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kayb

Thanksgiving 2019

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The biggest problem or goal of Thanksgiving and a few other major family get-together meals is ascertaining and including the disparate parts that various members consider mandatory.     When demands/expectations get out of line, it sometimes works to parcel out dishes.    The final menu can get pretty bizarre, but so are family gatherings.   

 

As a child, I remember the laborious production of stuffing with rigorously chopped onions, cubing and oven drying of bread, carefully measured herbs.       I use Pepperidge Farms corn bread stuffing, and God help you if that's not what our son finds on his plate.    No longer the fight over there being too much sage in the dressing.    Traditions morph, for better or worse.    But their tie that binds remains.  

 

 

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We have an invitation to friends who are good cooks.  The turkey is apparently being brined, then rubbed with seasoning, then wrapped bacon, then smoked and something about the bacon coming off so the skin can crisper.  All I have to do is make a green salad and select some wine to take.

Can’t wait.

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1 hour ago, Kim Shook said:

I always make my turkey gravy ahead of time and freeze it.  I use turkey necks to make it and it is good enough to elevate even the driest, dullest breast of turkey to sublime.  There are only two things in this world that I think I make better than anyone else - peanut butter cookies and turkey gravy.  I wish I thought my MIL would let me supply the gravy, but she likes the drama of the last minute gravy prep.  

 

I think I would actually like that Cantonese Chicken Salad, @heidih!  It calls for "rice sticks".  Do you reckon that these would work just as well?

 

 

 

Yes what you memtioned is more crunchy I actually like more :)  ETA: also gravy ahead with roasted necks girl here. Big country but we are all connected food-wise


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9 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

A friend of ours who is a chef gave me detailed instructions for actually roasting the turkey (and of course the gravy) a day ahead and packing it up so that it really doesn't dry out and can bheated the next day. For those of us who don't care if anyone sees a platter with a whole critter ready for its Hollywood moment, and for someone like me who just hates the "day of" frenzy, this has been a revelation. 

 

That's how I always do it, as well. I honestly don't know anyone who carves the whole bird at the table anymore, so why fuss with it?

My bird is currently thawing in the fridge. On Saturday I'll separate it into top and bottom halves and roast them in separate pans, so both white and dark meat can cook in their own time (and also, so I get twice as much crispy skin). :) The carcass gets stripped as soon as it cools enough to handle, which in my case doesn't take long because my hands are pretty heatproof. Then I divide it into shallow containers and put it in the fridge to chill properly.

 

The neck, gizzard, and carcass get simmered up for a quick batch of broth, while the drippings chill and separate in the fridge. That's the gravy, and usually a pot of soup and/or a turkey pie a couple of days later. I slice the chilled meat into two foil pans (one for light, one for dark) and dribble a bit of the broth over them, then seal them with foil. They get reheated the next day. Basically, I try to work it so all I have to do "day of" is cook the veg.

The skin won't stay crisp overnight but you can re-crisp it in the oven or toaster oven. Or do what I do, which is eat it all while carving up the turkey and making broth, since nobody else in our extended circle seems to care for it (!!!).

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“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I think we are heading up to Minneapolis to have T-Day with my daughter, SIL and 6 month old granddaughter. Weather permitting. 

My daughter and I will probably do the cooking. If it were up to her, the meal would only consist of sausage dressing and gravy. Maybe pumpkin pie for after the carb coma subsided. 

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That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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58 minutes ago, chileheadmike said:

 

My daughter and I will probably do the cooking. If it were up to her, the meal would only consist of sausage dressing and gravy. Maybe pumpkin pie for after the carb coma subsided. 

 

Hear, hear!     But may I have some mashed potatoes too?

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Canadian Thanksgiving here too.

 

We have been doing the EXACT SAME Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 40 years. I am not allowed to change a single thing. Once I tried to make sweet potatoes instead of squash and boy, the uproar! This unruly group arrives on Saturday morning and doesn't leave until midday on Monday. EVERY SINGLE MEAL must follow the script, right down to breakfasts and snacks. I am fine with this Carved-in-Stone sceanario because it relieves me of any expectation to come up with creative approaches to any part of the weekend meal plan.

