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e_moon60

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As the holiday nears [Nov. 23rd, 2010|11:24 pm]
e_moon60
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Best wishes for a happy one to all who observe Thanksgiving. 

We're having our usual interesting mix of guests--those who've been with us for...approaching 40 years now, and those who are new this year, and those in between, in terms of longevity.   The present count is fifteen and I'm hoping the weather allows the four who are nobly making a long trek to be with us can actually make it.   The weather's due to change abruptly (from SSW winds to NNW winds, from unseasonably warm to amply-and-a-bit-more seasonably cold, with possible rain and thunderstorms as the front passes.  On Thursday morning, of course.  As they're driving.  

I have chopped celery, parsley, and onion for the dressing.   When I see people on TV cooking shows making dressing, they do not impress...oh, one or two ribs of celery, maybe a half an onion (the bold ones do a whole onion) and a little teensy bit of parsley.  That's not the way, guys and gals.  There needs to be a lot more greenery (counting onions--they're fresh vegetables, OK?)  in the dressing than that.   I put in as much parsley and celery as I do in making a big (20 quart) pot of stock, and slightly more onion.  Along with a LOT of herbs.   Nor is a measly 9x13 baking dish of dressing enough.  (For fifteen?   You've got to be kidding.)   

What remains to be done: lots.   Some of the known-quantity guests are bringing dishes to share: green beans, corn, pecan pies (two types), homemade cranberry sauce (two types), apple pie, rolls.   I need to make my share of desserts (pumpkin pie, etc.)   Giblets for gravy get cooked as soon as the turkeys are thawed enough to get them out (tomorrow, that should be.)   Come the dawn on T-day, the turkeys go in the roasters and the ham gets its glaze (homemade spiced pear) and into one oven, dressing in the other while waiting for company to appear, while the tables are set and the decorations and nibbles are put in place.   Cutting boards and platters will be in place to deal with moving food onto platters onto the tables.  By the time guests arrive, with things to be last-minute-heated, one oven should be empty and ready for them, with gravy finishing on top of the stove.

The tables are a mix of older tables--we put the two "real" dining room tables together end to end (that can seat ten fairly comfortably, though they aren't exactly the same height or width) and we'll use a table we made from plywood and folding legs for the other five, far enough away for people to pass between.  

And between now and then, I'll be dashing madly around, cooking, setting up the dining area, etc. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: controuble
2010-11-24 01:23 pm (UTC)
Fifteen for dinner, WOW! I think the most I've ever had sit down to a meal was 12 - and I found this dining room table with 4 leaves and it will seat 10 rather comfortably, but we put 9 at that table and 3 at the kitchen table. troubles_son and I are going to my brother-in-law's this year and all I have to bring is some bread - I will probably make a rye/wheat/cheese/herb bread - they all seemed to like it last time I made it.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful dinner.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-24 02:21 pm (UTC)
The most I've had was 30 for a sit-down dinner. We used every plate, knife, fork, and spoon from both houses. And all the chairs and tables, including a card table. It was fun, in a way, but 20 or fewer is definitely a lot easier. Our Thanksgiving dinners usually run somewhere between 10 and 20--this one, at 15, is right in the zone.



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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 03:21 am (UTC)
My next generation is one autistic son. I'm keeping the plates.

I actually enjoy having different patterns and plenty of plates and stuff. But a lot depends on what you have in the way of storage and space to have people over, as well as on the desire.

There's no one right way.
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[User Picture]From: shockwave77598
2010-11-24 03:25 pm (UTC)
And a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 12:06 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: jon_d_r
2010-11-24 06:19 pm (UTC)
Wishing you all a warm, Happy Thanksgiving!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 12:06 am (UTC)
Thanks...I think the warmth will be of friendly hearts, since the cold front is supposed to smack us firmly tomorrow morning. That actually makes feeding a crowd better, because we won't all be hot & sweaty.
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[User Picture]From: made_of_paradox
2010-11-24 10:49 pm (UTC)
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 12:05 am (UTC)
Thanks! I hope you enjoy yours.
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[User Picture]From: whswhs
2010-11-24 11:50 pm (UTC)
How much do you cut up your onion? Do you sauté it or anything before putting it into the stuffing?

Happy Thanksgiving!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 12:05 am (UTC)
I cut them into what I call diced, but I'm not a professional chef. They're in pieces about half the size of my little fingernail. And the ones in the dressing are not sauteed. (I saute onions for some things and not for others.)

