Thanksgiving 2013 After-Action Report

by Dave Schuler on December 2, 2013

We had a lovely Thanksgiving this year—my wife pronounced it one of our all-time bests. We had our usual menu which I’ve described before. The table was set with our good china and silver, decorated beautifully as my wife always does. I was hard at work in the kitchen as usual.

There was one addition to the menu this year: I’d decided to experiment with a lemon chiffon pie. One of our guests is on a gluten-free diet so I picked up a pre-fab gluten-free pie crust at Whole Foods. The pie turned out quite well. It was very intense and very nearly demanded whipped cream. I’ll repeat my regular admonition—if the package lists any ingredients other than whipping cream, you’re wasting your money.

This year we had four guests, a relatively small group compared with prior years. All were significantly younger than we: a friend we’ve known for many years with no family in town who’s sort of adopted us, a nephew of mine who’s found a job in Chicago and is living with us until he gets settled in a place of his own, and two young friends—the daughter of dear old friends of ours whom we’ve known since birth and her beau, a very nice kid of whom we’ve quite fond.

We occupy a niche for these younger friends somewhere between friends and family—sort of a combination of friend and foster parent. Older and more established than most of their friends, less stress than their parents. It’s nice to be selected.

Last night we capped off Thanksgiving weekend with our traditional Sunday-after menu: smoked turkey chilaquiles.

Thanksgiving is hard work. I’m still recovering.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

steve December 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

I used the Good Housekeeping lemon chiffon recipe. Nice texture but the lemon taste was mild. Wife likes that real intense lemon flavor. Please post yours sometime if you dont mind.


Dave Schuler December 2, 2013 at 8:47 am

The recipe I used is part my own invention, part Aunt Chick’s. Aunt Chick is a great resource for pie recipes.

CStanley December 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

The chilaquiles sounds like a great idea. We have one more round of turkey meat so I think I’ll give it a go…especially since I recently discovered a terrific tomatillo sauce recipe. Roast tomatillos and garlic, combine with heaps of fresh cilantro, a few serrano peppers (remove seeds first), and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and puree with a hand immersion blender.

Dave Schuler December 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

‘Round about the third or fourth night I find myself getting darned tired of turkey, however good it was on Thanksgiving. The chilaquiles a) uses some more turkey and b) isn’t the same old thing. Of course, it’s even better when I use my own home-smoked turkey.

CStanley December 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

We roasted rather than smoking this year, but the brine gave it enough flavor that I think it will stand up to a dish like this.

Ben Wolf December 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Turtle Island makes an excellent turkey substitute, of which we had two in addition to our own apple-cranberry fruit salad, a broccoli casserole, roasted brussel sprouts and quinoa, potatoes and home-made vanilla ice cream (store bought ice cream is much too sweet for us; we find excessive sugar interferes with flavour).

Dave Schuler December 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Ice cream is actually a fascinating subject and one I’ve never written on. Preferences in ice cream vary markedly from country to country and even within countries. British ice cream is so much fattier than we’re accustomed to that it’s barely edible. Italian ice cream is just about the opposite—not as fatty but much more intensely flavored.

Dave Schuler December 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

So, ovo-lacto vegetarian? For many years my wife and I were ovo-lacto vegetarians 40 days a year. I became a pretty accomplished vegetarian cook, something I haven’t written much about. Deborah Madison is a wonderful resource.

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