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Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving: The Superbowl for Foodies

I'm told that Thanksgiving is the Superbowl for foodies. I agree. For foodies, Thanksgiving is the opportunity to wield creativity, create tradition and reign supreme. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my Grandmother's holiday. She prepared the meal at her home, where she offered crudite platters, had assigned seats, and would roast a second meat such as goose or venison; everything had to be perfect. She would allow my mother to contribute one dish-something that the "children" would eat, but was beneath her culinary skills, such as macaroni and cheese. By the time I entered college, my grandmother allowed me to host Thanksgiving dinner, because she was getting up in age and it became too much for her. She also wanted to ensure that I would be able to follow her traditions. I did, for two years. Then, I wanted to get experimental. I wanted to create a Jamaican-themed Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I shared my plot with my older brother. That usurper decided to claim Thanksgiving for himself, claiming that it would be too difficult to travel with his then four children to my house, so he decided he would host and equitably split the cooking duties between us. Truthfully, he just wanted to ensure that the main dishes would be traditional. If I wanted to slip in an exotic side dish, so be it, but he was not having me experiment with the beloved turkey. They were cowards. I don't usually tolerate cowards, so the heckling or armchair quarterbacking tradition began. Ok, really it began with my grandmother overseeing me, but I like to blame this on my brother.

Two years ago, my grandmother passed away...a week before Thanksgiving and then the summer before last, my father, her son, passed away. As a true consequence of these losses, our holidays haven't been the same. It seems that we haven't even been in the mood to plan a holiday. I try to rally and carry on the traditions, but it is hard. This year, on Tuesday, my brother and I decided that we were going to take control of Thanksgiving and create some normalcy; so we cooked. The menu consisted of:

Smoked Turkey
Sage Roasted Turkey Parts
Grilled Baby Asparagus
Onion Roasted Spice Mashed Potatoes
Smoky Macaroni and Cheese
Cornbread Stuffing Souffle
Green Beans
Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks
Candied Sweets
Sweet Potato Pie
Sour Cream Pound Cake
Spiced Apple Cider

Everything turned out beautifully and I think that we would have at least made it to the championship game with this menu, if we didn't make it to the Superbowl. That said, I'm thankful for my family; thankful that we had an abundance of food to eat and thankful to you for reading this post.

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