Open Thread: Pre-Thanksgiving Recipe Exchange, Tips & Panic Attacks

(Tank McNamara via
This being a full-service blog, couple of people asked, so here is where you can ask / brag / vent about the joys & other emotions involved with preparing the annual Giant Extended Family & Friends Fine Dining Fustercluck.

And if nobody here can help you, our Food Goddess TaMara has a “one-stop shop to everything Thanksgiving” post up at her own blog.

So… who’s fixing what, and where are you travelling to share it?

182 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    Thanks for this thread. I hope Cassidy gets here He asked for a food thread.
    I will make a dutch apple pie tomorrow.
    I’ll share part of it.
    I don’t cook turkey anymore and I am not going to go out for T day. I will have a day at home.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Ben Franklin says:

    I save scraps of sourdough bread for the dressing. The tangy, (not the french bread masquerading as sourdough) bread (I use San Luis Sourdough) is the only diff for your traditional recipe, but viva la difference

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

  5. 5
    JGabriel says:

    Anne Laurie @ Top:

    So… who’s fixing what, and where are you travelling to share it?

    I am staying in Manhattan and will probably not see anyone on Thanksgiving. I usually visit family in PA for Christmas instead. The only thing that will be different from the typical day spent on the web is that I’ll probably vary the routine with some online Christmas shopping instead of restricting myself to the usual news, politics, and despair.


  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    Having Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s tomorrow, and unfortunately his wife is a TERRIBLE cook. I did at least manage to convince her that if she’s going for the easy-to-prepare potatoes, use the frozen ones instead of Potato Buds.

    But at least I don’t have to worry about leftovers tempting me. I made pumpkin pie last year but I’m too lazy to do it this year, so I’m buying it from a local place.

  7. 7
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    His supporters will identify by having roadkill stapled to the top of their heads.

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @Ben Franklin: Sourdough is fascinating stuff. The flavours can vary widely even within municipalities because of the various bacteria that can infect the starter. It’s why San Francisco sourdough is so distinct.

    Tomorrow I drive. After I yell at the post office if they can’t locate the check that’s supposed to be coming any day now.

  9. 9
    lahru says:

    If you have not purchased your turkee yet, do it tonight or 1st thing tomorrow as they take 30-34 hours to defrost at room temp.

  10. 10
    quannlace says:

    When people share their “Cooking-my=first-Thanksgiving-turkey” disaster stories, it usually involves forgetting to take out the ‘goodie bag’ out of the turkey.

    Me, I had a few turkey dinners under my belt when I committed the infamous ‘pureeing the mashed potatoes in the Cuisinart.” Ugh, you could have used those to build a brick wall.

  11. 11
    karen says:

    Can’t go to NY to see my folks this year so I’ll be home. Peapod delivery service will be delivering my turkey and fixings already cooked so at least I’ll have Thanksgiving dinner.

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I’m as big a fan of farce as the next person, but I’d just as soon stick to Moliere if you don’t mind.

  13. 13

    Hey, look at that, my name up in lights again.

    I have a confession to make, I have no interest in cooking or eating right now and have bailed on all my Thanksgiving plans.

    I’m going to immerse myself in painting and writing and see if I can shake this bad case of blues I’ve had for weeks.

    The good news is, that means I’ll be around if anyone has recipe questions.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    Starting Friday, I have to begin making gift tags to sell at this year’s department craft fair. Why do they only give us three weeks’ notice? It’s very annoying.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    We are going to a hotel Thanksgiving buffet with another couple, orphans all!

    But we will eat much better than we would on our own. With two people you just aren’t going to get into the 20 side dishes and three kinds of pie.

    There will be pumpkin cheesecake. I’ll be fine.

  16. 16
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    I’d even settle for “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

  17. 17
    Comrade Jake says:

    I will be smoking the turkey this year on my new Big Green Egg. I’m just hoping I don’t fuck it up.

  18. 18
    gogol's wife says:

    It’s just my husband and me this year, and we like really boring food on the holidays, so I’m doing a roasted turkey breast, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pecan pie. Nothing exotic, nothing interesting, but I’m looking forward to it with glee.

  19. 19
    gogol's wife says:

    Let’s all give thanks for the outcome of the election!

  20. 20
    brendancalling says:

    Doing what I do every year. Trapping a few of the feral cats in the backyard, deep-frying them whole, and serving them to unsuspecting orphans. I use their tears for dipping sauce.

  21. 21
    Walker says:

    Thursday is supposed to be clear and sunny. Perfect day to smoke the Turkey in the Weber Bullet.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    I’m trying to make essentially a lemon bar but with acorn squash and I am very thankful that friends have asked me over to their house, which means I get to eat real food! Meat, even. They said I don’t need to bring anything but I would feel guilty.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    The kid and a bunch of other freshmen who live too far from Seattle to go home are cooking T’giving dinner in the dormitory kitchen. If I were y’all, I would stay far, far away from downtown Seattle on Thursday, as there could very well be an epic conflagration.

  25. 25
    HRA says:

    I am making the usual Thanksgiving fare except for the pumpkin pie. In a crowd of over 20 people very year, you would think someone would like pumpkin pie and I would not be reduced to see it sitting in my refrigerator for days.
    Instead I am making pumpkin trifle. They can never get enough of any trifle I make and I hope this one will be another one of them.
    I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I am alone this thanksgiving, and trying to deal with the emotions that engenders. Hope all you BJers have a good one.

  28. 28
    gogol's wife says:


    Oh-oh, pups ‘n’ racks! So cute.

  29. 29
    Raven says:

    We just took a 11 hr day trip to Mobile to see the sights and have lunch at Felix’s on the bay. Stopped and got the fixins for turkey day and now have to get set to hit the blue water in the morning. There’s just us here as usual but I bought a whole frozen bird because it was so cheap. Think I’ll butterfly it ala Julia!

  30. 30
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    on my new Big Green Egg

    Aw, Man. I want one of those — let me know how it works out for smokin’ that bird. I guess I’ll have to ask Santa for one.

  31. 31
    gogol's wife says:


    I wish we were close enough to invite you over.

  32. 32
    pat says:

    PBS starts at 8:30AM with the entire second series of Downton Abbey. I watched the first year all at once on New Year’s Day, I think it was. First was a lot better than second, but I’ll probably have the TV on while I do the duck, roasted sweet potatoes, and two kinds of cranberries. Oh, and the pumpkin pie (frozen pie shell. Never did get into baking much… no kids.)

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    So I get this while we are on vacation. Athens man arrested after pretending Taser is penis

    It’s my next door neighbor. See why I’m such a big fan of booze?

  34. 34
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Felonius Monk: I’ve smoked a few things so far – a turkey breast, some ribs, and a brisket. Everything has come out pretty damn tasty. It’s a lot of fun to cook with.

