We began the meal with some simple appetizers. Grammy recently served some goat gruyère cheese with crackers at her house. We liked the cheese so much that we served the same today. Also included in the list of appetizers are the roasted hazelnuts from the night before, some crudité and egg nog.
Egg nog is a tradition in Robin’s family, but has never been served in Chris’s (for Thanksgiving or Christmas). We probably wouldn’t have served it this thanksgiving if not for a recent visit to Moxley’s Ice Cream Parlor. Our daughter’s reading skills have improved to the point that she was able to read the word “egg” in the egg nog flavored ice cream that was being served that night. We didn’t think that she’d like it, but she insisted on trying a sample. Liking the sample, she got an entire cone and proceeded to eat the whole thing. Given that experience, we decided that we couldn’t go wrong serving it today and it worked well. The kids enjoyed it (it was non-alcoholic) and so did several others.
Dinner began with a new addition to our cookbook – an asparagus salad topped with a shallot dressing. We’ve been experimenting with this from time to time. After driving our daughter to swimming lessons a month or two back, Grammy stayed for a quick dinner. We were serving an asparagus salad that night, so we thought that she might like this salad as well. And she did!
We also serve the stuffed artichokes that we made two nights ago. In addition to being a tradition inherited from Robin’s family, this is also nice to have on hand for vegetarians, like Brian. Until today, Brian was not experienced in the ways of the artichoke, but, under the expert tutelage of our daughter, he acquitted himself quite well.
Next on the menu was mashed potatoes. We are lucky enough to have Grandma in house this year to prepare her world famous version of the classic side. We’ve made mashed potatoes before, but they’re never as good as hers are.
Sweet potatoes, corn pudding and oyster stuffing are a must at Thanksgiving for Chris’s family. We again use our combination marshmallow/brown sugar topping recipe since it worked well last year. Grammy provides her corn pudding staple (we certainly didn’t want to deal with a repeat of our last experience with corn pudding!) and the oyster stuffing. We also serve some of the leftover Nanny’s stuffing just to give our guests a taste of what that’s like.
The oddest menu item is the cranberry sauce – or rather the three cranberry sauces. We’re partial to our orange cranberry sauce, but others insist on the canned stuff. Boppy’s cranberries must be refrigerated in the can, then mixed to hide traces of the shape of the can. Once opened, the cranberries must be served immediately. He can tell if they’re not fresh. Seriously, he can tell. Grandma accounts for the other cranberry peculiarity – she’ll only eat the smooth cranberry sauce, also from the can.
Sadly, the weakest part of our Thanksgiving meal turned out to be the turkey, which was on the dry side. Robin was bitterly disappointed by this. Our 13 (should that have been a clue?) pound turkey had cooked for over three hours and should have been done when we removed it from the oven. We took the temperature and all seemed well. Unfortunately, the turkey simply did not look cooked when we cut into it after it had rested for 20 minutes. We couldn’t serve it undercooked, so we had no choice other than to cook it some more. Cooking a turkey that had already rested is certainly the surest way to dry it out, but we had little choice. It was still a good turkey, but it did not meet our expectations.
We had plenty of food to cover for this minor sin. Plenty of food and lots of gravy! Still, Robin was so upset by this that she has sworn to try it again in the near future. In addition to a wonderful Thanksgiving, Chris also has the promise of more turkey. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Finally we had dessert. The pies were provided by Grammy. Robin and Grandma combined to make the apple crisp (similar to our blueberry crumble). We serve Moxley’s ice cream with the pies – our favorite flavor was cinnamon, which complemented the desserts nicely.
At the end of the day, we were tired, full, and quite happy. It was so nice having so much of the family over.