Ok, even though this is a meme photo, there is actually some truth to this. Apparently Turkeys are 20% more expensive this year, than last year. The reason according to Perdue Farms, and several other Turkey products suppliers, is due to Bird Flu running rampant and killing off their inventory. Simply put, it is Supply vs Demand. So, this year, there is a Turkey shortage across the board nationally. Thus, 20% inflation, on top of extremely high costs of food and daily household needs.
This brings me to what are you making for Thanksgiving Day? Oh, and do we still call it that? Or, is there some sort of ‘new’ overly politically correct way to say it? Also, how glued are you to the Turkey and Ham concept?
Me personally, have zero commitment to the concept. I simply love to cook. So, it is not beyond me to make Ribs, or a great juicy Steak, and all the fixings, and serve Cheesecake, or an Ice Cream Bowl for dessert.
Personally, I’m leaning towards a gorgeous giant delicious Steak, Loaded Sea Salt Crusted Baked Potato, Stuffing, Romaine Wedge Salad, with Candied Pecans, Blue Cheese Crumble, Maple Bacon Bits, Peppercorn Blue Cheese Dressing, and Cheesecake, or Ice Cream Bowl, with homemade Colombian Coffee Dark Chocolate Syrup. Maybe some wine
Plus, not really certain how I feel about celebrating a Holiday about non Native people, coming to America, bribing the Natives, stealing their land and resources. Then killing them. Hmm…
I mean growing up, and most of my adult life I have eaten, cooked, and slept my Thanksgiving Days. This has almost always included some sort of Fowl, Turkey, Duck, Quail, Chicken, or Turkducken, and some sort of Pork, and or Beef. Think Ham, Pork Chops (stuffed), Pork or Beef Roast, Pork or Beef Sausage, and any combination. Growing up we also would add some sort of Seafood. Seafood Gumbo or Jambalaya, Fried Fish, Shrimp, Lobster, or Crab, even Caviar. Then all the sides. The endless sides.
We’re not going into the early morning to late morning Breakfast/Brunch. Basically, cooking, eating, laughing, drinking, playing from 3 or 5am thru that night. Now let’s talk sides.
The sides would start with appetizers. Think Deviled Eggs, Potato Skins, Crab Dip, Cheese Plate, Crab Cakes, Stuffed Jalapenos, Nuts, various meats, Chips, Dips, Crackers, Olives, Spreads, Oysters, and the like.
Rest time. Cocktails. Football. Movies. Games. Music. Snack. Come to think about it, not certain where we put all the food. But boy, did we eat all day and night!
Then Super/Dinner time.
Got to have rolls or some sort of bread. Mac N Cheese was a must. Let’s see…Cornbread, Veggie Casserole, Oyster, Gizzard, or Duck Stuffing, Green Salad, Cranberry Sauce, Mash Potatoes, Braised Carrots, Asparagus, Gravy, Brussel Sprouts, Potato Salad, Yams, Collard Greens w/Bacon or Hamhock, Beans of some sort, yeah, those were the typical sides to our holidays. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Ever, New Years Day. You would add Blackeyed Peas, and Sour Kraut, or Cabbage, New Years Eve. If I recall, I think we even did big meals for any occasion, now that I think about it. Blessed and beyond grateful.
Dessert was usually Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Cherry Pie, and Apple Pie. Sometimes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, A La Mode style anything, and the occasional cake. And yes, we would roll to the couch laughing all the way, waiting for some food to digest, then graze throughout the evening. Looking back, it was the some of the best of times.
My Grandmama had 4 daughters, and then me. She and my aunts raised me. Sometimes it takes a village to raise a child. Boy did I have a village of strong women.
My Grandmama was an insanely great chef. Completely organized. Meticulous and detailed in the kitchen, with an incredibly developed palate. She loved big, bold, rich, luxurious, succulent, flavors, where the food took you to the next level, and melted in your mouth. She loved spices, herbs, heat. She was really in to fusion food, often mixing cultures cooking styles, methods, seasonings, even presentations. All while cooking very French (think Julia Childs Cookbook in whole, and add The Joy of Cooking), and Mediterranean style, most of the time. Then she would add some West Indies, African, Afrikaan, Islands, Asian, Mexican, Japanese or somewhere exotic, flair style, and flavors. Mixing them, making it her own, and owning it like a BOSS!
She was all about cooking from scratch. Since I was a very fussy eater, would only eat when hungry, and what I was in the mood for, or willing to try, she typically would cook for the family, then cook for us. Because she was such an amazing cook, I would try almost anything she cooked. It really helped and guided me to development an extensive palate. She also inspired me to learn how to cook, and be fearless in doing so. She came from the school of ‘a pinch of this, a pinch of that’. I would watch her cook, and explain to me a recipe is just a guideline, the flavor of the food, is the soul you put in it. I carry that til this day.
She also explained to me, that food doesn’t know what time it is, or day. So cook and eat whatever moves you. Breakfast for dinner, ok. Dinner for breakfast, ok. Lunch for late night snack, ok. Dessert for breakfast, ok. Since I have always been an insomniac, and so was she, this worked out great. Her thought process, was as long as it was nutritional, minimally processed, then we were good. I still believe that.
