Good morning and Happy Pre-Turkey Day!!
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday (mainly because of stuffing and pie). This year I am going to make a recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook (my favorite Boston bakery). Blueberry Lemon Pie. Doesn’t that sound tasty and fantastic?! I know it is a bit summery for Thanksgiving, but sometimes you need a little variety to go with all the pumpkin pies. I love this holiday because it is the one time of year where sweatpants (elastic waistband included) is appropriate attire. When it comes to Thanksgiving I have one motto: Go Big or Go Home! Needless to say, I will be eating a lot tomorrow.
But my favorite part, oddly enough isn’t the big dinner, it’s the part before hand, the preparation. I love spending the morning in the kitchen baking and cooking, tasting bits here and there, spending time with friends and family. Those are the best parts. Unfortunately, I can’t even remember the last time I was home for Thanksgiving. In college it was too far/expensive to fly from Syracuse, New York to San Jose, California in such a short amount of time, so I was adopted by various friends and brought home to eat their traditional dinners and meet their families. I’m lucky to have amazing friends, who happen to have really good food at Thanksgiving.
In college, I usually went home to Schenectady, New York with one of my dearest friends, Kait, whose mom makes everything from scratch, even the butter. The whole family would alternate shaking the mason jar with heavy cream inside throughout the day until it became butter. Kait’s mom’s menu also included two key items: mashed potatoes with cream cheese (you just have to try them to experience the gloriousness) and stuffed artichokes, the family favorite. Let me preface this by saying how rare it is to come across people who make artichokes on the East Coast. It is definitely more of a West Coast thing, so you can understand how me, the California girl, felt right at home at Kait’s house for Thanksgiving. Plus the stuffed artichokes are absolutely outstanding! But it wasn’t just the food that I loved about Kait’s, it was her family and the feel of their house, so cozy and welcoming. The house creaks when you walk down the hall and when you wake up in the morning the first sound you hear is Kait’s brother playing the piano. And not just fooling around playing, but like “I’m a music major and amazing” playing, it was wonderful (although after years of this I’m sure Kait and her family felt differently some mornings). I loved that house because it had so much character. It was the perfect place to spend Thanksgiving when I couldn’t be with my own family.
When I moved to Boston, I was adopted by the Gil Family. My roommate Lindsey, who is from a very large Irish Catholic family in New Jersey, brought me home for my first large scale Thanksgiving event. And let me tell you, when the Gils do Thanksgiving, they go all out! Which of course fit in well with my Thanksgiving motto. They rent a hall and have around 60 people. Most of which are all immediate family, her father is one of ten! It was overwhelming and crazy, and in the beginning I probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights, but it was great. I loved that they had this tradition of a huge family get together. It was so welcoming and wonderful. My dad’s family, which is where I used to spend Thanksgiving when I was home in California is also a big Irish Catholic family, so for me it was a little like coming home, minus the Jersey accents of course 😉
Now, I spend my Thanksgivings with my boyfriend Frank’s family here in Ohio. Lucky for me Frank’s mom is one of the best cooks I know. Her food is AMAZING! We usually end up over at his aunt’s house for dinner after I spend the morning cooking and baking with his mom. And it is perfect, my favorite part of the day. I doesn’t hurt that she is one who makes the stuffing too (which I get to taste test in the morning).
After all my visits to different Thanksgivings, I found I had two very useful things to offer:
1. I love to chop, peel, and mash, which means all those time consuming tasks that no one wants to do I will. I assume this has something to do with the fact that I like to do painstaking tasks like cutting tiny bits of paper out.
2. I don’t cry when I cut onions. It’s my superpower.
So as someone who has spent most of her Thanksgivings with other people’s families, I have a few tips:
Always be grateful
Say please and thank you
Help the cook
Offer to taste test 😉
Happy Turkey Day everyone!