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  1. I'm not surprised Blue Apron is failing -- I keep looking at the menus, and there's never more than two meals on offer that I can/want to eat. (Vegetables, including broccoli and kale, in the cabbage family make me very sick, and they're almost omnipresent. Cheap, I suppose.) FreshDirect also offers meal kits, but at ludicrous prices. They have a faux Hamburger Helper kit for $40 for four servings. Get a pound of hamburger and an actual box of Helper and serve four for $10. ETA: What I find odd is that these "kits" are just shopping with a huge surcharge. The produce isn't even washed, let alone chopped. I don't really get it.
  2. Yes, the recent NYT "most popular" Thanksgiving sides were downright depressing and completely unhelpful. Katie Meadow, I agree that smoked fish works well as an app, but wouldn't work well on the table with the turkey and sides. We sometimes had smoked salmon with capers and lemon (and a little buttered thin dark bread) as a app, and that worked well without killing the appetite. Also yeah, I never see the need for bread, rolls, etc. what with the stuffing (my family's tradition is a sausage/dried white bread/herb stuffing) and the mashed potatoes (which I generally skip now that I'm on my own and unwell, so I have a very small appetite), but some folks (my Mom, for instance) think dinner, no matter what it is, requires bread of some kind. As for a vegetarian dressing/stuffing, I'm no vegetarian but there are many recipes out there for bread stuffings with lots of herbs, mushrooms, sometimes chestnuts and so on that can be made with vegetable stock. Maybe it just doesn't work as well with cornbread?
  3. Growing up, after my parents got divorced, Dad did Thanksgiving, though I did the pies after a few years (I started out working on my crust when I was 12 or so (ack! cardboard!), and by the time I was 14-15, it was really good). Ours was very traditional and simple: If Dad's girlfriend was coming, we had an appetizer of smoked salmon with capers and lemon, because he wanted it to be "fancier" Then the roasted turkey with: Sausage stuffing (made according to the recipe on the back of the Jones package with Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing bread) Turkey jus, never an actual roux-based gravy, made by deglazing the roasting pan with white wine and adding chicken stock, reduce Mashed potatoes, made by me, because I always complained that Dad started them too late and they weren't done enough; peeled and chunked russets mashed with hot milk, seasoned with S&P and nutmeg and finished with butter Green peas (frozen) Green salad, which no one but Dad actually ate The pies, apple and pumpkin, with optional ice cream In more recent years, I've added creamed pearl onions with browned bread crumbs on top, and Brussels sprouts instead of the peas. After 1994, when there was a huge upheaval in my family, I spent Thanksgivings with my best friend's family in Nashville, who had a surprisingly similar menu, perhaps because my friend's mother was from Boston. BUT they had the delicious creamed onions, so that's become part of my own tradition now. ETA: Oops, forgot to mention the necessary (for color and acidity) cranberry sauce! Dad just used the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag, but it was an annual, and hilarious, battle because for some reason he was determined to make it set up in a mold, but it never unmolded right. Every year, I'd say "Dad, just put it in a bowl -- it's just as good," but no, the mold drama had to happen!
  4. Wow, another amazing account/pictorial of another amazing cuisine! You were in my old stomping grounds for a while -- it made me so envious, in a nice, nostalgic way My father used to own an apartment (along with two of his friends/colleagues who also went to Paris frequently for work) around the corner from Poilane and a short walk from the Bon Marche food hall, which had great prepared food for take-out. I also miss all the game meats available at the boucheries there. No one was using the apartment one summer, so I spent about 6 weeks there on my own, and cooked up squab, quail, and other things from the boucherie just for myself, as well as versions of my favorite simple things I'd eaten in the brasseries and cafes I favored at lunchtime, many of which I enjoy now. I still love sandwiches made the French way the best -- baguette (though it seems you cannot get a baguette that truly resembles a French baguette here), butter, just a slice or two of ham and Alpine cheese, and a touch of Dijon.
