This year, with my mother on holiday in China, it was just going to be me, my brothers, my father and my sister in law for Thanksgiving. Just 5 people, but the most important people in my life. So, I moved Thanksgiving dinner to my place and cooked them a hearty meal that didn’t just involve one pot.
But first…tradition. For a few years now, my brother, Andrew, my father and myself always ran the Rockland 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I finished 45 seconds slower than last year, but I was also pacing a little more conservatively. I also out sprinted a 10 year old boy to the finish…much to be proud of!
After the race, my other brother, Jeff, made us all Oatmeal Raisin cookie pancakes (Stew Leonard’s sells 2 cup packages of Butter milk!), and then I got to work.
On the menu:
Roasted red potatoes with Spain cracked Rosemary.
Roasted butternut squash with red onions
Carrot slaw (Serious Eats) and arugula salad
We aren’t traditional, and I wasn’t making a Turkey for only 5 people. I figured it would be more fun to make everyone their own little bird. To keep it simpler, I chose things that I had made before, or didn’t require any kitchen theatrics. Except for one thing.
I had intended to make a sweet potato pie. Except with the craziness involved with trying to get everything in the oven for a dinner at a reasonable hour, I didn’t really focus on the pie. The big mistake was that it was the first time I was making this sweet potato pie (Dave Lieberman), which had a graham cracker crust (to keep it simple) and the multiple steps involved were too complicated when trying to also manhandle and stuff 6 hens. So that suffered. It looks awful, but was still pretty edible. I am doing everyone a favor by not posting a picture. Not a total loss, except I’m the only one eating it for now. Thank goodness for the backup pie from Martha’s Bakery, Andrew and my sister in law were able to snag on Wednesday on their way up.
The one thing I keep forgetting when trying to get these dinners together is, there’s no such thing as a simple dinner. Even though I tried my best to streamline this one, it was still lot more complicated than I thought. At many points I was at a total loss as to what I should do next. The smoke detector went off once, and my bathtub is now holding a bunch of baking sheets and mixing bowls that needed a place to dry. By now you would think I had this cooking dinner thing down!
Alas I don’t. But I am thankful that I have my family around a table, eating, laughing and having a good time. I am thankful that I have a home to entertain them in and the good fortune that has shown down on us this year. We are all happy and healthy, what else can you ask for?