So it’s that time of year gain, and I am once more preparing for Thanksgiving. This is a task made slightly more difficult by a) living in Britain, and b) cooking for a family largely unfamiliar with American food.
On the plus side, their idea of American food at Thanksgiving would be satisfied for them if I served Turkey Breast Fajitas (which, as I type, strikes me as not such a bad idea after all). On the debit side, they are as a group somewhat unwilling to eat sweet potatoes or pumpkin or corn that didn’t come from a can. On the corn front, my nephew considers eating corn on the cob “too much effort for too little reward” whilst my mother just mutters darkly about having dentures.
But, as with every year, I plow on. In recent years, I have in fact perfected my Thanksgiving menu, so much so that it’s become a little stale for me; too easily achieved by rote. So this year I’m shaking it up a little bit. I’m sticking to my staples, but re-working them slightly to give my menu more punch and interest. That interest isn’t just to keep me entertained in the kitchen, though I firmly believe that one shouldn’t just repeat dishes year after year to the extent that cooking for a celebration becomes drudge work. It also keeps the family and guests entertained. No need this year for them to feign excitement over the same dish they’ve eaten for the last five years, or even to politely avoid said dish.
This year they’ll try green beans a different way, and perhaps suck down even more wine, if only to cool the added heat I’m injecting into the stuffing. Because this year it’s all about a bit more heat. My Thanksgiving menus tend to the comforting and heavy end of things, so I’m banking on more heat and spice to satisfy the diners, instead of huge portions, thus leaving me more leftovers to consume well after dinner is over, when I can actually enjoy the food I’ve cooked, instead of waiting for the reviews.
So this is my Thanksgiving menu for Turkey Day 2007:
- Roast Turkey basted with a thyme and garlic butter, and larded with bacon and bay leaves.
- Port and cranberry gravy.
- White and wild rice stuffing with chestnuts, sage, thyme, and chorizo.
- Whipped potatoes with sour cream and chives.
- Creamed onions with brandy and nutmeg.
- Corn on the cob with lime and green chili butter.
- Roasted butternut squash and green beans with sage, lemon, and whole garlic cloves.
- Pecan pie and butterscotch custard pie, with cardamom and vanilla ice cream.
- Lashings of wine for the chef.