  35. 35
    dance around in your bones says:

    I’m going to my mother-in-law’s for the turkey; I plan to get quietly sloshed and try to keep my mouth shut about politics. As in duct tape/major big zipper quiet. And NO gloating, much as I wish to.

    I have to bring a side dish and I am seriously considering inflicting the green bean-mushroom soup-french onion monstrosity upon them.

    Anybody have a good (EASY) side dish that would wow the in-laws? The rest of the family will be there and I have standards to maintain.

    ETA: arguing, so sorry you have no one to share this holiday with – if it’s any consolation, most folks don’t really WANT to share their holidays with the people they have to.

    Maybe a community-type dinner? Anyway, {{{hugs}}}

  36. 36
    PsiFighter37 says:

    These sliders are amazing. The recipe may look simple and mildly questionable, but damn are these good. Awesome snacks to have at a party…guaranteed to be a hit.

  37. 37
    SatanicPanic says:

    I feel fat already!

  38. 38
    kathy a. says:

    @lahru: you definitely do NOT want to leave a turkey out 30 hours at room temp. unless you really hate your relatives. in my opinion.

  39. 39
    Calouste says:


    I’m heading towards downtown Seattle on Thursday, but there is actually a moat, also known as the Lake Washington Ship Canal, to defend the city from UW students.

  40. 40
    WereBear says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: If you feel like people, there’s usually a community center offering a nice meal among nice folks; lots of whom are worse off and appreciate the attention.

  41. 41
    gogol's wife says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Look up Ina Garten. Her recipes are easy and tasty. I don’t have any specific one in mind. I think she has one for roasted cherry tomatoes that looks good.

    But I have to say I was planning to make that green-bean thing this year because I just have a yen for it. But I decided to just steam asparagus, given all the salt and cream that’s going into everything else.

  42. 42
    Ben Franklin says:

    Give Thanks for not living in Gaza………..

  43. 43

    @PsiFighter37: JefferyW’s make my mouth water. Mmmm, Sliders.

  44. 44

    @lahru: Water bath, water bath!

  45. 45
    kathy a. says:

    @burnspbesq: well, see? this is an opportunity for BOTH mass food poisoning AND a kitchen fire! or, as they say, “learning opportunities.”

  46. 46
    geg6 says:

    I’ve been waiting for this thread! I’m very excited for Thanksgiving. It’s always my favorite holiday (my birthday is always on, just before, or just after every year, so I get two for one!) and we’re hosting the family. We will have younger sister and her husband and 11 yo daughter, oldest sister and her husband and 20 yo daughter, and middle sister and her husband. One of my sisters’ BILs will probably stop in and my John’s brother Gary and his new gf will also.

    I went with a menu that is mainly from Ina Garten with some dishes from Bon Apetit thrown in. Got a 20 lb. fresh turkey on ice as we speak. And I have pinot noir and reisling, in addition to soft drinks, beer, and any hard liquor anyone wants. One sister is bringing appetizers, another pies, and another various breads and rolls.

    Here’s the menu:

    Ina’s Accidental Turkey (rubbed with rosemary, lemon and salt 24 hours before cooking and then stuffed with onions, lemon and thyme and brushed with butter and seasoned well)

    Mushroom and leek bread pudding (has pancetta and gruyere for super deliciousness)

    String beans and shallots

    Parmesan smashed potatoes

    Sweet potatoes with bourbon and maple

    Brussels sprouts with shallots and pancetta

    Gran Marnier cranberry relish

    And, of course, my own gravy, for which I am renowned.

    I’m really looking forward to this menu. And the great part is that a lot of these recipes have a make ahead note for how to have it all ready the day before and just finish it off on the stove or in the oven.

    I’m so organized, I’m frightening myself.

  47. 47
    Felonius Monk says:

    Heading up the road for a T-day load. Actually just heading a few miles north for dinner with some friends. This year we’re making the sweet potato casserole and the pumpkin pies.

    To those traveling, be safe. To all, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Given the outcome of the recent election, I guess we all have a lot to be thankful for.

    And to those spending the holiday alone, whether by choice or chance, smile — you are not really alone, we’ll be thinking of you.

  48. 48
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @WereBear: I don’t think there’s a community center around here, but I’m researching. And I have an invite from a friend. Just feels weird joining in on someone else’s turkey day, i guess.

  49. 49
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Do you still have Smudge?

    I will be thinking of you.

  50. 50
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Rosie Outlook: Yes, LS is still here, and I have a new kitten, tulpen.

  51. 51
    geg6 says:


    Well, I know you’re not anywhere near where I am, but with a 20 lb. turkey, I have plenty of room for orphans! So feel free to drive here to the ‘Burgh if you like!

  52. 52
    Raven says:

    Ok, so you get modded even if the offending word is in the url? Check out my neighbor on the front page

  53. 53
    TerryC says:

    We’re driving to Chester, WV tomorrow, and will have Turkey Meal with my mother in her nursing home. Then we’ll pick up some cheap ($3.30/lb for Porterhouse steaks) meat at Sparkle Market, stop at Frank’s Pastries for cookies, and visit the Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware seconds bin in Newell, WV. Much of that is tradition.

  54. 54
    gogol's wife says:


    That is hilarious, and the comments are great.

  55. 55
    👽 Martin says:


    If you have not purchased your turkee yet, do it tonight or 1st thing tomorrow as they take 30-34 hours to defrost at room temp.

    Oooh. Don’t do this. Bacteria will someday get you.

    Brining solves two problems here – one the salt will help keep the turkey juicy and tasty, and the water immersion will help it defrost more quickly. The salt will also take care of the bacteria problem.

    1 cup of salt per gallon of water. Unwrap your turkey and put it in a horizontal cooler or one of those beverage coolers that the football team uses. It doesn’t need to be much bigger than the turkey. A small turkey can fit in a large pot. Fill it with water and salt according to the above ratio until the turkey floats a bit. For a fresh turkey 1 hour per pound is good. For a frozen one, I’d go with more like 90 minutes per pound. Keep it around 40 degrees (if it’s frozen, it should stay at that temperature in a cooler, might need some ice in a pot toward the end. If it’s fresh, put ice in at the start.)

    I would never cook a turkey that wasn’t brined. It really adds a lot.

  56. 56

    Thanksgiving at the beach for us.
    On the menu:
    deep fried turkey–going with the 25 bay leaf rub and no brining or injecting this year
    cranberry sauce–is so easy to make yourself and so much better than canned
    roasted brussel sprouts
    Garlic mashed potatoes
    sweet potato souffle
    pumpkin gooey bars and chocolate mousse

  57. 57
    Raven says:

    @gogol’s wife: Dude is really a sad case, he’s a teacher in a town half way to Atlanta. I’m afraid he’s really fucked this time. He was out of it Saturday and I’m sure it wasn’t just booze.

