As far as my young children are concerned, Thanksgiving is just a small step between Halloween and Christmas. A step where people eat “gross” food (except for canned, jellied cranberry sauce – that apparently is acceptable). So we were trying to make it more meaningful last week and in talking about what we are thankful for, the main thing the boys agreed we are thankful for is:
Skunk, our cat. Sure, we love our family and friends. Happiness and health – good things as well, both boys agreed. But survey says what we are most grateful for is our cat. That, and Xbox.
Since we cannot show our appreciation and thanks to the folks at the Microsoft corporation, we instead agreed with the boys that if we are thankful for Skunk, we should show our thanks during this season by donating to the shelter that saved him. So the boys gathered up their tooth fairy and the occasional chore money and we took it over to the shelter (Mom and Dad augmented the donation).
The shelter couldn’t have been more gracious. Getting out of there without another kitten may qualify as a Thanksgiving miracle.
But enough about giving thanks for the things we should, let’s talk about giving thanks for the little things that make Thanksgiving easier or more fun. After all, this blog is about tabletops and recipes, written at night by someone who works 12 hour days sitting behind a desk and really isn’t physically fit or mentally competent to be offering any kind of life advice. If you want to read some truly uplifting and spiritual discussions about how to live your life, I suggest you try my sister-in-law’s blog at Everyday Faith.
But as for me, on with the material possessions!
Serving Platter/Carving Board
This carving board from Cost Plus World Market:
Isn’t it pretty? I most often use it as a cheese board but this year will use it for the turkey. And right now it’s $29.99 and, if you still have the Sunday Chicago Tribune around from 2 weeks ago, there’s a coupon in there for 10% off. THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE. It’s a newspaper. Yes, on paper. Yes, we still get one.
Given that I have two boys who feel bad about eating animals (but won’t eat beans, kale, spinach, cheese or any other protein or iron based food – so chicken nuggets it is!), I’m not sure how they’d feel about breaking a turkey’s furcula (look it up!). But hey, tradition, so I had them make a bunch of these fun clay wishbones from Oh Happy Day. Added bonus, everyone who comes for Thanksgiving can make a wish.
By the way, I told Guitar Boy and Drummer Boy that I think Turkey’s Furcula should be the name of their band someday “THANK YOU CHICAGO – WE ARE TURKEY’S FURCULA – GOODNIGHT!!!” They did not agree.
Salted Butter on Little Plates
I read this story at TheKitchn about salting butter. Now I don’t usually use butter on bread, but Faith Durand’s story about how this simple act – slicing butter and sprinkling smoked salt on it – would transform people’s opinion on bread and butter moved me to action. And I can tell you, it totally works, everyone comments on it. You know, because we need to find a way for Americans to eat more bread and butter. I’m a patriot really.
I use this smoked salt from Williams and Sonoma.
And I serve on little plates. Such as these. From TJ Maxx/HomeGoods. I know.
Because I can. WorldMarket, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Godiva all have some.
Turkey – to heck with tradition
After seeing 3 or so articles from chefs about how we are all suckers for cooking a turkey whole, where the breast is done and dry way before the dark meat was fully cooked, I decided to try the turkey in parts. You show everyone the turkey for like 1 minute and then take it back to the kitchen for slicing, so why all the hype about a whole turkey? *shaking fist at Norman Rockwell in heaven*
The practice turkey from House Beautiful turned out well. The whole turkey, white and dark done to perfection, in 1 ½ hours.
However, we thought it needed a little something-something. So Thanksgiving turkey will be some combination of these two recipes from Epicurious: Deconstructed Holiday Turkey with Sage Gravy or Citrus Sage Roast Turkey Breast.
I’ve made the latter turkey breast before in testing out the stuffing recipe (see below), but kind of think brining could help. I’ve also pre-made the gravy (wha?!) because TheKitchn told me I could. We’ll do a gravy taste-test on Thanksgiving to see if TheKItchn was right. Mmmmmmh, gravy taste-test.
I’ll let you know how everything turns out afterwards – in between cleaning up Thanksgiving and putting up Christmas.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!