Friday, November 27, 2009

Three Thanksgivings

Our Thanksgivings tend to follow a bit of a routine -- up early to get the turkey in the oven and scurry around cleaning and such so that we can be ready by noon to relax with a Bloody Mary and listen to the local radio station's broadcast (also a tradition) of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," a song I loved when it was new in 1967 and which seems sadly appropriate now, forty-two years later. (Had to check the math on that -- has it really been that long? And who is that white-haired old lady in my mirror?)

In past years we've had a full house for Thanksgiving. In 2007, my brother was here, as were Claui's folks and our friends the Langsners with their daughter Naomi and her friend Matt. And of course, Ethan and Aileen (my older son and his wife) were here. We turned the dining room table lengthwise and added another to it to have room for all.

Last year it was the same cast of characters, minus my brother, but we decided to string together tables down the middle of the living room to avoid crowding.

This year's gathering was small -- Ethan and Aileen are in their new home in Atlanta and still settling in, Claui and her parents have gone to Arkansas to be with her sister, and my brother, who just visited, declined to stretch his stay into Thanksgiving. So we were seven -- and we all fit into the dining room.

Despite another oven malfunction (the turkey had to finish cooking on the grill and the sweet potatoes that were meant to be roasted ended up sauteed,) it was an excellent feast. We honored tradition -- but gave it some new twists.

Louise made some wonderfully exotic befores to accompany my usual turkey liver pate, as well as a gingery cranberry sauce. Naomi and Matt brought an amazing assortment of cheeses and Justin made the sweet potatoes. I'll share the menu below. (For my friends in the UK -- our crackers don't come with party hats -- they are what I think you would call savory biscuits,)

Bloody Marys
Turkey liver pate
Marinated cauliflower
Cucumber and grape salsa with mint and fennel
Miso and walnut pesto
Rice crackers
Smoked almonds

Turkey basted with butter, red currant jelly, orange juice, and mustard
Dressing with celery, apples, and onions
Cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce with ginger
Green beans with pecans
Sweet potatoes sauteed in garlic oil garnished with fried sage leaves
Green salad
Cranberry gelatin salad with celery, pineapple, and pecans

Frozen pumpkin mousse in a pecan crust
Assorted cheeses
Port, Coffee, Glen Rothes single malt Scotch

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Martin H. said...

Wow Vicki, what a feast! I've only just finished my breakfast, but I'm starting to feel hungry all over again.

Crackers can mean either in the UK. The things we pull, complete with party hats, savoury biscuits, or a descriptive term for someone who has lost the plot! There are times when I can relate a little too closely to the latter.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely menu Vicki. Everything sounds wonderful, especially the Bloody Mary at lunch listening to the radio. You have some fun traditions. I'm not familiar with turkey liver pate....sounds good though.

Be glad you weren't at our house with your crowd. Our dishwasher gave up the ghost and is on the fritz. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Vicki Lane said...

Hi, Sam -- the turkey liver pate is kind of my take on chopped liver -- and something to do with the liver. (The other giblets go into the gravy.) I just simmer the liver till done and whir it up with butter and a bit of onion and madeira. Most of my family hate liver but one of my guets and I are fond of this little spread.

We don't have a dishwasher -- but various folks pitch in and bit by bit it all gets done,

Hi, Martin -- Oh my, so can I!

maría cecilia said...

Hi Vicki, as I see your dinner already happened. I´m glad to see you gathered with the people you love and love you. For a long time I didn´t hear about Bloody Mary drink, I thought it was extinguished, it brings me back memories..
Many hugs to you
María Cecilia

Vicki Lane said...

Maria Cecelia -- Thanksgiving in the US is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. (Canada also ha a Thanksgiving celebration but I believe it's on a Monday.)

I like this holiday because it's focused on friends and family and food -- no gift giving frenzy, no cards to send, no attendant parties (we save that for Christmas.)

phyllis w. said...

Yum! Your meal looks delicious.

By noon, our turkey was resting, cleaning was done, and hubby and I sat down and put our feet up and listened to "Alice's Restaurant" before guests started trickling in. I hadn't heard it in years, and we enjoyed the break and a laugh or two!

Happy "Black Friday." I always enjoy this day after - the house is still clean and the fridge is stuffed with food. I may do a little cyber shopping, but I'm certainly not venturing out into the crowds!

Vicki Lane said...

Fun to think of you all listening to Arlo too!

Oh yes, today is far too peaceful to even think of going shopping. That is so much not my idea of fun -- I'm not a shopper in the best of times and the Black Friday crush sounds like a nightmare to me.

Vagabonde said...

You certainly had a Thanksgiving feast and everything sounds so yummy. We had a nice meal at the Diner but it would have been better with family and friends. So you like Arlo too? I bought a couple of his records in the 60s too. My favorite song is the City of New Orleans – I still remember the lyrics for the chorus: “Good Morning America how are you? Don’t you know me I’m your native son, I’m the train they call the City of New Orleans, I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done. “ Last year I bought a children’s book for my grandson and it was called The City of New Orleans and the lyrics were on each page. Actually I was looking at taking the only train that runs from Atlanta on Amtrak and it goes to New Orleans – one way is $49 so I am thinking of going there for my birthday in March as I have not been back since 2000 – it’s such a great city and the food….

Vicki Lane said...

New Orleans! Sounds wonderful. I have to admit I've never been there except for when the bus I was riding to Mexico stopped for thirty minutes at dawn and a friend and I ran to see the French Quarter.