Friday, November 16, 2007

My Favorite Day

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The year I graduated from college, I insist that my family celebrate Thanksgiving at my place. I recently got into cooking, and I was confident I could prepare the Thanksgiving meal – all by myself.

I do my research. I plan exactly how to prepare my turkey - brined in salt, sugar and citrus - then stuffed with garlic, lemon and herbs, and slow roasted. I find the most decadent garlic buttermilk mashed potato recipe. The cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and pear crostata are accounted for.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dad’s job was to bring the wine. He shows up at 11 a.m. with the mixings for sangria, two six packs of beer, and half a case of red. (I'm pretty sure I don't put down my wine glass until after dessert was served... Amazingly, I'm able to cook and the entire dinner with only one hand.)

Despite my intoxication level, when Mom shows up to help cook, everything’s done. She is shocked and beside herself, so I let her make the gravy (with strict instructions that she must deglaze with good white wine).

Around 4 p.m, dinner is on the table. Rave reviews for the turkey… “Moister than mom’s has ever been.” “So flavorful.” Even my picky sister exclaims: “OMG, the mashed potatoes are sooo good.”

Dad keeps the wine coming and by the time dinner ends, I am piss drunk. That’s right, piss drunk on my glorious Thanksgiving Day. Luckily, mom comes to the rescue and ensures I don’t wake up with my kitchen a total disaster.

That was the best thanksgiving ever. Since then, mom lets me make the Thanksgiving turkey. And the sweet potatoes. And at least two desserts.

This year will be my first Thanksgiving away from my family. I’ve invited a bunch of “orphaned” friends over to celebrate the day. This year’s menu is:

Champagne Pomegranate Cocktails
Red Onion and Gorgonzola Flatbreads
Pear and Sage Crostini

Roasted Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts
Brined and Slow Roasted Deistel Turkey
Artichoke and Parmesan Dressing

Herb Mashed Potatoes
Brussels Sprout with Pancetta
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Guinness Stout Gingerbread Bars
Orange and Mascarpone Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Pear Tart (my thanksgiving signature)

Oh, and lot's of red wine.

I’ll miss you, mom!