Happy belated Thanksgiving! This post has been in draft stage for nearly a full week (where does the time go?) so I’m going to mostly post some photos of our delicious spread.
This particular Thanksgiving was memorable for two reasons: it was a turkey- (and meat-) less meal, and I also took over the meal this year. I planned the menu and was in charge of cooking! Thankfully my family members were all willing sous chefs. Someday – in the hopefully not too distant future – when I properly host Thanksgiving or another holiday gathering, I’ll be able to start a few days ahead and make, for example, the pie crusts before the day of.
I came downstairs first thing on Thursday morning and started making a game plan to keep organized, but siblings and parents were coming and going so I threw the half-formed plan out the window and just started delegating whenever they popped back into the kitchen and were willing to help out.
The biggest challenge was timing everything that needed to go into the oven. I realized how easy it is in the cooking school kitchen, where there are four ovens, to bake off multiple items and at different temperatures.
Everything came together, though, and with surprisingly minimal stress. I was aiming for roughly a 3pm meal time, but I think we ate around 4 or 4:30, which just gave us more time to drink wine while the food finished up. Of course we also got a bit sidetracked with mid-afternoon FaceTime chats from family in Colorado and England!
So what was the menu, you ask?
Cornbread in the cast iron skillet
Brussels sprouts salad (with pear, dried cranberries, pecans, and a homemade mustard/maple syrup/vinegar dressing)
The main (vegetarian) course was a harvest squash galette
Homemade pie crust (I started with that in the morning so it would have time to rest in the fridge before I rolled it out), roasted acorn squash drizzled with melted honey and butter, ricotta cheese, and topped with sage and an egg wash on the crust
[Unpictured mashed potatoes]
And a pumpkin pecan chocolate chip cake, frosted with an incredibly rich chocolate buttercream frosting
Pretty proud of my efforts!
We gave thanks and ate to our heart’s content, and then enjoyed dessert alongside story time.
We have some binders of family memorabilia, and one of my sisters had gone through the binder from our dad’s side of the family and found some wonderful memoir writings by a great (or was it great great?) aunt Ann. We took turns reading from the yellowed type-written pages about her childhood growing up on a 1000-acre cotton plantation in Louisiana. The Civil War was only a generation away, and Ann’s fond reminiscings included stories about her beloved and rather spoiled pet pig, Jefferson Davis. It was pretty incredible to realize that these memories came from someone to whom I’m related, and that her world of horse-drawn carriages, fish-fry outings and agrarian life is only a little over 100 years ago. That was a really special way to end a day centered around family. Til next year.