A Menu To Be Thankful For

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The thing about Thanksgiving is this—the magazines that give you menus don’t seem to understand that you already have a menu. The same one your grandmother made. Many of the ideas they offer are great, but it doesn’t matter, since you are not going to follow them. That being said, I do have some ideas on how you can bridge the gap between what you will actually do, and what you think maybe you should do. Appetizer: We will make crab cakes; this is more for my parents who don’t eat crab as often as we do. Soup: Here’s the thing. Pumpkin soup is delicious. But we are having pumpkin pie. I love me some pumpkin, but does it need to bookend the meal? Allow me to answer that—No.

Appetizer: We will make crab cakes; this is more for my parents who don’t eat crab as often as we do.

Soup: Here’s the thing. Pumpkin soup is delicious. But we are having pumpkin pie. I love me some pumpkin, but does it need to bookend the meal? Allow me to answer that—No. No it shouldn’t. The pilgrims, who were not known for being picky eaters, had a famous rhyme “Pumpkin in the morning and pumpkin at noon, if it were not for pumpkin we would be undone” (apparently what qualified as a rhyme was very different in the 1500s). They were starving, and they got sick of it. So, the pie will be quite enough. Unless you have a familial or cultural need to serve a specific soup—save that for another meal.

Salad: Oh come on—there is no room on your plate for salad. If you are having a formal “do” you could do separate courses, but you will already have plenty of dishes to do, so skipping it is quite alright. Let’s get to the main event:

The menu Crab cakes- Dry brined turkey- Stuffing- Gravy- Mashed potatoes -Improved green bean casserole- Glazed sweet potatoes (or carrots)- Cranberry sauce- Pumpkin pie—You will, of course, serve this with whipped cream. For a technique that will let you make your whipped cream the day before consult the index of the blog. For the love of God, do not even consider using non dairy topping. Did the Pilgrims subsist on four kernels of corn a day so that you could glop non dairy topping on your pie? Did your relatives come over here on crowded ships so that you could glop non dairy topping on a pie? Did we land at Normandy so that you could glop non dairy topping on your pie? The answer to each of these is a resounding “no.” Have some respect. Whip the cream. Here in Alaska many people also eat venison for Thanksgiving. This is probably as traditional a Thanksgiving meal as is humanly possible. The first Thanksgiving included venison (brought by the Native American guests) corn and pumpkin—although not as pumpkin pie, the pilgrims had no sugar. We do, and we are thankful for it. That morning Killian will go hunting and so we might eat venison the day after—but not on the third Thursday of November. Embrace whatever is the tradition in your locale or your family.

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