  58. 58
    Francis says:

    I’m making my classic dinner:
    Turkey (brined a la Alton / not stuffed),
    dressing (sourdough / apples / bacon / sage),
    gravy (using homemade turkey stock I need to get working on now),
    yams (w/ lime / bourbon drizzle),
    snap peas w/ almonds,
    wild rice w/ wild mushrooms, &

    Parents bringing (store-bought) pie. F-i-L bringing attitude. But since I control the kitchen, I get to watch football while cooking.

    And this year I give thanks to the 100+Million americans who re-elected BHO as POTUS.

  59. 59
    WereBear says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Just feels weird joining in on someone else’s turkey day, i guess.

    Hope you get over that feeling. Nothing says Thanksgiving like having a friend over. Such a favor you will be doing :)

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:


    Ugh. Even when I was single, I at least had family nearby that I could Thanksgiving with (which, especially when I was single, wasn’t necessarily the most fun, either, but I digress).

    Thanksgiving is a much less family-specific holiday than Christmas so I think it’s fine to glom onto someone else’s Thanksgiving, but the other two options I can think of are:

    Charitable Thanksgiving — volunteer at your local mission/homeless shelter/whatever. It won’t really help the depression very much, but at least you’ll feel like you did something with your day.

    Self-Indulgent Thanksgiving — go to the nicest restaurant or hotel that serves Thanksgiving dinner and live it the hell up because you can. Remember to tip just as indulgently.

    Either way, I don’t recommend sitting home with the kittehs eating a frozen dinner. That never ends well. At a minimum, get yourself a turkey breast and make yourself a little Thanksgiving dinner with all of the stuff you like that you never get enough of. Like if your family always had cornbread stuffing but you prefer sourdough, make what you like.

  61. 61
    Francis says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: If you’re anywhere near Long Beach, CA and want to have dinner w/ me, my wife, my parents, and my father-in-law (plus two dogs), please respond. I’ve hosted a number of solos over the years. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about being alone. We’ve all had hard times at some point in our lives.

  62. 62
    Scout211 says:


    Bread Stuffing

    Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and Pan Gravy

    Sweet Potato Puff (lots of mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and pecans all whipped together and baked

    Green Bean Medley (with carrots and mushrooms)

    Home made Blue Cranberry Sauce (cranberry sauce with blueberries)

    Dinner Rolls

    Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

    Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Apple Pie

    Only the middle kid and her family are attending . . . but we will eat well.

    Enjoy your Turkey Day, BJers!

  63. 63
    gogol's wife says:


    I’m sorry. I guess it isn’t so funny after all.

  64. 64
    Ruckus says:

    As with others here I am also an orphan of aging. Have no plans but then I’m used to that.
    That said my ex and I used to try to have turkey but with only two it never worked out. So we decided to roast a whole chicken one year and was that ever great. Not too much left overs, tastier than the turkey breast we tried the year before.

  65. 65
    realbtl says:

    Gonna BBQ the bird, hopefully not in a snow storm, cook up 16 German sausages and make sage dressing. The other 10 people take care of the rest of the eats.

  66. 66
    Ben Franklin says:

    Hillary reiterated the Bibi meme today, which 74% of Israeilis support

  67. 67
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Comrade Jake: What size is the BGE?

  68. 68
    Raven says:

    @gogol’s wife: No, it is. Don’t feel bad, he’s so fucking goofy. I laid down the law with him years ago when he tried to get all funny with me when he was hammered and we’ve become friends. I don’t push my anti booze stuff much but he knows I’ll do what I can if he asks.

  69. 69
    👽 Martin says:

    Anyway, it’s just the fam this year. We’ll almost certainly pick up some outcast friends, but it’ll probably only be 6-8 people.

    Turkey will be smoked and rotisseried on the barbecue. It’s the best technique I’ve found for cooking it and the constant motion and redistribution of juices results in a turkey that isn’t dry or tough anywhere. 300 degrees for 3-4 hours.

    Stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (none of that whipped marshmallow yam shit), steamed green beans (none of that onion casserole stuff either), carrots, broccoli (whatever veggies people like, we make), and homemade cranberry relish and gravy (nice and smoky). Apple (from my tree) pie, and pumpkin, and maybe a pecan or cherry toward the end of the weekend just to balance out the turkey leftovers. And lots of gin.

    It’s supposed to be 70 on Thursday, so a nice day outside grilling.

  70. 70
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Raven: The one with the special laser?

  71. 71
    Keith says:

    Truffled chicken tonight…a rare treat. I had some leftover canned truffles, so they get stuffed under the skin and into the cavity; the juice gets rubbed into the skin, followed by butter and duck fat. Salt & pepper, and into the oven it goes.

    And I’m making egg nog while I wait.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:


    I would invite you to Thousand Oaks but, seriously, my SIL really is that bad a cook.

  73. 73

    Just me and DH here but I will be doing a small turkey on my super duper new rotisserie device thingy, roasting potatoes in the juices below it and steaming green beans in the section above it. Add some mashed taters, cranberry sauce (for DH) bread sauce and sage and onion stuffing for me, home made bread rolls and home made pumpkin pie (for the DH) and that will be our TG.

    Of course the cats will be the beneficiaries of the leftover turkey, for days, and days, and days. I do not think they will complain.

  74. 74
    gelfling545 says:

    I’ll be making cornbread stuffing with sausage & chestnuts; also cranberry relish with various spices & a bit of cayenne. My sister does the turkey & we all fill in the sides & desserts so it’s not a big job for anybody.

  75. 75
    Schlemizel says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The thing about brining – almost all turkeys come injected with 15% their body weight of salt water so it just isn’t the same. Now if you have a fresh turkey or somehow get one that has not been violated thats different

  76. 76
    bemused says:

    I am not a pumpkin pie fan. I do love sweet potatoes. Anyone have a good sweet potato pie recipe? Hopefully, there are no marshmallows involved.

  77. 77
    MikeJ says:


    You shouldn’t feel ashamed about being alone. We’ve all had hard times at some point in our lives.

    What does being alone have to do with having a hard time?

  78. 78
    John O says:

    Could be 20-30 at my Thanksgiving, which comes on Saturday. Being from a big family (who pretty much gets along together!!!) we long ago decided to let everyone do their in-law thing on Thursday and give everyone a travel day in there in case they had to work on Friday.

    As designated bachelor, I’ll be bringing straight sweet corn and a chopped salad. I’m also dog-sitting for the rest of the week for Dweezil’s best friend, Stella.

    I felt very festive today!

    (I’m going to crash a friend’s T-Day on Thursday. They’ll treat me like family. It’s hard to do solo, I know from experience, but this is what friends are for.)

