Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I am sure that if you're reading this, you have a lot to be thankful for this year.  I know that I do.  And while I won't bore you with a long recitation of the people and circumstances for which I'm grateful, I'll just comment that I am most appreciative of my family and close friends on this day every year, but more than usual during what has been a challenging year for me personally and professionally.  Without them I would most definitely be a poorer man indeed.

So what are you having for Thanksgiving dinner?  Traditional turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet potatoes and bread and pie and so much other stuff?  Or are you one of those heathens who uses this occasion every year to rebel, and to make things like turkey croquettes or baked mashed potatoes (I know, a lot of this will happen AFTER Thanksgiving in a lot of households)?

One of my closest friends mentioned to me that she and her gang are not really fans of the traditional meal, so they opted for an early Thanksgiving dinner of quality carryout Italian food!  And I believe I'm correct in mentioning that today is generally the biggest day for pizza delivery in the United States.

We're pretty traditional at our house, when we have the opportunity to have the feast here at home.  For many years it was a given that we would be at my in-laws' house, but after my father-in-law passed and my mother-in-law became less comfortable hosting large groups of folks, we began to be home more frequently.

Some of that desire for traditional Thanksgiving fare is my fault, too.  Growing up my parents preferred to have ham, not turkey, and liked to simply splurge on what they considered "good" ham and have it sliced for sandwiches, eschewing the entire idea of a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner.  Once in a while we'd have the conventional meal, but only if my grandparents were joining us, they being more traditionalists than my folks!

Our daughter gifted us a number of spice-oriented items a while back and we are using the brining kit that she included.  Mixture of salt, sugar, some citrus notes, coriander seed and lots of other good stuff.  I have always believed that soaking any sort of poultry in cold salty water for a time before cooking gives it better flavor and moisture, but this will be my our first attempt at anything with a greater variety of flavorings.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Another must that we happened into a few years ago is a product from Williams-Sonoma, the cooking and gourmet food store.  It's their turkey gravy base, comes in a jar.  You add milk and some other ingredients, and the finished product is something close to perfection.  It's always the little tricks, isn't it?  Like Stove Top brand stuffing.  We like it all year, but on Thanksgiving, when you're counting on everything to be great, why risk trying an uncertain recipe for dressing?  Get the stuff you know you like, even if it's a complimentary dish life stuffing!  One of several starches we'll be having today, of course.

Can't leave without discussing pie.  Sorry to say, but I don't like pumpkin OR pecan pie, and they're the ones most folks have to have on this day.  So we're having cherry pie.  So there.

I'll close by thanking all of you who visit this space regularly, whomever and wherever you are.  It's gratifying that you stop by to read my regular expressions of, well, anything and everything.  Have a safe and happy holiday, hopefully with people you love!




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