My Thanksgiving was a deliciously simple day. And thanks to cooking with my friends and family, it was a hearty, no effort holiday! There were only seven of us this year — my parents, husband and three kids. A 16 pound Murray’s turkey would ensure that we’d have leftovers for soup, pot pies, and a few good old fashioned turkey sandwiches on rye, topped with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
We started the day watching the floats prepare to join the balloons and marching bands in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We then returned to the apartment, where we made the turkey and stuffing while watching the rest of the parade on TV. My Dad and I prepared the turkey together as we’ve been doing for at least 25 years. While he cupped his hands together, I seasoned them with kosher salt, olive oil and parsley.
He then gave the bird a luxurious, expert (well seasoned) massage, which left the rest of us a bit envious. I then chopped the onions and celery for our stuffing while he readied the liquid.
We had our usual bicker about the stuffing. His always has to have walnuts — I detest them and he adores them. I like my stuffing exceptionally moist, he prefers his dry. We took our competition to new heights this year as we jostled for ingredients, guarded our bowls and then bet whose stuffing would be the most popular at dinner. In an effort to prove mine to be the best, I snuck an extra cup of chicken broth into my nut free batch. My mother, who was close by, commented how absurd the two of us were behaving.
Since I had made the pies and cranberry bread in advance with Kathe, there was little to be done for dessert. I simply needed to take the dessert from the freezer and place it into the oven shortly before dinner. The chocolate pecan pie, with a decadent layer of semisweet chocolate atop a light pie crust, was the dessert hit. We also nibbled throughout the holiday on my apple cake, which I had made side by side with Jackie as she made blueberry crumble muffins.
At dinner, I was surprised and humbled to find that our stuffing tied. With a few jabs to each of us (my husband said my stuffing was so moist they were more like mashed potatoes and my son remarked that my Dad’s so dry it resembled croutons), a neutral mother, and two children who preferred neither stuffing, my Dad and I had equal votes!
Neither my father nor I walked away with a first place ribbon for our stuffing, but we certainly have the memory of a humorous time in the kitchen together. Our Thanksgiving kitchen was busy in some ways, but thanks to getting a lot of the work done with friends in advance, calmer in many others.