  79. 79
    opie_jeanne says:

    Middle Child and her boyfriend are hosting Turkey Day at my house for family, friends, and friends we do not yet know (we always have at least one stray, this year it’s four).

    Daughter’s BF is using the two grills for the turkey and a ham, we are providing the rest.

    Cheese and nuts with apples and crackers, Turkey roasted on a Weber kettle, ham, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, Comice pears baked in honey, roasted beets (we picked them last night and they are in the oven now), roasted Brussels sprouts, green salad, Chinese dumplings (made by a guest who is here from Beijing and had never flown before two weeks ago, and who speaks no English. Her daughter will be with her to translate), apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies, and maybe some Russian teacakes if I feel like it. My daughter is gluten intolerant, so I make the pumpkin pie crust using gluten-free gingersnaps, kind of like a graham cracker crust. It really improves pumpkin pie.

    The table is set and we are about to break down one of our homegrown pumpkins for pie filling.

    There will 11 of us, and only one is a child. She’s about 12, the daughter of the boyfriend. Great kid. It will be interesting keeping her entertained.

  80. 80
    gelfling545 says:

    @bemused: You can actually replace the pumpkin puree in the pumpkin pie with sweet potato. Adjust the seasonings to your taste & voila!

  81. 81
    Schlemizel says:

    I am going to be roasting the turkey again this year. Mostly family request day so we get pretty much the same thing, its a nice tradition. I’ll make an orange cranberry glaze. There will be maple glazed squash, a wild rice casserole and roasted brussel sprouts with bacon.

    The new thing this year will be the fake bird. Since I can’t eat meat I bought a stuffed seitan roll that has been raved about on line by everyone. We’ll see how that goes.

  82. 82
    bemused says:


    I should have thought of that but I’ve never actually made a pumpkin pie. Hmm, roast some sweet potatoes, puree….better check out some recipes.

  83. 83
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Felonius Monk: I have a large BGE. I plan to do an 18lb bird on it.

  84. 84
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Francis: Alton says stuffing the bird is evil, and I agree. The stuffing gets baked in a casserole dish, not inside the bird.

  85. 85
    WereBear says:

    @opie_jeanne: My daughter is gluten intolerant, so I make the pumpkin pie crust using gluten-free gingersnaps, kind of like a graham cracker crust. It really improves pumpkin pie.

    What a great idea! I will be experimenting this weekend, I can tell you.

  86. 86
    ruemara says:

    @dance around in your bones: If you like something unusual, I make a twice baked sweet potato that’s pretty decent. Bake 4, slice lengthwise but retain the halves. Scoop interior out, mix until creamy with about a tablespoon of butter, fresh chopped garlic, ground pepper, a dash of salt, quarter cup or so of cream (just to make it smooth), spoon back into halves, top with a little blue cheese or whatever strong cheese you desire. Mildly sweet, tasty and fairly healthy.

  87. 87

    Make this and die happy:


    3/4 C butter 1 C sugar
    4 eggs separated 1 T rum or brandy
    2 C chestnuts 1/4 C grated almonds or walnuts

    – Cream butter. Beat in sugar gradually; add well-beaten egg yolks and rum. Mix chestnuts and almonds and add to first mixture. Beat well. Fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites.
    – Pour into buttered 10” springform cake pan. Bake for more than an hour at 350. Cool.

    Cover with chocolate frosting made from:

    6 oz semi-sweet chocolate 3 oz butter
    toasted almonds silver nonpareils

    Melt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler and beat until thick enough to spread. Decorate frosting with toasted almonds and silver nonpareils.

    Traditional for both Thanksgiving and Jewish Christmas in my home growing up.

    It is fully as fabulous as it seems, and as easy

    You can say thank you.

  88. 88
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Anybody have a good (EASY) side dish that would wow the in-laws?

    One year I got tired of the green bean glop casserole and opened up Joy of Cooking. One of the green bean alternatives was basically toasted slivered almonds and butter. EZ and tasty.

  89. 89
    Maude says:

    I don’t mind being alone at all. I’ll be online some of the time, read and do whatever I want.

    AWSP, you will prolly have a great time at the friends. I’ve done that and ended up enjoying my little self. You won’t feel strange at all. They will be so glad to have you there.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Phylllis says:

    Traveling to GA tomorrow to have T’day with Hubby’s family. We’re bringing the wine and the desserts. The bourbon brown sugar pound cake is cooling as we speak. The sweet potato pie will be procured from the Piggly Wiggly tomorrow, as I have no luck with pies, and their’s is pretty damn good.

    We’ll do our own turkey when we get back this weekend. Roasted in the oven, breastside down to start, with good slab bacon layered on the backside.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:


    There are few things more entertaining for a child that age than sitting very quietly and listening to the things the adults say when they’ve had one glass of wine too many and forget there’s a child at the table who’s not supposed to hear the good family gossip.

    Just sayin’.

  93. 93
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: When I was young and 3,000 miles from home, I had Thanksgiving with a lot of friends and/or their families. They were all lots of fun. I can see how it would be a little weird when you’re older, though.

  94. 94
    opie_jeanne says:

    @WereBear: Want the recipe? After trying a couple of brands I found that the Mi-Del gingersnaps work best to create a crust with a nice “mouth-feel”.

    2 Cups ground up gluten-free gingernsnap cookies,
    2 Tbsp sugar
    1/3 Cup butter or margarine, melted.

    Pulse the cookies and sugar until you have fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse until moist clumps form. Press mixture into bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased pie plate (I don’t grease mine because the stuff already has butter in it)

    Bake until golden, about 8 minutes, allow to cool. Considering that these are pretty dark brown cookies, baking until golden instruction is silly.

  95. 95
    Mike in NC says:

    So… who’s fixing what, and where are you travelling to share it?

    We’re traveling three doors down the street, where I’ll be fixing cocktails.

  96. 96
    geg6 says:


    Or, if she’s new to the family, a real picture of what her new family dynamics are and what embarrassing thing the adults in her life have done and even better if there are pictures. ;-)

  97. 97
    quannlace says:

    Alton says stuffing the bird is evil,

    Alton can take a flying leap. True, the stuffing can get very moist inside the bird, but the flavor is just so much better. Since there’s so much more stuffing than can fit inside the turkey, I roast half in a casorole dish, and combine it with the turkey stuffing. Great combo of textures.

  98. 98
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Tom Levenson: Thank you. That sounds positively indecent, which means everyone will love it.

    I’ll make it for Christmas this year.

  99. 99
    WereBear says:

    @Tom Levenson: That sounds awesome, but do you grate the chestnuts the way you do the almonds?

