just doesn't feel quite right), lamb is for Easter (although I'm pretty sure I made something rather un-special this past Easter because I was feeling overwhelmed -- but once again, it didn't really feel like the proper "celebration" without it), and Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving is absolutely, 100%, without-a-doubt: TURKEY.  And stuffing, and cranberry sauce (both out of the can AND homemade -- I can't get enough!), and always some sort of handmade rolls (usually the Cracked Wheat Rolls from Moosewood Celebrates.)  Along with that there are always some sort of greens, and hopefully some version of sweet potatoes.  For dessert, I am a big fan of both pecan AND pumpkin pies.

Now, these differences might not seem like such a big deal at first, but the thing is, not only does Greg not hold all of those foodstuffs dear for that particular holiday, he doesn't like most of it at all.  Tragic.  He doesn't like almost any version of pumpkin or sweet potato, and certainly not pie.  He's not a fan of flaky pie crust, and cooked fruit is a total turn-off, so even an apple crumble is out of the question.  He doesn't like chocolate, and cannot stand pecans or walnuts.  He has never liked turkey.  Autumnal spices (gingerbread, pumpkin pie spice, etc.) are not something he goes for.

Do you see the problem here?  It would seem insurmountable, and I have certainly mourned the loss of my favorite once-a-year lunch: the Thanksgiving Leftovers sandwich (thickly sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing) beautiful.  So unattainable.  However, there is hope!  I have come up with the following menu that I hope will please our whole family.  And I might even be able to have that sandwich after all!

  • Quail (I bought 8 local quail, butterflied for grilling or roasting -- not sure what I will do with them yet)
  • Twice Baked Sweet Potato with Chipotle Pecan Streusel (I will only make a 1/2 recipe of this, because I'll probably be the only one eating it)
  • Smashed Potatoes (this has become Greg's Signature Holiday Dish, and he does it well -- his own recipe)
  • Great Aunt Nancy's Apple and Sausage Stuffing (I'll post the recipe shortly -- it's always been a traditional dish for my family back in NY and NJ)
  • Caesar Salad (a variation on my dad's recipe -- our whole family loves this intense, garlicky salad)
  • I'm also throwing around the idea of an ambrosia-type thing, or some other sweet-spicy chopped salad.
  • Cranberry Sauce straight out of the can (and possibly a homemade sauce/relish too -- undecided)
  • Parker House Rolls (I've never tried this recipe, but I've found that I can trust Joy The Baker.  She has never steered me wrong.)
  • I would consider making a Butterscotch Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust, but I think Greg might be butterscotched-out -- I made a large bowl of Butterscotch Pudding a few days ago and, while delicious, we still haven't finished it.
  • He MIGHT like Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cream Pie -- it's got a lot of elements that he likes without a heavy pumpkin flavor, so I'll show the recipe to him and see what he thinks.
  • Thanksgiving Twofer Pie (I just may end up eating this all by myself, but it's a Dorie Greenspan recipe, so how can I go wrong?)
  • I'm going to keep this list of Best Hot Drinks on hand for after we tuck the children in at the end of the day.  Maybe we'll put a little soft jazz on the turntable...(*wink*)
I'd love to hear all of your opinions in the comments.  What (besides family and friends) makes each holiday special to you?  Special foods?  Traditions?  I look forward to hearing how each of you make your holiday special.

In other news, I finally got my first pair of long-anticipated cowboy(girl?) boots, and I am completely in love.


Frye Women's Billy Vintage Boot in Tan.

I want to wear them with everything.  So that's precisely what I'm going to do.  I'll post a picture each day for the next week or so of an outfit I've styled around the boots.


The weather here in Texas is so fickle in November, that it makes perfect sense to pair short-shorts with a thick, tweedy pullover sweater (layered over a t-shirt). Or at least that's what I have decided.  Don't judge.  Handknit sweater (a modified version of Stefanie Japel's pattern: Cozy V-Neck Pullover from her book Fitted Knits), shorts from Old Navy (can't even find them on their site -- that's how out-of-season I am), Frye Boots.

Of course I will also need a Black Pair -- studded this time, but I'll have to wait on that and give our wallet a little more breathing room before I strike again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE the BOOTS!! i hope you got them on if not, i apologize for the hole in your wallet. ;)

love you