 

For the actual Thanksgiving dinner I roast a gigantic turkey (fresh), stuffed with my mother's weird Hungarian stuffing; there's sweet and sour red cabbage with apples; my famous Cloud of Squash; homemade red wine cranberry sauce; gravy, of course; honey pumpkin pies and apple pies. It must be so.

 

The Young Ones create an annual cocktail. Last year's included my homemade crabapple vodka.

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10 hours ago, Nyleve Baar said:

We have been doing the EXACT SAME Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 40 years.

 

I can well understand this.    My father's family lived in Maine until the mid1800s.    They and their children held tight to the traditions they remembered.     Turkey, bread stuffing, giblet gravy, creamed onions, pureed pumpkin, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie,   Claret.   This menu was intact throughout their lives.   

 

A generation removed, we've dumped the onions and pumpkin, added kid-acceptable veg.    I swapped cornbread stuffing for bread stuffing, exed the giblets from the gravy.    .   

 

I have no doubt that our son's family will create its own version that preserves the best and reflects their California tastes.   

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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

 

I can well understand this.    My father's family lived in Maine until the mid1800s.    They and their children held tight to the traditions they remembered.     Turkey, bread stuffing, giblet gravy, creamed onions, pureed pumpkin, cranberry sauce, rolls, pumpkin pie,   Claret.   This menu was intact throughout their lives.   

 

A generation removed, we've dumped the onions and pumpkin, added kid-acceptable veg.    I swapped cornbread stuffing for bread stuffing, exed the giblets from the gravy.    .   

 

I have no doubt that our son's family will create its own version that preserves the best and reflects their California tastes.   

I can also understand it and, in many ways, I like it.  While I love making small changes to traditional meals, I also love that I make basically the same menu for Christmas dinner (except since our schedule has had to change in recent years, sometimes our "Christmas" dinner comes in January) that my family has sat down to for near 100 years.  Turkey, oyster stuffing, cheese stuffed potatoes, fruit salad.  I've certainly made some changes, but it is a continuation and remembrance of family and folks who I didn't even know except by name.  That's why I love when people give me recipes with names like "Aunt Minnie's Peanut Brittle" and "Aunt San's Cornbread Dressing".  

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Thanksgiving is all about the sides and gravy for me.  If carbs have a holiday, it's Thanksgiving.  I hate white meat turkey and dark meat (which I prefer) is almost never cooked correctly at the feasts I attend.  So I almost always skip the turkey and  load my plate with the "good stuff" and gravy and rejoice.

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59 minutes ago, lemniscate said:

Thanksgiving is all about the sides and gravy for me.  If carbs have a holiday, it's Thanksgiving.  I hate white meat turkey and dark meat (which I prefer) is almost never cooked correctly at the feasts I attend.  So I almost always skip the turkey and  load my plate with the "good stuff" and gravy and rejoice.

Amen, Sister.

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Several of my favorite Thanksgivings were at a relatives club during a hiatus in family patri- or matriarchy.    Our gatherings were all about being together and maintaining cohesiveness, and/but/yet the buffet covered every possible holiday desire.    I just cozied up to the giant arrangement of jumbo prawns and cocktail sauce and practically made a meal of it.     Rounded out (plate and me) by stuffing and gravy.     What a fine meal!   

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I'm going to try and pass along the Thanksgiving tradition to my nieces or nephews. My wife passed away this summer and I am not up to cooking for 25 to 35 people alone. In the past we would do maybe two out of three years and see if someone picked up their own tradition but I think I need to suggest it specifically. I'm sure that I will have a small Thanksgiving in the future, but it will be a smaller more intimate affair.

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Oh @dans many sympathies and I can identify as when my grandmother died my grandfather(who we lived with), just couldn't face doing Christmas/Thanksgiving for two or three years.

I have not received my marching orders for the two Thanksgiving celebrations we attend with his cousins.   I'm expecting to have to make sausage stuffing and Portugese Sweet Bread for one and a GF lactose free green bean casserole for the other.   And I have a working oven/stove this year!!!!!