  100. 100
    opie_jeanne says:

    @quannlace: It’s not the moistness that’s the issue, it’s the problem if cooking the bird properly with stuffing inside the cavity; the stuffing interferes with the process and you either risk food poisoning from underdone turkey juices in the stuffing or properly cooked interior of the turkey but dried out breast, neither of which is Good Eats.

  101. 101
    22over7 says:

    Man, this all sounds amazing. Because of my current bout of plague (the z-pack seems to be helping, but still weak and woozy), dinner will be so not homemade.

    Luckily, my brother and his family are coming, they don’t care, and I’m so grateful for them. I lost my beloved dad this year, and the kid moved (how dare she grow up?), and the idea of spending Thanksgiving without them was breaking my heart. Brother promised to help with the cooking and hauling, so I should be more than fine.

  102. 102
    WereBear says:

    @opie_jeanne: Thanks. This sounds like just the ticket for my upcoming cheesecake experiments with my new springform pan.

  103. 103
    burnspbesq says:


    I’m heading towards downtown Seattle on Thursday, but there is actually a moat, also known as the Lake Washington Ship Canal, to defend the city from UW students.

    Ruh-roh. He’s not at U-Dub, he’s at Cornish. Dorm is on 7th Avenue.

  104. 104
    hildebrand says:

    We are cooking for about 175 people this year. My family is preparing Thanksgiving Dinner for anyone from our church’s food pantry and students from the university who can’t make it home.

    We have been cooking turkeys for the last couple of days – I will be carving the last three tonight.

  105. 105
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Did your mum go back home? I thought/hoped she would still be with you for Thanksgiving.

  106. 106
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: That comes later on, during or after supper, and trust me, I know this from my two girls. I don’t know if my son absorbed as much as those two did, or maybe he was too polite to mention it.

    She’ll be at our house from Thursday morning until the next day. We have some games that we may play with her while her dad fools around with the meats on the grill. It’s been a while since we’ve had any practice, since our youngest will be 30 in a couple of weeks.

  107. 107
    WereBear says:

    @opie_jeanne: Board games are an excellent ice breaker for that age. Nothing like a grueling game of Monopoly, or tag team Trivial Pursuit.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s a food safety thing for Alton — basically, when you stuff the bird, you have to choose between underdone (and therefore potentially unsafe) meat or overcooked stuffing, and too many people seem to choose the underdone meat, putting the whole table at risk for salmonella.

    I like a stuffed bird, myself, but my mom always stuffed it loosely, which makes it easier to cook the bird to the right temperature.

  109. 109

    Going up to the mother-in-law’s in Maine tomorrow morning. I’m the only meat eater who will be in attendance so I’m doing turkey leg confit, using the recipe from Bon Appetit as my guide.

    Otherwise we are making mini herb potatoes anna, fried brussel sprouts with siracha honey, haricot verts with sauce ravigote, and roasted cauliflower with tahini and preserved lemon dressing. The main course for the vegetarians will be pumpkin seed crusted cutlets with cabernet cranberry sauce.

  110. 110
    opie_jeanne says:

    @WereBear: And if you don’t need to be gluten-free it’s even better, but no one in the previous years would believe me that this crust was gluten-free because so often the flour substitutes are really strange if not downright vile.

    I made Russian teacakes last Christmas after experimenting with almond flour as a substitute for the flour. I also made a standard batch, but my daughter’s friends almost fought her for the gluten-free ones.

  111. 111
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Tom Levenson:


    ream butter. Beat in sugar gradually; add well-beaten egg yolks and rum. Mix chestnuts and almonds and add to first mixture. Beat well. Fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites. – Pour into buttered 10” springform cake pan. Bake for more than an hour at 350. Cool.

    I’m trying to figure out if the last word is an instruction, or commentary.

  112. 112
    j says:

    @lahru: NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Soak it in ICE WATER and KEEP IT REFRIGERATED! (The whole shebang, the pot of ice water AND the bird.)

    Unless you want to kill your guests…”Not that that’s a deal breaker”…

    I may as well be the first tp post this:

    President Bartlett calls the Butterball Hot Line:

  113. 113
    Rosie Outlook says:

    I’m staying home watching the parades and putting up Christmas decorations. Then we go out and have a turkey dinner on Saturday , a routine that’s worked very well for several years now. After all that Black Friday bull$hit, things are usually quiet on the post-Thanksgiving Saturday .

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:


    The other thing is that most children that age have their own entertainment with them (like a Nintendo DS or smartphone), so at a certain point she may just want to be left alone to text her friends about how lame all the grown-ups are.

    But I was always the kid who you could hand a book to and I’d be set for the rest of the night, so I may not be the one to ask. :-)

  115. 115
    Randy P says:

    Much of the family is converging on the home of a beloved aunt in Manhattan. She doesn’t cook, we’re all bringing stuff. I’m doing th what’s e birds.

    I asked this in an earlier thread but lost what thread it was. Any pointers for duck, I.e. how to keep it juicy? Mine always comes out with a lot of the meat dried out and wasted.

  116. 116
    opie_jeanne says:

    @WereBear: We have Apples to Apples, but we also have one that we haven’t opened yet, Killer Bunnies. It was a gift last year but everyone went home before it got opened.

  117. 117
    quannlace says:

    Fox has already stepped up their ‘War On Christmas.’ Some years they have their smaller subsidiary of ‘War On Easter.’ So why no on-air pushing of phony anti-Thanksgiving stories? How’d this holiday get forgotten?

  118. 118
    dance around in your bones says:

    @gogol’s wife: @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:

    Thanks for both your suggestions. I might get up off my ass to do something other than the green bean obscene :)

    I personally dislike sweet potatoes but that’s just me – that recipe sounds good, O Brother Shotgun :)

    This is my 1st T-day w/o my husband, so kinda bittersweet. We used to just do a roast chicken because the turkey was just too much for us two. Unless a kind neighbor bequeathed us an extra deep-fried turkey (which happened one year!) and it was muy delicioso!

  119. 119
    👽 Martin says:

    SF residents, this may be your last naked thanksgiving. The city council has voted to ban public nudity.

  120. 120
    ruemara says:

    @quannlace: Be serious. Do you really expect such masters of industry to be thankful? As if they needed help or something?

  121. 121
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: How much trouble can art students get into? Wait don’t answer that…

    /band geek

  122. 122
    PurpleGirl says:

    @gogol’s wife: Here, here. Definitely.

  123. 123
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was that kid with a book too, and I think she may be.

    She’s been here a couple of times and she’s been at parties we’ve been invited to, so it’s not like we’re just now meeting her. It’s just that there aren’t other kids at this shindig, which might make it a bit strange for her. … or maybe not. She’s an only child, so maybe she’s like our son was when he was the only one for the first 8 years. And he was the kid with the book.