Happy Thanksgiving back at you!
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[User Picture]From: sunfell
2010-11-25 01:53 am (UTC)
I hosted a dozen one year while stationed in Germany. That was fun. It was also the first time I'd done the whole turkey thing myself. Everyone loved it.

Next year, I'll have it at my own house- which is a real accomplishment for me. I'll have a garden, too.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 03:32 am (UTC)
I was converted to the whole turkey thing by a visit to a great-aunt I'd never met before, when I was fourteen or fifteen. We got there and Aunt G- said "Oh--you'll stay for dinner, of course. It'll be ready when Aunt R- brings you back from the ranch." When we got back from the ranch, a full-scale turkey dinner was laid out, in what seemed to me an amazingly short time, for about 10 people, and it was delicious. I said to my mother, after we left, that I wished I could learn to do that. Mother said "She's famous for it; a turkey is so impressive that she can use short-cuts on other things without losing face." I had been cooking for some years at that point, including for company, but serious company dinners required a longer prep time, I thought.

So I paid more attention to my mother's turkey-cooking, and when I was on my own, immediately started working on it. The first few years I had to write out the schedule...but then it got fixed in my head and I began to move into a state where I could produce meals for unexpected company--not always turkey (as more and more, turkeys were easily available only frozen, and defrosting a turkey "properly" takes days. I will bet Aunt G- either sent someone out for a fresh turkey or dunked her frozen one in hot water, to the horror of the food critics.) Certain things are always in the pantry. Having the dishes to put things in so they look special really helps, too. I'm by no means Aunt G-'s equal--she learned to cook in a time when everything was from scratch, and she married into enough money to afford really good ingredients--but I have a lot of fun with the big Thanksgiving feast.
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[User Picture]From: amm_me
2010-11-25 02:33 am (UTC)

enough dressing ...

is as much as you have oven pans for! My parents always thought the best part of Thanksgiving dinner was plenty of dressing and gravy for as many days after as possible. Crumbled corn bread made the day before, LOTS of onions and celery (but I've never used parsley), herbs, butter, salt (one of the few dishes I still add salt to), some stock, baked till it's good and crunchy on top. I'm having dinner for two tomorrow with a friend who can't eat onion. I'm thinking in one pan of dressing I'll try adding chopped apple instead.

When I was a kid we had the extended family - great-aunts and uncles, second cousins (kids at the card tables in the living room) for New Year. Few gatherings larger than eight since then except for the dinner the night before my brother's wedding (when he was 51 and my mother was 85!) Seventeen guests, and every semi-upright chair in the house was in use, including two friendly folks on the piano bench.

I do hope the front is mild-mannered enough that your distant guests make it. 80° today, 25° tomorrow night. Sheesh. Pile the hay back on the roses.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2010-11-25 03:36 am (UTC)

Re: enough dressing ...

That's my husband's idea of "enough dressing" too. If we don't have leftovers for days after, we didn't make enough. (I don't know why people dread holiday leftovers...if you don't like turkey and dressing enough to eat it for days...have something you do like that much.) My luxury after Thanksgiving (if we have the right leftovers) is a turkey sandwich and a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast...lunch of dressing and gravy and salad...and so on.
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[User Picture]From: coalboy
2010-12-10 10:53 pm (UTC)

Re: enough dressing ...

This is not -meant- to be argumentative, but why do you not stuff the turkeys? I know it eliminates a few minutes of cooking time. I love the additional flavor added to the bread mixture.
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[User Picture]From: amusingmuse
2010-11-25 04:04 am (UTC)
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the turkey comes out well. I also hope your guests arrive fine.

My husband is from a large family and I'm from a very small family. First Thanksgiving was a bit of a culture shock for me who was used to slow sit down dinners, as his was at lunch, on paper plates and no way to seat all the family, so people were standing everywhere with plates of food. (I cowered in a corner during the 'shredding frenzy' of Christmas. ;)

I do so agree with you that cooking shows are way too stingy with the seasoning. I always have to just take the types for suggestions and use my own judgment for the amount. But then I'm the type of person who can't just go completely by a recipe. I have to add my own embellishments.
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[User Picture]From: moonsinger
2010-11-25 03:19 pm (UTC)
One of my favorites is my mom's sausage stuffing (lots of corn bread and sausage), and her pumpkin cream cheese pie. There will only be six of us at her house, but I'm a good hand doing dishes (No one wants to eat what I would make). Happy Thanksgiving!
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