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Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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We do Thanksgiving for 60+ people here in Pátzcuaro. We rent tables and chairs to spread around the house and garden, and I hire a lovely young woman to help. Chela is all of 5 feet tall, with a smile that lights up the room, and just about everyone knows and likes her. She pours wine, makes sure the buffet table is clean and well supplied, clears plates and glasses, washes dishes, and helps with the clean-up at the end of the day. I'll never do Thanksgiving without her. (She also cuts hair and does manicures and pedicures.)

 

I make the turkeys (2), cook a ham if I can find one or a couple of slabs of Costco salmon if I can't, both on the grill , make the dressing and gravy and sometimes a side dish like my grandmother's red cabbage or glazed carrots, and cranberry sauce if we can find cranberries at the right time. Everyone else brings their favorite dishes. Three categories: appetizer, side dish, or dessert. I ask people to let me know what they plan to bring so we can avoid having too many duplicates. It works out nicely for everyone and we have a grand time. I think people enjoy the company and the opportunity to make some dish that they've always loved. Thanksgiving is to be shared, after all.

 

Several years ago I gave up on the Norman Rockwell roasted turkey and began cutting apart the birds so I can roast the dark meat first and then lay the breasts on top to finish cooking. That way all parts are done properly and the breast meat isn't dried out. It takes some effort to cut apart a turkey--those bones are darned thick. I enlist my husband to do that, and it usually requires a mallet and a heavy knife.

 

As October comes to an end I'll send out the invitations. I love doing this--Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I just hope our street is finished by then--we're getting new cobblestones and water and sewer. Right now there's a small army out there chipping and laying stones--the Anvil Chorus. We already have the new sidewalks. Progress!

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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3 hours ago, dans said:

I'm going to try and pass along the Thanksgiving tradition to my nieces or nephews. My wife passed away this summer and I am not up to cooking for 25 to 35 people alone. In the past we would do maybe two out of three years and see if someone picked up their own tradition but I think I need to suggest it specifically. I'm sure that I will have a small Thanksgiving in the future, but it will be a smaller more intimate affair.

 

Funny cuz kids will say they do not care and then years later they pull out tradition memories. We keep bits and pieces. Best wishes

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It might be aa worthwhile project to make a small booklet of your Thanksgiving recipes with photos and stories when appropriate.    Maybe "xerox" and attach hand=written "receipts" from a long-gone relative.   

 

I did this some time ago for our son, including his favorite therefore memorable dishes.    Over time, as something new has become important, I've just made up a new page and passed it along at Christmas.     He (claims he) loves it.

 

With color printers now and desktop publishing, plastic sleeves and a loose-leaf binder, easy, inexpensive to make up for several recipients, yet priceless,     And so much better now than too late...

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Yup I did the loose leaf binder w/ plastic sleeves for our famiy one from Mom - my sister sobbed. 

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18 hours ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

...

I make the turkeys (2), cook a ham if I can find one or a couple of slabs of Costco salmon if I can't, both on the grill , make the dressing and gravy and sometimes a side dish like my grandmother's red cabbage or glazed carrots, and cranberry sauce if we can find cranberries at the right time. Everyone else brings their favorite dishes. Three categories: appetizer, side dish, or dessert. I ask people to let me know what they plan to bring so we can avoid having too many duplicates. It works out nicely for everyone and we have a grand time. I think people enjoy the company and the opportunity to make some dish that they've always loved. Thanksgiving is to be shared, after all.

 

Several years ago I gave up on the Norman Rockwell roasted turkey and began cutting apart the birds so I can roast the dark meat first and then lay the breasts on top to finish cooking. That way all parts are done properly and the breast meat isn't dried out. It takes some effort to cut apart a turkey--those bones are darned thick. I enlist my husband to do that, and it usually requires a mallet and a heavy knife.

...

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

We were even more specific when assigning what people were to bring. Everyone has a specialty that they do well so that is what we assigned. For those that don't cook we assigned a pie or cookies. It made it so much easier to get a "balanced" meal and not one heavy with casseroles, deserts, or veggie platters.

