It’s time to spend a few hours traveling, sleep in every available bedroom and do your best to help put a meal together that everyone will enjoy sharing. It’s the week of Thanksgiving.
I, like most kids, spent years sitting at the kids table not realizing the amount of work that went in to preparing the meal. My only requirement was to play whatever song I was currently learning on the piano, per my grandma’s request. I loved the holiday and grew up on pretty traditional Thanksgiving fare that – in my world – revolved around turkey, mashed potatoes and pie. I can’t even remember sweet potatoes with marshmallows but I’m pretty sure my aunt makes them… and I never cared for stuffing since it was usually comprised of saved ends of bread. My taste didn’t start to change until I got a bit older and eventually had the opportunity to host the holiday a few times.
It was the opportunity to host (in addition to a deep shared interest in cooking, health and the environmental concerns associated with food) that pushed us to find new ways of creating the Thanksgiving table and find recipes that would become our own. In the process we discovered our current favorite way to cook a turkey, carve a turkey, make the best mashed potatoes (the secret is the ricer) and find a stuffing recipe that made me go from avoiding it all together to becoming one of my favorite parts of the meal. We made such an impression with our turkey cooking over the years of hosting that Matt and I are once again in charge of cooking it. We have a 18lb bird but we will be able to cook it in 2 hours or less because we wet brine + spatchcock it. I know, that’s a fun word to say, right? You basically flatten the bird out and cook it on a tray so that the meat and skin is perfect. See the resources we use in the links below and check out the free Bon Appetite Thanksgiving app if you want to discover more great recipes and twists on classics – in addition to timeline planning.
Pre – cooking Turkey prep : Wet Brine | Spatchcocking a Turkey | Perfect Crisp Turkey Skin | Our Favorite Stuffing (cooked in muffin tins, never in the bird)
Our tastes have also expanded, and the side dishes that fill the table and add some beautiful color have become just as interesting to me. Side dishes are also one of the easiest ways to contribute something to the meal when you are getting together with a group. Last week we tried out this Butternut Squash Apple Soup recipe and if you are looking to add something new to Thanksgiving – or contribute a dish – you should consider making this. It’s velvety, has texture and the best part is it can be made beforehand. Day of all you need to do is warm it up and the serve little cups for everyone with all the toppings (apple matchsticks, pancetta/bacon + sour cream – don’t skip the toppings they make the dish) and enjoy!
What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you cooking or just eating? Have any secrets you want to share?
Oh yes, Matt and Daphne made crackers the day we had this soup and they used this recipe. It’s both wonderful and a test of patience to cook with kids, but the advantage is that she happily tastes almost every ingredient when we are cooking. Fresh basil? Sure! Dipping fingers in the flour? Why not! Blackstrap molasses? Tastes like candy. Okay – maybe that’s a stretch but she happily licks the molasses spoon these days.