Black Friday

23 Nov

I know it is practically the law that all American bloggers write a Thanksgiving Day-related post.  I wish I had something fabulous to say about Thanksgiving in England, but it all feels a bit strange.  How do you explain to your neighbors that you’re celebrating a holiday that is all about escaping them, to be honest, or at least one’s semi-mythical national ancestors escaping their semi-mythical national ancestors.  “Yeah, we cook beautiful turkeys, eat ’till we fall asleep, go shopping, watch football, and thank our personal deities that we escaped England and survived to live elsewhere.  And there’s some complicated history about the people who were there already, and actually it was Lincoln who established the tradition as we know it to help with post-Civil-War healing.  So — Cheers!”

It doesn’t sound any better when you say it out loud.

I don’t even have any special family recipes to share with you.  Apparently through some kind of time warp Jamie Oliver and my mother both learned how to cook turkeys the same way, and passed this information on to me years ago.  (Never will I brine a bird.  I don’t get to go soak in the warm salty ocean at Thanksgiving, neither does my turkey.)  The New York Times makes a perfectly lovely cornbread muffin.  Martha Stewart for the cranberry sauce (I add ginger and cinnamon), and one of the stuffings. (Stove Top for the other — am I right America?)  Every year I come up with another slightly random unique version of a green bean casserole.  Simple salad, to please to kids.  French bread. Macaroni and cheese.  Mashed potatoes.  Chocolate pie  (I won’t lie to you: Jello Pudding), pumpkin pie, apple pie (store-bought crust mix outside, Joy of Cooking goodness on the inside).  And after the last baste of the roasted bird, open the champagne for the chef.  I think I could make Thanksgiving dinner in my sleep.

A bit surreal to do all that for a quick dinner on a school night, and then to send everyone off to school the next morning.

At least we are not newly in our house and surrounded by yet-to-be-unpacked boxes, this year.  And finding a turkey was easy — if expensive — at our new Whole Foods.

That’s it!  Happy Thanksgiving holiday!  Now, did someone mention online shopping … ?

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13 Responses to “Black Friday”

  1. Aubrey Price Pettyjohn November 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Semi-mythical ancestors?! My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather (that’s 13 greats) was a Puritan who sailed from Plymouth to Baltimore in the 1600’s! Generations of his descendants give thanks in the New World, but he was christened in King’s Stanley Parish Church right here in Gloucestershire. I’ve basically returned to my roots. 🙂 However, I attend a Church of England. Old Grandpa Arvine would be so disappointed…

    • Monique November 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      What a cool family history! Welcome back (?). Lol, the mythical part is the “national ancestors” – the idea that all Americans descend from that double handful of original puritans. Mine, for example, are a mix of english&french&german theives, atheists, and hustlers, among other sweets&savories. 😉 Yay for mythology.

  2. Zazzy November 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I never thought of it quite that way. 🙂 My ancestors came from Sweden in 1895 on the one side and on the other? Well, they might have been escaping England since the name could be English. But based on the research I tried to do, they might have just crawled out from under a rock.

    As for recipes, I tried a few new things this year – not different enough to warrant a “recipe” on my food blog, though. But I will pass on to you Micheal Simon’s self-basting turkey since it worked really, really well to keep the small breast I bought moist and you know how hard that can be without the rest of the turkey there. Prepare your turkey however you want to, then soak a piece of cheesecloth in melted butter and herbs of your preference and drape it over the top of your turkey. Makes for a beautiful golden brown color, too.

    • Monique November 24, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      Trying to track down ancestors can be a full time job, lol about your mysterious rock-crawling predecessors. 😉 I like the turkey tip! I bet you could cover that breast with bacon, too … mmmmmmm ….

  3. Lisa November 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I always felt the 4th of July was harder to celebrate…. You know independence from a country I know reside in! Ths year I decided to do my big dinner tomorrow (Sat) due to conflicts of school stuff yesterday.

    Those pies look delicious! :0)

    • Lisa November 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Oh and Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!!! ;0)

    • Monique November 24, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Yeah, it’s a toss up. I found the 4th easier because it is such an unabashed holiday in the first place. A lot of WOOOOOOOO USA! And BLOW IT UP! feeling. I feel like Thanksgiving ought to be more friendly and generous, which makes it much more awkward to explain. lol

      • Lisa November 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

        True the 4th is more laid back…. :0)

  4. haitiruth November 24, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    “How do you explain to your neighbors that you’re celebrating a holiday that is all about escaping them, to be honest…” Ha! True!

  5. satnavandcider November 25, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Too true about the awkwardness, And, yes, Stove Top is a corner cutter’s best friend!

  6. Sarah November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I read this before, but I just realized that you implied you cooked all that for Thanksgiving? Thank goodness I was out of town. Actually, now that I think about it, I think we were a hop, skip, and a jump from you – I should have invited me and my guest over. I bow to you, yet again. And my stomach is growling. (For real.)

    • Monique December 1, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Ha, indeed, I cooked all that and a little more. We’re still eating the leftovers. Very sad to have missed you when you were nearby! Don’t worry, if you are every coming this way again, there will probably still be turkey …

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