 

We started doing 2 turkeys also. Cooking one on Thanksgiving day took up so much time in the oven. So we started cooking one bird the day before and cutting it up. Once I got the BGE, I started doing the second on it (adding a little apple or cherry wood). The second bird was always the first to go. Cooking it on the BGE freed up the oven for everything else that needed time there.

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16 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

It might be aa worthwhile project to make a small booklet of your Thanksgiving recipes with photos and stories when appropriate.    Maybe "xerox" and attach hand=written "receipts" from a long-gone relative.   

 

We got our celebration done to a science. I've got all the recipes in a document and use it to create a shopping list based on what we will be serving. The document has been given out to anyone who asks for the recipe for something. Hopefully, they read through it and picked out something alse to try.

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Our tradition took most of a week to prepare. I mentioned in a previous post that I created a shopping list for our menu. Shopping the week of Thanksgiving is always hectic so I did it early in the week.

 

I would make chicken/turkey stock with chicken wings and turkey legs. This went for the gravy and other things that required stock (dressing, etc.). Bread was readied to the stuffing/dressing. The onions, sausage, etc. for it were also cooked ahead. Putting it all together and cooking it was simple. Some of the vegetables sweet potato casserole, etc.) could be prepped ahead and cooked off on the day.

 

We always had the usual dishes (turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, etc.), but I always changed-up something each year. I never made the standard veggies. Sometimes it was roasted squash (never boiled and mashed) sometimes glazed, sometimes, ginger mashed. I thought it kept things interesting.

 

I always stock up on the plastic food storage containers when they on sale. Various sizes so that you aren't taking up a lot of space with a little bit of leftover something. As we are putting food away, I package it into multiple containers. As each person/family leaves, they get a shopping  bag with another meal. 

 

Cleanup goes pretty quickly. Lots of hands make quick work.  We bought place settings and flatware for 40. It packs into the dishwasher pretty well. It may take several loads but it works. Pots and pans are the most difficult thing. We really had good intentions to clean these as we are done with them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it only partially works. But we usually had some at the end of the night.

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1 hour ago, dans said:

We were even more specific when assigning what people were to bring. Everyone has a specialty that they do well so that is what we assigned. For those that don't cook we assigned a pie or cookies. It made it so much easier to get a "balanced" meal and not one heavy with casseroles, deserts, or veggie platters.

 

We started doing 2 turkeys also. Cooking one on Thanksgiving day took up so much time in the oven. So we started cooking one bird the day before and cutting it up. Once I got the BGE, I started doing the second on it (adding a little apple or cherry wood). The second bird was always the first to go. Cooking it on the BGE freed up the oven for everything else that needed time there.

 

I always had a big crowd. I started doing a smoked turkey as #2 - warmed on the Weber BBQ. Well received with horseradish/sour cream sauce  AfricanAmerican parts of town have them cheap. Even Kroger derivative: Food4Less


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22 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Even Kroger derivative: Food4Less

 

 

We LOVE Food4Less!    We stop at one in Lodi on the way to the country.    Huge, immaculately clean store, super-wide aisles, excellent produce and shelf goods.    Meats a cut below what I buy in the city.    Very friendly accommodating staff.    In the Lodi area, a fabulous selection of Latino product.    Well run store.   I wish we had one close to home.

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31 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

 

We LOVE Food4Less!    We stop at one in Lodi on the way to the country.    Huge, immaculately clean store, super-wide aisles, excellent produce and shelf goods.    Meats a cut below what I buy in the city.    Very friendly accommodating staff.    In the Lodi area, a fabulous selection of Latino product.    Well run store.   I wish we had one close to home.

 

Alwaysb super great bottled hot sauce selection :)

 

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I'm contemplating smoking my turkey this year; guess it will depend on how big the turkey is, as my little Masterbilt won't handle a big one. I might just buy an extra turkey breast and smoke that. Say, @rotuts, have you posted the procedure for smoking your turkey breasts in recipe gullet, or do I have to go hunt it down?

 


Don't ask. Eat it.

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