  124. 124
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    My brother-in-law has a really good green bean casserole recipe, but he makes it with cheese and sour cream instead of canned soup. Still trying to pry that recipe out of him, darn it …

  125. 125
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:

    I can see how it would be a little weird when you’re older, though.

    This. I will survive, though. And thanks to everyone for the thoughts. This community means a lot to me. Really. I pick on some folks (Corner Stone, I’m looking at you) but I’d rather be here than anywhere else.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    CA Doc says:

    Easy Thanksgiving for me: bring wine, champagne, folding chairs and an apple pie to my sister’s house. And since my grocer carries frozen pie from a great bakery in Apple Hill (a area of apple orchards in the Sierra foothills famous for their yummy baked apple goodies), even the pie part is easy.

  128. 128

    One of these days I need to tell y’all the infamous Green Bean Story. Short version, my mother in law is a good ol’ southern lady who cooks her green beans within an inch of their lives whereas I’m a Southern California girl who barely cooks them at all, and why would you do that to an innocent green bean who never hurt a soul in its life, anyway? Needless to say, hilarity ensued one year when I refused those awful beans that had been cooked so long they were now dark brown.

    So here’s what I do to my beans. I steam ’em for like a minute, maybe two. Then I melt some butter and crush a clove of garlic in there, swish it around for 30 seconds or so until it’s really fragrant. Then I toss the beans in there and let ’em sizzle for a minute. Then a grind of fresh paper and maybe the teeniest pinch of salt et voila! Green beans. That are green. And beans!

  129. 129
    Anne Laurie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Consider that your friends may want you to be at their Thanksgiving table, so that company manners must be observed, and all those ugly tedious arguments that happen when “it’s just family” can be avoided.

    If the people you wish to share the day with have minimal internet skillz, Skyping is more fun than just a phone call, because you can just leave it run as everyone stuffs face and banters.

    And there should still be people hanging around here on the Balloon Juice platform, discussing the feetsball and ragging on all the usual suspects. One of them (Murphy the Trickster God willing) will be me, since this year it looks like the Spousal Unit makes the trek from Boston to Hoboken for the traditional boggie bloat solo. I’m actually looking forward to having the house to myself, so I can move around a ton of stuff without him ‘helping’… or asking questions about why I need to keep so many pairs of shoes, and is that another box of craft supplies?

    I’m debating checking out the Thanksgiving buffet at a local pricey-but-well-reviewed restaurant, but I may decide on the day that it’s not worth getting out of my pajamas to do so!

  130. 130
    Ruckus says:

    Mem, thanks! I’m OK I’ve lived by myself for over half of my adult life, this is not my first solo holiday. It’s pretty much like any other day. Now that said I’ve had some pretty interesting holidays with family and more so with in-laws. Holidays in the service, now those were fun, thousands of miles away, with a bunch of people who didn’t want to be with you any more than you wanted to be with them, eating crappy food, that someone who also didn’t want to be there had to slave over, those were the days.

  131. 131
    Francis says:

    @MikeJ: Nothing. Read the rest of arguing’s post and you might understand what i wrote.

  132. 132
    WereBear says:

    @Southern Beale: Midwesterners overcook, too. I didn’t have al dente pasta until I moved to New York.

  133. 133
    JPL says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Last year I entertained the son and his S.O. for brunch. Although I had invites for the big meal, I passed. At the time I was covered with poison ivy and pumped with steroids, so it seemed like the smart solution. Lying on the sofa with a glass of wine and watching TV wasn’t all that bad.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    Ruckus says:

    @Southern Beale:
    I make green beans like mom used to without cooking them so long.
    A little bacon, fresh garlic and onion in the pan, brown the bacon, the onion/garlic will have sweated enough. Add the beans, cook for maybe 5 minutes, done. Have no idea if they are good for you but they are tasty.

  136. 136

    @👽 Martin:

    Really? Why? Was there … an incident?

  137. 137
    katinphilly says:


    Here I was bitchin’ and moaning and groaning all day today about having to spend T-day with one of Dick Cheney’s lawyers (SIL of family friend), a person so obnoxious and bullying that even the other Republicans in the family don’t like him.

    PLEASE AWSP, go to your friend’s place if you really don’t want to be alone. I spent many holidays alone for various reasons (living abroad, didn’t want to travel, etc.), and I actually enjoyed the peace and quiet, but if you don’t want to be alone, please go. You won’t regret it. Even I will get to partake of some excellent cooking and LOTS of good wine with my foul side dish of sneer and condescension and misanthropy this Thursday.

  138. 138
    Raven says:

    In 1969 two of my buddies and I hitched from Urbana to West Palm for the Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival. The Stones, Janis, Airplane, Sly and a host of others. The first night we crashed in the basement of a church. The next day was Thanksgiving and somehow we got separated. I was sitting on the church steps with a couple of other dudes and this old guy (ha) pulled up and asked if we wanted a meal. I was a little suspicious but also a little broke, I’d only been home for a couple of months, and the GI bill was a pittance. Anyway the three of us got in the car and, after a short drive, he pulled into a driveway and invited us up to an apartment over a garage. My antenna was still up but went on ahead. In the apartment was a plump lady who was working the stove in the one room place. As she prepared the meal the guy told us hi story. He had grown up in San Diego and, as a teenager, used to smoke dope in the balcony of the the movie theater with his pals. He said he liked to be on the road and that his “old lady” was cool with it and would be there when he’d get back. He put on a bunch of jazz records and we ate and enjoyed the day. After a couple of hours he said “ok, time to take you back”. On our way back to the church he asked if we needed anything. It pissed me off when one of the other dudes hit him up for a pack of smokes but I wasn’t going to spoil the day so I just chilled. He dropped us off and said goodbye. Didn’t want a damn thing, just liked what we were up to and wanted to share what he had. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it!

  139. 139
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m trying to figure out the recipe… Does he mean 2 cups of whole chestnuts, 2 cups of chestnut flout or 2 cups of chestnut puree? Initially I thought he wanted ground chestnuts but now I’m not so sure but I’m sure it’s all cool.

  140. 140
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Randy P:

    Any pointers for duck, I.e. how to keep it juicy? Mine always comes out with a lot of the meat dried out and wasted.

    In case nobody who knows what they’re talking about responds, the professional chef at our bloats mummifies his duck in many, many strips of bacon before roasting. I’m not a poultry fan, but the bird-eaters pick the bones clean on those ducks.

    Somebody (Cassidy?) on an earlier thread mentioned larding their turkey with mayonnaise, which made a delicious moist turkey that didn’t actually taste like mayonnaise…

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:


    Something reminded me of The Twenty-One Balloons the other day. Now I may have to buy the Kindle version and see if it’s as good as I remember.

