Monday, September 04, 2006

Let the Planning Begin

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. No cards, no presents, no candles, no cake. Just family and friends gathered around a table. A week of shopping, two days of cooking, and ten minutes to a solid food coma.

For the past ten years or so I've been the apprentice. In preparation for Thanksgiving, Chef runs to about five different grocery stores looking for just the right leeks, pristine carrots, and potatoes of a rotating variety (yukon gold has been the recent favorite). It's a meticulous undertaking. Meal preparation of late has spawned spreadsheets and e-mails, and in an act of fanaticism, this year we did some preliminary planning in August.

Decided so far: No need for a heritage turkey. I'd actually forgotten that we had one last year, but the rest of the crew drew upon their fantastic taste memory and recalled a fit, though scrawny bird. We've decided to go with a plain Distel bird this year.

The meal is fairly traditional, but Chef and I like to tweak a few things from year to year, all in the pursuit of garnering a perfect ten from the crowd. We unmercifully put our guests on the spot each year and ask them to rate the meal. We're still teetering at a 9.5.

The Baker keeps tabs on the PPR - the Person to Pie Ratio. Historically it's been 2:1 (yes, that would be two persons, one pie). We're still negotiating what's being served this year since everyone has their favorites. Baker has been known to stay up until 4AM baking if a pie comes out to less than her exacting standards.

For the centerpiece, we usually go with an edible theme. When we deviated from the edible theme one year, Dad and I got into a scuffle over the gorgeous red and orange leaves he'd scooped up from the road and proposed to scatter artfully around the table. Alarmed lest any uninvited critters partake of our Thanksgiving meal, I insisted that the leaves be washed and dried prior to said artful scattering. Guess who spent the morning dunking leaves in a bucket of water and using a hairdryer to banish errant droplets?

It's never too early to think Thanksgiving. It's only 80 days away.


Blogger Kate Diamond said...

Mmm, turkey. I am a fan of tryptophan... did I mention that? Hankering for stuffing, and it's barely September.

Shame on you for pre-activating the holiday tastebuds! :) And now to go loiter, depressed, in the wasteland that is my end-of-summer pantry...

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that you're preparing for Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday as well! There is an eating competition at my house... It's not pretty. =)

3:29 PM  
Blogger RenĂ©e said...

I'm already counting down the days to T-giving as well. My cousins are coming to town, and I only see them every couple of years. When other relatives come, Thanksgiving is fun. When it's just my immediate family, the dinner lasts ten minutes, and nobody talks to each other because they're wolfing down their food and watching a game.

When I am Family Matriarch, Thanksgiving will be awesome, or I will kill everyone.

1:31 AM  

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