Monday, November 23, 2009
Thanksgiving week! What are you cooking?
No matter where or how you're celebrating Thanksgiving, I bet it involves you cooking something...unless you live with your parents or have mastered the fine art of always bringing wine to family gatherings (a great cooking cop-out).
I grew up in a family whose eating habits were as variable as x, so some years we had a full turkey with trimmings, but other years we had tofu steaks with vegan gravy. Even on a non-vegetarian year the fare was questionable because my mother lives in constant dread of salmonella. Any poultry product that crossed our refrigerator threshold was zealously overcooked (My brother Nate created a family joke at age 6 by requesting a second helping of Thanksgiving dinner but "none of that wooden stuff", pointing to his uneaten slice of turkey breast).
Things have changed since I got married. I married into a big New Orleans Italian family and they take their food SERIOUSLY. We're talking about Thanksgiving in a land where they DEEP FRY their turkeys. Thanksgiving is a big event that everyone must attend and which requires overeating (unless you want to offend someone and risk an Italian grudge). Everyone cooks and everyone eats, and the dinner conversation consists of critiquing your own dish ("Well I used Mama's oyster stuffing recipe but you know it just came out so dry to me, the oysters just didn't have any juice this year." "No, honey, it's delicious! Tastes just like when she used to make it. Now what disappoints me is these stuffed mirlitons, I guess I should have used more salt, you can barely tastes them." "Well baby, that's how I like them, I think most people put too much salt in their mirlitons, kills the flavor." "Oh ya think? Well thank you honey, you take some more of those then.")
So you see, I'm under lots of pressure to cook something (preferably including a stick of butter). I couldn't come up with a legitimate excuse to let others handle the cooking this year, so I'm contributing a vegetable dish. I am letting a spicy carrots recipe inspire me to create a dish of caramelized onions, garlic, and thin sliced carrots (still a little crunchy) with a drizzle of cream sauce with cayenne pepper. Sort of sweet and spicy.
What are your Thanksgiving plans, and what are you contributing to the table? Got a good recipe to share?