Thanksgiving sneaks up on me every year. To be fair, so does every holiday, birthday and special event on the calendar, but that’s for another day.
There’s an inviting serenity that fills the time between Halloween and Christmas, and I soak it all in shamelessly. No candy or costumes to collect, no decorations to dust off and display, unless you want to go patriotic for Veteran’s Day or fluff up a few scarecrows. No fuss, no muss.
It’s just simply and wonderfully calm.
November, not surprisingly, is my favorite month of the year. It has both my favorite day ever, my birthday, and my favorite holiday. The weather is cool and the colors are warm. School is rocking steady and the kids are too preoccupied with homework to start on their Christmas lists. Bliss.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy Christmas, I get there eventually. Most years. It could be just me, but there seems to be so much pressure around Christmas to do things bigger and bigger every year. And as the kids get older and our extended family keeps extending, it’s just nearly impossible to keep up with the Clauses. Which is a little bit sad for me, because I LOVE giving gifts. And I do love the time of celebrating Jesus. I just don’t love the competition and chaos.
But there’s none of that silly pressure with Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is about family and togetherness and gratitude and the blessing of naps, and some might say football. Thanksgiving is about looking around and appreciating what we have around us. Thanksgiving is about thanks. And giving. I just went deep there, hope you’re paying attention! But mostly, and deliciously, Thanksgiving is about feasting, or put another way, sharing in abundance.
I haven’t cooked the entire feast every year, but I get as close as I can. Except for once, when we had pizza. The kitchen isn’t my favorite place to work, but for Thanksgiving, I will cook up a storm. Happily. And I take NO shortcuts. I get as scratch-y as I possibly can, and will hunt for the ingredients I need to make it perfect.
This year presents a new challenge – I’ve gone Gluten Free.
Since that’ not just a trendy diet decision, I can’t have a Cheat Day and call it good. There are a few changes to be made to a few dishes, so maybe a new recipe or a second serving of something else on my plate Here are the usual suspects for this year’s menu:
Turkey – roasted and juicy
Mashed potatoes – perfectly creamy and just a little lumpy.
Gravy – the first to need an ingredient transplant, we’ll go with cornstarch.
NM Red Chile Sauce – only the most authentic will do for this dish of honor.
Orange and Cranberry relish – my kids aren’t wild about this one, but I love it!
Dinner rolls – here I’ll probably just make a few GF for myself, and minimize the special flour dispensation. Selfish?
Sweet potato casserole – my mouth is watering just thinking of this one, my very, very favorite dish of the year.
Pies – pumpkin, pecan, potato sweet, pudding. The crust of at least one of these will have to be GF.
What am I missing? Seems there is normally more than that on the counter with it’s time to eat….
OH! The stuffing!!! I make mine with apples, raisins, celery and onions all sauteed in butter before it goes in together. Wait. Bummer. Is there such thing as GF stuffing??? I might have to make GF cornbread first, then bake that into herby stuffing squares. Or something. I’ll figure it out.
All this thinking has me excited to go shopping for everything. I’ll grab some eggnog and whip up some Sangria and we’ll have a proper feast by the time I’m done with it!
How about you? Are you ready for Thanksgiving Day? Do you feast with family? Cook big or go out? Do you have a favorite dish?