  142. 142
    Francis says:

    @Randy P: Most people overcook ducks. 1 to 1.5 hours should be plenty. You want to get the the thigh meat just barely to 165.

    I do something different. I buy (or have in my freezer) duck or goose fat. I break the duck down into leg and thigh, boneless breast, and bones. I confit the leg and thigh in the fat, pan sear the breast, and make a stock out of the roasted carcass and wing bones which gets added to an orange gastrique. Duck two ways, both crispy. (Not exactly a low-cal meal, though).

  143. 143
    Central Planning says:

    We’re bringing Alton Brown’s roasted asparagus It’s delicious

  144. 144

    Ok, you guys were all scaring me with your turkey thawing. Here are the recommendations from the USDA for both thawing and cooking your turkey, in case you don’t want to kill your guests. If that’s “not necessarily a deal breaker” you’re on your own:

    Let’s Talk Turkey, USDA Guidelines

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    I guess if you’re really not worried about it, you’ll make a salmon mousse.

  146. 146
  147. 147
    Dee Loralei says:

    If I smoke a turkey I brine it in Jack Daniels and salt and water. Then, I rub the turkey with a mixture of black pepper, some salt, brown and white sugar, and then spritz it with more Jack Daniels and honey. It’s got a spicy sweet smokey taste and everyone loves my pepper jack turkey.

    We usually go OK for the holiday. This year my mom decided she hated travelling with my father, and neither of us trusted him to not burn the house down or accidently kill himself, since he’s gotten a bit forgetful. So we’re here. Going to dinner with our old neighbors we’ve known for almost 40 years. I’m making several types of rolls, one recipe is from Lambert’s restaurant where they are world-famous for throwing their rolls at their patrons, and a Burgundian walnut onion bread that I’m gonna turn into rolls hopefully, and if I can find the recipe some whole wheat molasses rolls. I’m also making a pumpkin cheesecake with pecans and a Jack Daniels sauce I got the recipe from the Guardian and had to translate it into American. Made this last year, it is awesome. I’m making a kale and fresh brussel sprouts salad. A Queen Anne salad for the kids ( I call it pink stuff, the perfect white trash dish, canned cherry pie filling, canned pineapples, sweatened condensed milk and cool whip.) I making cheese straws, a warmed brie with pears and honey and some homemade pecan crackers with a blue cheese and balsamic pepper syrup. And celery stuffed with cream cheese green olives and nuts. And many other people are bringing many other things. LOL We’ll have leftovers for weeks.

    Also since I can’t go into Norman on Friday to eat at my favorite Greek House restaurant, I’m making gyros for Saturday when OU beats the hell out of that cowcollege, OSU! So there. LOL.

    I’m in kinda a snit about not getting to see the family this year. Told my mom since I’m not gonna get my yearly fix of white trash cooking, that I was gonna inflict her with it. So last week I made broccoli rice casserole.(And found out that she had never once eaten it before.) And I’m taking the pink stuff and stuffed celery to her gourmet friends dinner LOL. Oh, and the thrown rolls too.

  148. 148
    Cassidy says:

    Got here late; been hanging with the family. Thanks for listening. We’re keeping it simple this year and going to Disney on Friday. It’ll be the first time for my youngest two and we’re excited.

  149. 149
    Grover Gardner says:

    We are hosting some of the younger (twenty-something) “orphans” from work and their kids, which will be a blast. Gives us a chance to dig out some of the old toddler toys we miss, and keeps our nine-year-old daughter busy entertaining the little ones. Requested are yams with marshmallows and that terrific apple/sausage/cornbread stuffing a lot of people make. Pumpkin and apple pie with ice cream for desert. That plus sauteed green beans with garlic and mushrooms and the bird will about do it, I think. Oh, and lots of wine and craft beer.

    I use this old Maytag convection oven that came with the house, and let me tell you, it makes Thanksgiving about as easy and foolrpoof as it gets. The cheapest frozen turkey pops out juicy and delicious in a couple of hours. :-)

  150. 150
    scav says:

    @22over7: ah. another plague victem. I’ll be thankful if I have food in the house and have both lungs within my body. So long as I have coffee. Well, coffee and tea as I’m sick.

  151. 151
    PurpleGirl says:

    When my Peekskill friends were still there, I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. When they moved to Florida, another friend and I began spending the holidays together — either buying a cooked turkey and providing the sides at my place or another third friend’s place or going to my friend’s Aunt’s place.

    This year, wires got crossed and I’m alone. I will probably go to one of two restaurants — Donovan’s does a turkey dinner or if I go Santa Fe I’ll have a hamburger cause then I can get a fried onion blossom (they have a great horseradish dip).

    And I’ll spend some time here at BJ, see who’s around and comment on whatever. (Because you guys are great to chat with.)

  152. 152
    Original Lee says:

    It’s just immediate family and a couple of random college students this year. I think it’s our smallest Thanksgiving in 20 years. (We usually host dinner for 12-16.) We are not having any turkey at all. We are having ham, because it’s been a while since we had ham, and the December holiday will be at my mom’s, and my mom cooks turkey for all of the holidays (even 4th of July). Each person at the table is responsible for a dish, so it will be sort of potluck-y, and the total menu, other than the ham, will be a surprise.

    I have three cups of pumpkin puree in the fridge and am planning on pumpkin ravioli with sage sauce. Also baked pumpkin donuts will make an appearance on Friday morning.

  153. 153
    CatHairEverywhere says:

    @opie_jeanne: I am also Gluten intolerant. I agree that the gingersnap crust is great! I also make a nut crust (joy of Cooking) for the Christmas marzipan cheesecake. It’s awfully good. I recently found a couple of very good GF blogs, (art of gluten-free baking and GF on a shoestring) Both have very promising pie crust recipes, so I am going to try the one from art of GF baking for pumpkin pie. She also has a recipe for parkerhouse rolls I am going to try. If they are as good as they look, I will be so thrilled!

    I am also contributing cranberry chutney, sweet potato casserole and green beans with bacon and onion. Lots of family drama this year, so the holiday has already been spoiled for me. Would prefer to just stay home with the hub and child.

    Cook’s Illustrated has a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe. It’s actually half pumpkin, half sweet potato. Like many of their recipes, it is fussy, but it is really good.

  154. 154
    scav says:

    oh, And damn! I was really hoping the butterballs of doom were an alcohol heavy little round cookie thingy. Will have to invent them. maybe put little drumsticks on them and flambé a few in homage to the namesake.

  155. 155
    Ben Cisco says:

    Just got home from picking up LittleMan, he’s off till Monday so Mrs. Cisco and I get a long weekend with him.

    Thanks to all for your birthday wishes yesterday, had to bail on the thread for work…

  156. 156
    Rosie Outlook says:

    Butterball of Doom–how Freepers refer to Gov. Christie.

