The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

For those of us who live and blog in the USA, traditionally, the post-Thanksgiving post is a musing on what blessings one has, and the importance of taking a moment to think on them.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have blessings by the fistful, starting with fantastic friends and family, many of whom were around the table this year.  But for me, the true meaning of Thanksgiving is the food. Yes, I admit it.  I’m hopelessly shallow.  I started cooking two days ahead of time this year and the big fun for me was not only seeing that fantastic array of friends and family, but laying out a traditional feast.

So, I dedicate this post to Turkey Day dissection and encourage you, gentle blog reader, to share your menus and food-related tales from The Big Feast.

Here’s what we had:

Turkey (I’m a purist when it comes to the main dish)


Corn bread and bacon dressing

Baked mashed potatoes (more on that in a minute)

Homemade cranberry relish

Sauteed asperagus

Buttered green beans

Pumpkin pie

There should have been cloverleaf rolls, but, my bad, I scalded the milk and didn’t wait until it had cooled sufficiently to mix it with the yeast, and so killed the yeast.

There were several inovations on the table this year.  Always a risk, but for the most part they worked.  The fresh relish was something I’d never made before, but I got it out of THE WAY TO COOK, which I refer to as the Gospel of St. Julia, and it was not only simple but delicious.  Went with a corn bread stuffing rather than a straight bread dressing, and my only problem there is the poultry seasoning turned the whole thing a rather off-putting green.  But it tasted good.  Maybe less poultry seasoning next year and more…dunno.  Fresh sage?

The biggest risk I took was messing with the mashed potatoes.  But I heard this fantastic recepie on the Food Network. Basically, you mash the potatoes, mix in cheese and extra butter (and bacon), cover with more cheese and breadcrumbs and bake.  Basically it gives you a big pan of twice-baked potato insides.  I figured there was no bad here, and it turns out I was right.

So, what did you cook this year?  How’d it turn out?  Did you try anything new?  Any spectacular successes?  Any mournful failures?  Any thoughts on how to keep corn bread stuffing from turning green in the bird?

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The True Meaning of Thanksgiving — 3 Comments

  1. I brined a turkey, because it was small enough to fit into a lobster kettle. Then I roasted it at 500 degrees for -one hour-. This always works fine as long as the bird is at room temperature, not stuffed, and less than 14 lbs.

    Also made a chocolate mint mousse cake, from a Martha Stewart recipe, that was actually too rich. We were unable to finish it, and I froze the remainder. Must think what to do to render it yet more edible.

  2. Turkey (free range and free, courtesy of my husband’s employers).
    Stuffing (herbed bread stuffing–nothing fancy. It’s the stuffing of my youth, and since no one else in the house crushes on stuffing, I do it my way).
    Mashed potatoes (the Spouse’s contribution. He’s scary good with a ricer, some half-and-half, and too much butter).
    Gravy (no giblets. eww).
    Peas (the young insist. I like braised Brussels sprouts better).
    Salad (greens with hearts of palm, home-roasted red pepper, and bacon).
    Cranberry relish (my brother-in-law’s recipe, with chunks of dried apricot and orange. I make too much and spend my post-Thanksgiving days eating it in spoonsful from the jar).
    Apple pie
    Pumpkin pie
    Whipped cream with a little honey.
    Browned butter ice cream from Humphrey Slocumbe

    On Thursday night I felt like a python that had swallowed an elk, but everyone professed to be thankful.

  3. I went to a communal gathering, where the hostess did the turkey, dressing, gravy, and potatoes (regular mashed and sweet potato mashed with a bit more chiles than I could handle) and we were all ordered to bring veggies and pie (pie being the purpose of our gathering.) No green bean casserole was allowed.

    I represented the macrobiotic, gluten-free group, so I did not eat the cornbread stuffing or gravy. The turkey and crimson cranberries (with oranges and liqueur) were outstanding, the sweeties good but booby-trapped. Everyone else had turkey gumbo the next day — I had leftover turkey, sweeties and cranberries — and my contribution, a gluten-free pumpkin pie with a crushed pecan crust.

    I made kale pesto and also some crusty sourdough garlic bread for it (I ate mine on brown rice tortillas.) I assured everyone that I would be happy to throw myself on the kale grenade, both days. It did not make it back into the fridge that first night. The hostess’s mom prides herself on trying everything, so though dubious about kale, she was game, and actually liked it. The hostess dislikes too much basil, so this was a pesto she could embrace, being basil free!

    Since I can’t do much dairy now, I just ate my pie. And was very happy with it! I ate more on Friday (better known in my circle as Stupid Mall Fest) and had a very satisfactory holiday!