Seems it's time for another list. I love lists !
Now that Thanksgiving 2012 is just a memory, here's a random list of what we do and don't do.
1. Home for the Holiday: We will always be at our house for Thanksgiving. We've only spent a couple of Thanksgivings without family here. They were a bit lonely, but we survived. If that ever happens again, I plan to have a 'destination Thanksgiving.'
2. Grandmama Wheeler: She always said that Thanksgiving was the easiest meal to prepare. I tend to agree. For me, it's the clean-up that's the pain in the backside, unless you have Joanie and Jimmie at your house.
3. Mam-maw Smith: She always said all she had to eat was beans 'n taters. (Well, she did have beans 'n taters . . . along with 3 different kinds of meat, at least 5 vegetables, rolls, cornbread, pies, cakes, fudge . . . you name it, she had it.)
3. Menu: Ours is always the same with very few variations:
turkey - theHansMan always buys the turkey and always cooks it. He sometimes forgets to thaw it, so it swims in the hot tub for awhile. I've always wanted to buy one of those expensive, fresh ones . . . someday ! This year he had us scrambling for a fire extinguisher. There was so much smoke, our smoke alarms almost announced that the meal was ready.
dressing - many times we will have two, his and mine. His is out of a prepared package i.e. Pepperidge Farm or some-such nonsense. It is abundant with celery. Mine is my Grandmama Wheeler's recipe. Mine is best! When my oldest daughter is here, she makes the dressing. Hers is best by far !
gravy - we'll not talk about my gravy today. It's just important to have plenty of it. The giblets are used to make the dogs' gravy.
green beans - I have been known to make that casserole with the cream of *mushroom* chicken soup and French fried onion rings, BUT most of the time I cook them like Mam-maw Smith did. Lots of bacon grease and cooked for a long time. (*I'm allergic to mushrooms.*)
mashed potatoes - There are always two bowls of these: His & Mine. I've never tasted wallpaper paste, but my guess is that his potatoes taste like this type of glue. It also has the same consistency. My flufferly-whipped potatoes contain evaporated milk, butter, lots of butter, salt, bacon, and bacon grease. The trick is to cook the potatoes in chicken stock and salt them while they're cooking. Not after they're cooked.
sweet potatoes - my very own recipe: baked yams quartered, mix with pumpkin, butter, lots of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, did I mention butter, lots of butter, and s-h-h-h-h, don't tell . . . bourbon.
rolls - sometimes when I'm feeling lucky, I make angel biscuits. Most of the time I let Sister Schubert's or Rhodes do the baking.
cranberry sauce - right out of the can. One year I made a wonderful cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries, pineapple and pecans and some other ingredients that I can't remember. It was delicious. Would make it again if I could find the recipe. If anyone out there knows the one I'm talking about, please send it to me.
beverages: tea - (sweet tea), water, red wine, white wine, coffee
pecan pie - by far, the easiest pie to make
pumpkin pie(s) - sometimes I make a baked one and a frozen one with a graham cracker crust
cake - this varies, but my favorite is one called Dee's Cake. (Grandma Winters' recipe). When little ones are here, cupcakes are in order. When chocolate lovers are here, lava cake is in order. Special orders are taken like for New Orleans' Bread Pudding, mince meat pie, apple crisp, etc.
4. Lite/Fat Free: Never. Never. Never do any of my Thanksgiving recipes include ingredients that have the words fat-free or lite on the label. Thanksgiving is a time to splurge. (So is Christmas) I spend the entire year counting calories and carbs and dragging myself to the gym and yoga studio, so if a few extra pounds find their way onto my hips and thighs, so be it.
5. Appetizers: You will not be served an appetizer. In fact, if you stay at the house, you might not even be served breakfast. The hungrier my guests are, the better. No matter how bad my cooking is, by the time the meal is served, it all tastes good.
6. Television: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. National Dog Show hosted by Purina. Football. Don't even think about touching my remote and changing the channel.
(FYI: OU/OSU is playing today, November 24. )
7. Table Setting: Special, simple decorations are on the table. This year, the theme will be Christmas. Yes. It's been years since we were home for Christmas and my Spode has sat on the shelves gathering dust. This year, our Thanksgiving table was a Christmas table.
8. Traditions: They aren't all they're cracked up to be. I like to change things up.
9. Hold hands: Yup. If you sit at our table, you'll hold hands at the beginning of the meal and share what you're thankful for.
10. Toast: We have a specific way to 'toast' at our table. (One need not have an alcoholic beverage in one's glass to toast. ) A toast is meant to use all five senses: Touch/Feel the glass as you hold it in the air. Swirl beverage in glass and smell the fragrance. *Clink the glass and hear the tone they make. Look into the eyes of each person at the table as you clink his/her glass. Taste the beverage.
*Etiquette mavens say it's not necessary to clink the glass with everyone at the table. Rather than reach across a large expanse of a table and run the risk of falling into the gravy boat, simply raise your glass and look into the eyes of EACH person there.
11. Leftovers: theHansMan enjoys the leftovers more than he does the actual meal. So, for many-many days, we eat turkey sandwiches. His favorite sandwich consists of 'white' bread, real mayonaise, a thick slice of turkey, iceberg lettuce, salt, and pepper.
Random Turkey Day Photos:
He's a disaster waiting to happen. If you look closely, you can see smoke boiling around in the oven. It also boiled out and into the house creating an eery haze, causing visibility to be about six inches. You may also notice a couple pieces of bread. Because about two cups of turkey juice/grease spilled out and into the very hot oven, and because he didn't want any of it to go to waste, he sopped it up with slices of bread so that the dogs could enjoy the 'drippings.' While he's doing this, the rest of us are scrambling for fans and fire extinguishers.
Caption: "Never a Dull Moment"
This year, we were blessed to have a new addition to our family. Our California son and his wife have a new little girl, and they spent the week with us . . .