Thursday, November 24, 2011

guess what I'm making for Thanksgiving dinner ...

... Reservations! (yes, it's an old joke, but it makes me smile.)

Last year I tried to go all out and make a special turkey dinner. I followed a turkey in brine recipe and it came out perfectly, but my family really didn't like it. This year I'm spending the holiday with the like-minded cousin who also doesn't like to spend the whole day in the kitchen. We're all going out. To an Italian restaurant. And I'm really looking forward to it. This Thanksgiving we are making reservations.

"That will be a table for six, please."
Now don't get me wrong. I love all the traditional Thanksgiving meal stuff like turkey and/or ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie ... especially when someone else has been doing the bulk of the cooking. My childhood was pretty bereft of traditional American fare. No mac and cheese or pot roasts or casserole anythings. My mom joked that when she first got married she didn't even know how to boil water and had to ask her mother-in-law how. That may not have been that far from the truth. Luckily, my grandma was a phenomenal cook and my mom a fast learner in those days. But Grandma was also a Sicilian who had married a Northern Italian, so most of the dishes that were passed down were Italian. I still cook that way. I can't complain. Italian is one of the world's top cuisines. But that's my skill set.

One more word about traditional Thanksgiving fare. I loathe stuffing. I don't understand it. Maybe I've just never had any good stuffing. I've read recipes which mention sage and chestnuts and just about anything that you can imagine, but it still leaves me cold. I like turkey, but not the stuffing.

Over the past seven years or so my mom used to come up and visit my daughter and me while we were still living in Washington, D.C. I didn't want to cook a really big dinner for three or four people, so most of the time we made reservations. I guess that is my true Thanksgiving tradition, which now I'm finally coming to embrace and accept.

 So whatever your plans for the holiday are, I hope that you enjoy your own traditions, cuisine, family and friends. And don't forget to give thanks to whoever cooked your meal or whoever made the restaurant reservations.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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