Thanksgiving in our apartment is normally a time when Elizabeth and I form a cooking superteam, turn out an incredible feast, regale our guests with our wit, and end the day by making a good dent in the stacks of dishes. But for much of last Thursday, I was a man alone in the kitchen. Not alone exactly. A man watching two children and putting together a Thanksgiving feast until our first guest, our dear friend Lily, arrived and helped with the child care while I cooked. As trying as managing Thanksgiving on my own was, I was actually the better off of the two of us. While I was banging away in the kitchen, Elizabeth was in the emergency room in keeping with the new custom of sending a different family member to hospital each month (see examples here and here).
Fortunately, the back pain which sent Elizabeth to the ER, while severe, didn’t require hospital admission and she was back in time for dinner. On the whole, the meal I’d made in her absence was a success, with a couple misses (in the interest of time I jettisoned our normal cranberry sauce in favor of the recipe on the bag with lackluster results and the Brussels sprouts salad was a little underdressed). My biggest hits of the night were the turkey (naturally) and the pumpkin pie (also naturally). I’d flirted with the idea of brining the turkey this year, but talked myself out of it the night before and made it like I always do–treating it like a big roast chicken–and the result was moist and flavorful, so I’m hoping next year not to doubt a method that never lets me down. The pumpkin pie was the real challenge for me, though, because I typically bake once a year–on Elizabeth’s birthday–and leave it to the expert the other 364 days. Luckily, E had made the dough and pureed the pumpkin in advance, so all I had to do was roll out the crust and turn pumpkin puree into pumpkin pie filling. The result was a little homelier than it otherwise would have been, but tasted fantastic in spite of its looks.
The other stars of the night were the dishes our friends brought. Lily made a wonderful appetizer of pesto and homemade bread that was scarfed down almost as soon as it hit the table. Our friends Carl and Kristin handled stuffing duties for the second year in a row with a recipe so good I hope they can bring it every year. And Natalie and Wesley brought a pureed beet dish and green salad that were great counterpoints to what otherwise might have been a heavy meal.
Because of the day’s excitement, we sat down a little later than planned, but on a holiday that’s all about gratitude, there’s nothing like a great meal shared with good friends and a wife who is home from the hospital and on her way to recovery to make you appreciate how good you have it.
Image: Styled by Elizabeth, and shot by the talented Wesley Ham