27 November 2006

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I continue to be thankful.

I'm thankful that I am now starting my fifth week without cigarettes. Although these patches tend to be messy (adhesive) and make me have weird dreams, I have to remember the good it's doing me to wear them instead of smoking.

I got out of bed at 6:45 on Thanksgiving. It was a relaxing morning. While frying three pounds of bacon both for breakfast and later use in some recipes, I called my mother and talked for a while.

I baked a dozen biscuits. Thank you, Pillsbury for the frozen buttermilk biscuits that were as good as homemade. I needed two and a half biscuits to complete my ingredients for Cameron's cornbread dressing. We ate breakfast and began preparing other things for Thanksgiving dinner.

In the past, we'd gather around noon and begin Thanksgiving dinner at 1 or 1:30. But, this year we planned to eat at around 6:00. Since the mincemeat and pumpkin pies were baked the night before and the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, mayonnaise and onions had been layered in a springform pan for the caviar pie, I could map out what I thought would be a relaxing day preparing our dinner.

After a little prep work was completed I made a pitcher of Bloody Marys to take over to my friend Cleo's house. She wouldn't be joining us this year as she had for the last several years. The extra number of folks she wanted to include for Thanksgiving dinner was more than we could handle in our humble home. Cameron's and my list alone was seven -- with her list we'd have been at 13. Our table seats 8, uncomfortably. So I pulled the Grand Prix out of the garage, top down, and drove over to her place. What a beautiful day it was: sunny and 68°.

After spending about an hour there, I was now about 40 minutes off of my predetermined schedule. Less than a mile from home, I had to call Cameron from the car and tell him that I had left my house keys at Cleo's and was on my way back to get them, and would he please fill a muffin pan with the frozen Texas yeast rolls so they could thaw and rise in time for dinner. Of course he was glad to.

I then called Cleo and asked, "are my keys lying in front of your microwave?" They, of course, were. We spent another few minutes on her front porch. I wiped away her tears because she couldn't be with us, I told her that I loved her and headed home. Now, I'm over an hour behind.

Cameron helped me peel potatoes. I cleaned Brussels sprouts, then peeled carrots for Copper Penny Salad. Our friend Nancy Fletcher brought this salad to a Thanksgiving pot luck at our fondly remembered friend Jimmy Davidson's house, years ago. I wanted them this year, for Thanksgiving, because she passed away in September after a long battle with cancer. Remembering how many times we talked about getting together over the years and never doing it made me feel sad. And in some twisted way, having her salad there meant something special to me.

As the clock neared 4:30, our friends began arriving. I finished the caviar pie and set it out for an appetizer and continued finishing up the other things. Dressings went into the oven about 15 minutes late. I couldn't figure out what John had been doing at the other end of the kitchen, but he knocked the receiver off of the phone and it landed on top of the Saran-covered yeast rolls, flattening two of them since they hadn't been baked yet. Cameron finished the mashed potatoes, and put cranberry chutney, baby dills and baby gherkins in serving dishes. We poured gravy into the gravy boat and he put it on the table. Because I oversteamed the carrots, they were just buttered and placed into a covered dish. Copper Penny Salad needs carrots that are not too soft. The oven roasted Brussels sprouts were transferred to an iron skillet and caramelized, then topped with chopped bacon. The ham had been glazed earlier in the day. The turkey was carved.

Since table real estate is limited, everything was served buffet style from the kitchen. We ended up sitting down to dinner at 6:45. Not my best showing with time, but definitely not my worst. With choices of Pinot Grigio and Penfold's Shiraz, dinner turned out pretty nicely.

Afterwards, I whipped the heavy cream for the desserts. Only a couple of people opted for pumpkin pie. I am pretty much the only person who eats mincemeat pie. Even though there isn't any meat in it, I don't think many people get past the name. My mother had always made it for us as children, and it's been a tradition with me ever since. The apples, dates, raisins and spices are fantastic. It's just not Thanksgiving without it.

It's taken me several starts to get this post written, and there's more to come, so stay tuned. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

Gina Bruce said...

mmm - the food sounds delish!!!