Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story

The day really began last night when JP and I dragged ourselves to the grocery store at 8:30. It was painful, I have never wanted to shop less, but a large dinner requires ingredients so off we went. I didn't have any particular recipes planned, but I had a few printed out and your blog comments to keep in mind, and for reasons I can't explain, I wasn't particularly concerned about the tasks ahead of me. By 7:30 a.m. I had pumpkin bread, made from scratch, baking in the oven for people to eat with their morning coffee. (JP and I hate coffee but keep all the necessary supplies for guests who can't seem to start their day without it.) Landon helped me get out the bowls for the million ingredients that go into the tasty, tasty bread.

Next came the 19 lb. turkey. I combined a few recipes and blog comments and have to say, it came out really, really well. I stuffed it with onion, carrot, and lemon, basted it with chicken broth mixed with parsley and onion, and pretty much let it do its thing. Unfortunately my giant turkey and roaster took up 85% of my oven, so the side dishes were a logistical challenge. I decided to assemble them early and just squeeze them one at a time into the oven whenever the turkey looked like it was willing to share some space. Everything got cooked and I reheated it all at the end while the bird rested and the stuffing and rolls cooked. And as per someone's suggestion, I made the mashed potatoes early and put them in my crock pot to keep warm- that worked out great. I was mostly alone in the kitchen, which was exhausting but truthfully my preference. JP and his dad had taken off to buy a bargain of a train table I'd found on Craigslist, which was of course in an area of Austin that couldn't be further. His mother and grandmother watched the parade and Landon helped me with the dishes I was doing as I went along.

Sometime in the middle of the cooking and cleaning, I washed and dried all our wedding China and crystal. This was its inaugural use- in Chicago we didn't have a table to set or room to store it n our cabinets, so it's sat in boxes for three years. I dug the leaves and extra chairs out of our hall closet and set the table for nine, it looks like a real Thanksgiving table!

The Indians arrived at noon (real Indians from India, not the Native Americans in the Thanksgiving story, JP's grandmother got confused about that when we were telling her who was coming to dinner) and I had cut up smoked meats and cheeses as appetizers. The wife of one of his classmates brought over a traditional Indian bean curry which was very nice and went surprisingly well with our American meal. We had a blast with them, as always, and at 1:30 pm we sat down to eat this glorious piece of poultry:

It was a really nice meal- everyone was complimentary, chatty, and in high spirits. Once it was over the boys worked in shifts to wash and dry every piece of China and crystal, all the while teaching JP more bad words in Hindi (he apparently has quite the cursing repertoire). Lots of Washers games were played before and after dinner and once the dishes were done there was a touch football game in our cul-de-sac. We gave the Indians the most classic, vegetarian-friendly, American Thanksgiving Day we possibly could :) The experience was capped off with pumpkin pie, of which Landon was a HUGE fan. I fed him two pieces!

Now everyone is at the UT v. A&M game. I gave my ticket to my law clerk, he's infinitely more helpful than my secretary and I was having a tough time finding a sitter for Landon. It was a good decision, my feet and back are throbbing and I'm greatly enjoying an evening at home with a glass of wine.

So it was a really good day. We had wonderful guests and much to be thankful for. I never forget that a year ago today things weren't quite so perfect in our little world. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


  1. Congratulations! I'm glad everything went so well. It sounds delicious.

  2. Sounds wonderful! I haven't attempted my own turkey yet... that is very ambitious! A quiet night at home is just what the doctor ordered for many of us right now, I'm sure!

  3. Congrats on your first hosted Thanksgiving! You pulled it off marvelously - I hope you get to enjoy the peace and quiet for a time. :)

  4. Congratulations! not only did you do it, but it sounds like it went off really well! I hope you have some good leftovers to eat today :)

  5. sounds like you had an amazing day! Yum, indian food too? Landon is such a good helper!

  6. Damn! I wish I had known you were looking for recipes. I would have given you my easy-to-make yet surprisingly tasty brie and artichoke dip. Oh well, next time.

    It looks like your dinner turned out great!

  7. WOW. That's a serious accomplishment! Congrats=) I'll be preparing Christmas dinner and am definitely a bit scared!