Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Day 1

Did you know that Thanksgiving is only 10 days away??!! For my readers in other parts of the world, that gigantic gasp you just heard was every one of my American readers running for their calendars, inhaling loudly, then dashing for their grocery lists and recipe boxes after rummaging around looking for a pen that writes. If you haven't gotten your menu planned, you better get going....

Thanksgiving is MBH's most favourite holiday. He likes it best over Christmas, Halloween, and Groundhog Day combined. Ok, so maybe he likes the stocking part of Christmas almost as much as Thanksgiving but that is a subject for a future post. Over the weekend, MBH helped me finalise the menu for the big meal. His contributions? Turkey, macaroni and cheese, green beans slow cooked with salt pork for at least 12 hours; exactly as God intended green beans to cook if you ask my Tennessee boy. "We have to have more than that", I exclaimed. "I don't care what you add to the menu but I'm only eating those three things." I sighed and added Parker House rolls, turnip and carrot souffle, candied yams without marshmallow fluff(yuck), homemade cranberry chutney, black olives, sweet gherkin pickles, and pumpkin pie. It is only going to be the two of us and our cat, LB. And, with exception of the Parker House rolls, MBH WILL only eat the turkey, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. However, that doesn't mean I am going to let the best food holiday ever pass me by without cooking up a storm.

Tonight, when I get home from work, I will pull out the necessary recipes and put a shopping list together. Then I'll map out my battle plan where I will be the first lieutenant guiding the plan to fruition while MBH, who always plays Field Marshall, observes through heavy lenses. I'll end up shopping several times over the next few days to avoid the weekend throngs of shoppers pushing and pulling two over-flowing carts (and to pick up the two or three things that somehow didn't make it on my list). I'll pick up our turkey Friday evening on my way home from work so he can thaw for three or four days in our fridge and be ready for his brine bath on Wednesday. I'll bake over the weekend as well as make the cranberry chutney using my great-great grandmother's recipe (family joke is it was served at the First Thanksgiving). On Tuesday, I'll pick up the green beans, de-string, break, and parboil them to let them cook all day on Wednesday (they really do taste best a day or two after they have been cooked). Finally, on Thursday all I will have to do is get up, finish the Parker House rolls, make the turnip and carrot souffle, and then liberally schmear butter, kosher salt and pepper all over the turkey, shove some thyme, garlic, and bay leaves up his backside, and then pop Mr. Tom Turkey into his cooking bag for four or five hours to slow roast in a 325 degree oven, basting him every 30 minutes or so.

If everything goes as planned, somewhere between 2pm and 4pm on Thursday, November 23, our little family (LB sits at MBH's feet hoping the whole turkey carcass will magically take a suicidal header off the table and land at his paws), will sit down to a table filled with our favourite foods and give thanks for not killing each other over the past twelve months.