She had a rule that food must appeal, and intice, all of your senses. Taste good. Smell good. Feel good in texture, and in your body. Sound good. Look good. I definitely follow that rule.
I grew up having a deep freezer, a spare fridge usually, and full pantry. She had seemingly endless spices, herbs, condiments, oils, lard, butter, all things baking, all things kitchen. So, now you know where I get it from.
This brings me back to Thanksgiving. Seeing how my Grandmama was really into gardening, if she could grow it outside in the back, we would have a endless supply. She had a great green thumb. She would buy the meats from the Butcher, the produce from a local Farmer’s Market when possible. Duck, Cornish Game Hen, and Seafood, usually from a the local Asian Market, as it was usually super fresh. The rest from the grocer.
So, when it was ‘Big Meal Time’, it was always the freshest available. Thanksgiving was no exception.
As I became an adult I kept pretty much to her guidelines. I like to make a Smoked Lox Dip, or Lobster Cheese Dip. Even a Seven Layer Dip. Then any of the combinations of the foods above. I like to make a Loaded Sausage Stuffing too, with Celery, Walnuts, Onion, Carrots, and a Spicy Sausage. My loaded Mac N Cheese, with various cheeses, and a dash of Dijon. Back in the day I would do some Stuffed Mushrooms, and Stuffed Peppers. I like a Sausage and Peppers dish too. Jalapeño Cornbread with my own Jalapeños and some Corn Kernels, and Cheese. Gotta have a Savory Charcuterie Board, and a Fruit and Cheese Charcuterie Board. Gotta also have Deviled Eggs. Endless dips. Usually a Honey Baked Ham, and a well seasoned, and injected Turkey Breast. I make wicked different variations of Potato Salad, and mean Mashed Potatoes. Gravies and Sauces are my thing. So I go all out for that. Closing out with some Espresso Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies. Sometimes with Caramel Swirl or Powdered.
However, a few years ago, I broke from traditional fare, to a more modern approach. There are just two of us usually now. The furry puppy babies can only have certain things, making sure they are healthy and happy. I actually tend to make them their own ‘Big Meal’ eats plates. Neither my husband, nor I, are into leftovers more than 2-3 days. I hate to toss food. So, I really have to plan it out. Some I can freeze and repurpose. The rest always ends up being trash.
So, a few years ago, I started doing themes. One year I did a Mexican full deal theme. Enchiladas, Tostadas, Nachos, endless sides, and I stick with Cheesecake or Ice Cream Cake. One year I did full Italian. One year Asian Fusion. Then, I went all hardcore Steak and Lobster, Wedge Salad, fully Loaded Baker, even offering Twice Baked Potatoes. I have also done a Bbq theme. Think Grilled Ribs, Chicken, Sausage, Corn On The Cob, Artichoke, and more, with a few of my own homemade sauces. Huge hit!
Thus, why I am leaning into a Steak theme this year. With my famous Brownies, and either Ice Cream Cake or Cheesecake. Still having Stuffing, Potato, Wedge Salad, Deviled Eggs, Smoked Lox Dip, and Small Boards.
I figured start the day with Cajun Eggs Benedict for my hubby, and an Egg Benedict Arugula, Sausage, Buffalo Mozzarella Herbed Omelet. Maybe a Mimosa. Then the day launches off from there.
What do you think? What are your plans? What are you eating? And, possibly cooking? Are you Traditional, Modern, or a blend of both? If you don’t do anything, what else are you doing? No matter what, how are you spending your day? Going to the Movies? Going shopping? Going out Dancing? Any combination? I have done it all!
I have literally cooked for days prior, cooked that day, gone to the movies, and gone clubbing that night with friends, or had a party. The 90s, and 2000s, were delish. That’s what I did in my 20s, 30s, and early 40s. Now, I’m over ‘clubbing’ per se, and prefer to rock out at home, watch movies, cook, and laugh hard.
I do look forward to being back in Washington, entertaining, and hosting parties again. Even if ‘Movie Watching Parties’. Plus, I’ll have my full kitchen setup again. Hallelujah! I love having a bustling house of cheer, laughter, play, and conversation. However, I love doing all that with just me, my guy, and our furry babies.
I have found that some of us, start a day or two before, with prepping the meal, so we can enjoy the day more, and night more.
SPECIAL TIP: If you have a good grocery store that delivers, get the bulk of your food necessities delivered. You won’t regret it. Saves you time, you can still get your store discounts, sometimes it gives you extra savings too, and that way, you only have to go to the store to pick up anything you specifically want to choose yourself, or they didn’t have in stock at the time. My grocery stores are HEB, Randalls, and Kroger. All of which deliver. The delivery price is usually $5 – $8. Priceless. No driving, no looking for parking,or a cart, looking for stuff, no standing in line, no loading and unloading the car, and etc. They bring the groceries right to my door, or counter even. Priceless.
Leave your comments, questions, and stories in the ‘Comments’ section.