I feel like I should be writing about Thanksgiving. All my favorite food blogs are. Adam over at The Amateur Gourmet posted a whole damn menu Sunday, The Bitten Word boys cooked their way through seventeen different Thanksgiving recipes so we don’t have to, and even Kevin at Closet Cooking is getting in on the fun, which is adorable since Kevin is Canadian and their Thanksgiving was a month ago. But the fact is, I just don’t have that much to say.
Thanksgiving’s never been one of my favorite holidays. For one, I don’t care about most of the food. Turkey sucks, guys, it just does, and the only way to make it palatable is to smother it in gravy, cranberry sauce, salt, and pepper. (I like lunch meat turkey, though. Go figure.) I spent most of my life thinking I didn’t like sweet potatoes, and while I was definitively wrong about that, I retain a desire to meet the person who first tasted sweet potatoes – a vegetable with its level of sweetness right there in the name – and said, “You know what this needs? Marshmallows and brown sugar,” so I can punch them in the face. Growing up I always insisted we have gloppy canned cranberry sauce, but I didn’t eat it for most of my life. (I was peculiar. Still am.) These preferences have always made Thanksgiving dinner feel more than anything else like a chore: I had to find the stuff I liked and avoid the stuff I didn’t without anyone noticing or getting offended.
The other part of Thanksgiving people are all about – family – is just as stressful for me, in its own way, as the meal is. I’m an only child. All my grandparents are dead. My parents both have big extended families that we’re not close to. This means that family holidays are always a little bit of a scramble for us to find people to eat with, or to eat with us, so we don’t feel totally inadequate and unloved. For a long time we Thanksgivinged with some cousins upstate (thus saving us from the scramble), but a few years ago that got too dramatic, and we turned to family on the other side. Then that got too dramatic. This led me and my mom to seriously question what we were doing every third Thursday in November. Why did we feel this compulsion to spend the day with people, eating [in my case] a menu about which I am at best lukewarm, when we were by no means jazzed about any of it? The social pressure to have people to spend the holidays with is crushing, and we’d succumbed to it totally.
So what are we doing for Thanksgiving this year? Nothing. No-thing. Not a damn thing. We are cooking a menu we want to eat, and then we are eating it. My dad will probably watch some football. I will probably watch some Macy’s parade. My partner will probably join us for a few hours. We will spend time together, enjoying each other as our favorite people, and not worrying about anything other than how fucking delicious our non-traditional, totally delicious Thanksgiving dinner will be.
And this is what we’re eating.
Roast chicken with chestnut stuffing
The chicken will most likely be my dad’s usual – cover bird with spices, roast until crispy – and the stuffing is all my mom. She has a recipe she’s amending with tons of chestnuts. This can only be delicious.
Yeah, um … this is totally undecided. I think the fish guy at my dad’s store recommended halibut? None of us have ever tried halibut? There will be a large piece of fish, and it will be cooked tastily.
Sauteed in garlic and oil. Only way to go, though I hear David Chang’s got a mean recipe that the entire internet wants to eat 100% of the time.
Steamed or almondine, aka sauteed with garlic, oil and sliced almonds. Also possibly this way, if we can only get mediocre ones.
Roasted. Two kinds. Orange for my dad, white for me.
Made from scratch. Never looks particularly appetizing, always tastes ace.
What about you? What are your feelings on this holiday? What are you making?