For the first time in longer than I can remember, Thanksgiving is done and overwith before 5pm, with dishes done, food put away, and me feeling none the worse for wear. Our low-key Thanksgiving went off without a hitch this year, and it’s been the best one we’ve had in years. I got back to basics, cooking the same things I did for the first 10 or so years we’ve been married, without all the hoopla and experimentation that has gone on during the last couple of years. And in the words of my husband, “I don’t care about you trying new recipes the rest of the year, just don’t f*ck with Thanksgiving”. Apparently, the only reason he was staging a mutiny against Thankgiving was because for the last two years, I made changes that frankly – just sucked.
I’ve got to say, I agree with him. Familiar flavors are what Thanksgiving is about. It may not be gourmet, and it may not be local, but damn, it’s gooood.
We didn’t brine the bird, but we did stuff it to overflowing, so it took about 30 minutes after the bird timer popped for the stuffing to get up to a safe temp. Thankfully, that wasn’t long enough to overcook the bird. I burnt my finger on the probe as I was taking it out of the oven, but other than that one little ouchie, the bird came out beautifully. It smelled so good when it was cooking – the smell of Thanksgiving turkey is one of my favorites in the world.
The stuffing came out with the exact flavor we were looking for, and a much better texture than it had a couple of weeks ago. Our stuffing recipe is really simple – about 2 loaves of bread, a chopped onion and a couple chopped stalks of celery, a stick of melted butter, and some turkey broth, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. After cooking in the bird, it had really awesome flavor. My husband and I fought over the crunchy bits of stuffing stuck to the skin.
I made my candied yam recipe this year with a little bit less of the candied topping – I wanted it to complement rather than overwhelm the sweetness of the yams, and I threw the marshmallows on there as a concession to my husband. I can either take them or leave them, but he really wanted them there. I also used spiced rum in the place of regular rum this year. This is one of my favorite dishes to both make and eat.
The canberry sauce (complete with can marks on the side) is a requisite part of Thanksgiving that we just don’t want to do without. I know it’s easy enough to make this from scratch, but what can I say – I just like the canned cranberry jelly better. It also tastes great spread on post-Thanksgiving grilled turkey sandwiches.
And I already told you we cheated by using Bob Evans Green Bean Casserole. I’m not a fan of green bean casserole myself (it’s my husband’s cup of tea), but we both agree that this is still better than any I can make from scratch, for some reason.
Likewise, we cheated with the mashed potatoes and used Yoder’s Homestyle refrigerated. It’s simple enough to make mashed ‘taters, but with just the two of us, who wants that many leftovers? Especially when you can’t tell much of a difference…
And of course no Thanksgiving would be complete without gravy made from pan drippings, the best I’ve had in years. I’ve found the secret to making good gravy – adding cream to even out the flavor.
Here’s a pic of my plate, fully loaded and ready to eat:
I’m letting dinner settle before we eat dessert – more about that later.
You know, I really thought I’d miss being around family this year, but to be honest, there’s a whole lot less stress when you don’t have to worry about people coming over. I hate the drama that comes with a family Thanksgiving, with all the different personalities clashing and the arguments that inevitably break out. I hate dealing with alcoholics, who use the holiday as an excuse to get out of control drunk and obnoxious. And there’s less worry about things coming out perfectly, with each person having certain peculiarities and food issues to consider. I know what to expect with hubby. And I know that even if things go wrong, we can laugh it off and deal with it with humor. That makes so much difference when your health is kind of iffy. And I can bring my sister a plate when I see her tomorrow (she had to work today), so it’s all good I suppose.
Either way, thank goodness it’s done with for another year. Technically, this time next year we’ll be post surgery, so this type of high-carb meal won’t agree with us. But I think it’s the one day a year you can throw caution to the wind and deal with the effects afterward – sometimes it’s just worth it.
What did the rest of you do/have today? Did everything go smoothly? Any plans for leftovers yet? And for my non-American visitors, getting tired of seeing turkey yet?