Well, it’s that time of year again. The air is crisp, the leaves have finally begun to change from green to deep jewel hues (after being smothered by snow last weekend!), and Halloween’s jack-o-lanterns are firmly behind us. It’s full steam ahead into the foodie-ist holiday of them all – Thanksgiving!
If you, like me, subscribe to a plethora of food blogs and follow every food magazine on Twitter, you’re quickly realizing that all talk has turned to Thanksgiving menus, from the best desserts to the hottest new Turkey roasting trend to most portable Thanksgiving sides for those who won’t be hosting. It’s easy to get overloaded on all this information, but the fact is, it’s also quite contagious, and hard to avoid the pre-planning, recipe scouring, and ingredient hunting that basically defines the month of November for any cook and Thanksgiving lover.
Take last year, for example. Last year I, without actually getting the permission of my parents (small technicality), offered to host a Thanksgiving for my whole family at their house. I mean, we had actually begun toying with the notion of not having Thanksgiving, for crying out loud! I couldn’t let that happen. This was a serious matter. So I offered up their home, kitchen, and hospitality for the event. And with that, my mother immediately declared that she would be spending all of Thanksgiving morning sitting on the couch, watching the parade, and I could do all the cooking.
This was pre-culinary school, though, and I was taking all the cooking I could get my hands on. The idea of preparing a several course meal in my parents’ kitchen, which is considerably larger than my own, sounded delightful, and I even took the Wednesday beforehand off work to prepare. But the preparations didn’t stop there. Oh no. I dove headfirst into planning mode and decided to create a Google Doc presentation of my recipes and plan to share with the whole Family. At the time I thought this was pretty normal (okay, not really).
I should have known then that culinary school was inevitable, but enough about that… Point is, last year’s Thanksgiving went off without a hitch because I had plenty of time to plan, cook, and even a little wiggle room for mistakes (I may have had to ride my bike to 711 for heavy cream at one point). So many delicious recipes, like this Pumpkin Ginger Pie, and just unforgettable cooking moments came out of that day, and it helped me fully understand why hosting Thanksgiving is such a joy for so many people.
This year, I won’t be hosting a Thanksgiving feast, but rather, be a guest at one. It really is for the best, as Thanksgiving 2011 is bookended by class, work, exams and weekend trips. Still, like any good guest, I refuse to arrive empty-handed, and have already begun plotting what I should bring. Perhaps the unbeatable Apple Frangipane Tart that we made in Pastry class at ICE? Or maybe the amazing cranberry sauce that I died a little bit for last year. Either way, I’m excited for the planning and preparing, whatever it winds up being!
What are you most excited to make (or eat) this Thanksgiving? Are you hosting, or guesting?