  5. I don't remember Circus Peanuts, but yes! homemade popcorn balls were so great. I loved Chunkies, too, as well as the mini Snickers, Baby Ruths, Reeses and so on... BUT my mother would sneak in during the night and take whatever delicious chocolate confections we had left to eat herself, and then try to gaslight us in the morning by saying we ate them all ourselves and forgotten (yes, she was a pretty awful mother in some ways). All that was left were boring things like SweetTarts, Red Vines, etc. and the really bad things mentioned above. I was a bit of a hoarder even at that early age, and had always taken a little inventory of my stash before bed so I knew she was lying.
  6. Ugh, one more for the candy corn and Necco wafers! I also hated Dixie Sticks, which were paper tubes filled with (I think) pretty much just colored sugar with a little fake fruit flavor. ETA: Googled and just realized that they are called Pixy Sticks, not Dixie. Ah, getting old.
  7. I don't like to leave braising meat in the oven that long because it ends up overcooked, and I find that unless I stir it, add liquid, etc., it tends to scorch. Also my oven is an ancient gas oven, and it makes me nervous to leave it on when I'm not home for any appreciable length of time.
  8. I'm such a goof, I thought they were real! And thought that it was weird to sell macarons, etc. next to those icky old tools! Will I never learn?! I have been enjoying this account of Belgian restaurants and chocolate purveyors very much, especially the meal at the Belgian Pigeon House. As AnnaN said, beyond jealous!
  9. I really don't like to be a contrarian, especially in this knowledgeable company, but I like my slow cooker (though I've never tried cannabutter ). Mine has an anodized aluminum insert, rather than ceramic, so you can brown meat and so forth on the stove first. I think the key (for me) is that I use it as a kind of time-shifter, rather than a time-saver. I brown the meat, cook the mirepoix, deglaze the pot, etc. just as I would for an oven braise. It is useful when I can't be available for those 3 hours or so that an oven braise needs. I put the slow cooker on low and walk away for 6-8 hours. When it is done, I remove the solids, strain the liquid, and then reduce it on the stove, as the slow cooker doesn't evaporate liquids the way an oven braise does. This results in a stew, ropa vieja, whatever floats your boat, that seems to me just as good as the braised item. It doesn't cut down on labor, but it does allow you to adapt it to your schedule.
  10. Hello heidih! Your dog is gorgeous -- I had a black lab who would look like that after a really good run in the park. Anyway, I pretty much require a boiled egg in composed salads, I think because it's in some of my favorite classics and merges so well with the dressing. I love Cobb Salad, which is from your part of the country, Salade Nicoise, Chef's Salad and so on. I make my own riffs on these but I find the egg indispensable!
  11. Thanks for the article, heidih! It was fascinating.
  12. Kasia, I love the way you write and describe the season and the recipe Though I would add fluffy comforters for the bed and big comfy sweaters to the list of autumnal joys for me
  13. Wow, robirdstx, your fridge and food storage is immaculate! When I get delivery, I just put it in the fridge in the containers it came in, all higgelty piggelty, and then have to figure out what's what when I want some. Just beautiful!
  14. Oh, my, AnnT, that pork loin looks so delicious. I want it for dinner tonight!
  15. Wow, kayb, you have really experienced all that woods, fields, and water have to offer! I envy you, even the not-so-nice possum (we had one that lived in our suburban garage when I was a kid) and coon (which knocked over our garbage cans on a regular basis). I think my only taste of wild meat was when I had a long-distance BF, who lived in Southwestern Louisiana. Oh, such good food there! I do make good gumbo now, because I craved it so after spending time there, with LOTS of help from the fabulous old gumbo thread here and a little from John Besh's My New Orleans. Anyway, we went to his grandfather's "camp" (to my surprise, actually a very nice rustic house located by a swamp) for Thanksgiving, and the main course was some ducks his grandfather had shot himself. I think they were braised, and there was rice "dressing" to go with them. Lots of other things too, but what I remember is the wonderful duck and dressing, which, thinking about now, probably had the duck liver in it. While my family had many nice Thanksgivings with the traditional turkey, what we called "stuffing" and so on, that was definitely the most memorable Thanksgiving of my life.
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