  157. 157
    Anne Laurie says:


    I was really hoping the butterballs of doom were an alcohol heavy little round cookie thingy. Will have to invent them. maybe put little drumsticks on them and flambé a few in homage to the namesake.

    According to the tv news, Baskin-Robbins is selling an “ice cream turkey” with a caramel-glaze ‘skin’ and two waffle-cone ‘drumsticks’. Didn’t mention what flavor ice cream, but I’m guessing pumpkin (this year’s Fad Flavor) unless it’s just vanilla…

  158. 158
    scav says:

    @Anne Laurie: To go all out, one could put stuffing in that sort of ice-cream assemblage. Or, spread the ice cream over a vaguely turkey shaped alcohol-soaked cake (a conglomerate of stuffingoid cake, nuts and fruits?), to build and expand upon my earlier meanderings . .

  159. 159
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @22over7: @dance around in your bones: We lost my wife’s dear sister in 2011, and her father last year. We spent all of our holidays with her side of the family and now they’re gone. We’ve been dreading Thanksgiving, but my brother invited us to join in with all his in-laws.

    He says there will be about 30 people there. Plus, his niece is bringing some friends from college which should make things interesting for my college-age boys.

  160. 160
    normal liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne: it is. (Edited to specify The Twenty-One Balloons.)

  161. 161
    Maude says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    Do you get During ice cream there/ Their pumpkin ice cream is fabulous. The French Vanilla is the best. I don’t even know if they exist anymore.
    I wonder if John will make wet cat food drumsticks for Tunch.

  162. 162
    SectionH says:

    @quannlace: My son swears by Alton (well, early Alton anyway, including the whole brining thing) but I’m less impressed. Totally agree about mixing stuffing and dressing (which is the word for the mixture baked separately, right?). There’s also the possibility of stuffing the cavity with apples and onions for flavor, but also to absorb fat, for a fairly healthy version. (You discard the a’s and o’s, which is a bit French for my upbringing, but they do get pretty soggy and unappealing.) I’m not pretending it’s as good, but for,someone who srsly might not want to break their diet too badly, it’s a pretty good option.

    My husband roasts a mean turkey, chicken, duck, or goose, using a combination of Julia Child and Fanny Farmer, and generally achieves fantastic results. Not, alas, on Thanksgiving Day as a rule. It’s a working weekend for us.

  163. 163
    JCT says:

    @Mnemosyne: Why yes — that’s how I discovered my grandmother was only 15 years older than my dad, one too many over Thanksgiving dinner.

    And I am laughing, my brother-in-law’s wife is a horrendous, lazy cook. As in undercooked, hairy poultry, etc. Usually Thanksgiving is my job, but we moved 2500 miles away this year so it is just the 4 of us (both kids coming home, hooray!!). My husband’s sister offered to bring nearly half the meal to keep from being completely poisoned.

    I will still cook many of my family favorites, but it will be much less stressful to cook for 4 as opposed to 16! Plus I get to cook with my daughter, one of my favorite things.

  164. 164
    Libby's Person says:

    Just the two of us and a couple of friends from China. I was able to get a small heritage-breed turkey this year. I’m going to try an apple cider brine, and then spatchcock it, like Mark Bittman recommended this week. (I love the word; we’ll see how much I love the method!). Chestnut stuffing, sweet potatoes, sautéed chard with dried cherries and pine nuts, and a rich, buttery persimmon bread for dessert, using nice squishy American persimmons from a tree in our yard. I’m getting hungry!

  165. 165
    Tehanu says:

    Sorry to hear that. I wish I could make dinner for everyone who has no family or friends to go to. My own complaint, that we’re having dinner with relatives who are crazy food fetishists and won’t let me cook any of my treasured family recipes, is pretty feeble compared to yours. I hope you get through the day all right.

  166. 166
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Anne Laurie: My best friend use to do this when her husband’s sisters were all to be in attendance. She invited a retired nun (she retired because she was mad at the Pope) and so everyone behaved, and the older sister whose second ex out of several had married her younger sister many years later did not fight with said younger sister. That worked for about 4 years, and then they were so used to her that relations returned to normal.

  167. 167
    clayton says:

    My family broke this past January. I decided that the solution offered wasn’t for me. It entailed spending what little vacation time i had travelling with my aging mother.

    This will be the first Thanksgiving that I haven’t spent with my family since I lived in Eastern Europe.

    Last Thanksgiving was the best, and I just want to hold that one in my memory — it happened before everything was broken.

    I’ve never done a “movie” Thanksgiving, but this year i plan to see at least three, in addition to taking my old pup to see some ducks downtown that morning.

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    andy says:

    Got invited out to Mission Township for a Misfit’s Thanksgiving. I was tasked with making the green bean hot dish. I’m not wild about green beans so it should be an interesting challenge. I’m going to make a gratin of it (no Campbells mushroom soup in this thing) with oyster mushrooms, the beans, shallots, and red bell pepper. We’ll see how it goes. Wish I could have used the haricot verts i saw the one time at the Farmers market at the end of summer…

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    Darkrose says:

    Going to Ruth’s Chris. Neither of us likes turkey, and the last time we planned to cook at home, the wife got sick. Since there are only two of us, we’ve decided that we’ll just go out and save on the stress from now on.

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    AnneW says:

    One of my favorite green bean recipes is very simple: microwave fresh green beans in a bit of basil olive oil with some garlic. Easy & fast. Details at

    Her other vegetable recipes are good, too:

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    opie_jeanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t know that book. I will look for a copy.

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    I had T-day last Sun. My landlady brought over two 13 pound stuffed turkeys and I put them into my very large charcoal bar-b with its smoking attachment and a 20# bag of charcoal and 8hrs later they were done. Really damn tasty. I’m having a lot fun with that beastie, rump roasts, big roaster chickens… nah, I haven’t gained a pound.

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    @Chuck Butcher:
    Heh, the brand new Kitchen Aid mixer with almost all the attachments has been making ice cream, woah – if dieting is in your vocabulary my stuff ain’t – but if you like ice cream…

    sin is the word you’re looking for.

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    @WereBear: I cheat and use chestnut puree.

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    Ruckus says:

    An update for me.
    Just got an invite to a neighbors deal, have no idea how many people and I have to make my special oatmeal cookies. There is whiskey involved, some of which will in fact get in the cookies. It is my own recipe and the only person who has ever complained was a friend and coworker who did so only after eating a bunch and finding out there was alcohol involved. He had sworn off drinking a number of years before and didn’t want any excuse to fall off the wagon. I explained that that alcohol evaporates in cooking but that was still too close for him. Side note of no importance, he and I were on the same flight from the east coast on 9/11. One more fact, I have been invited to parties only on the condition that I bring the cookies. We’ll put you with you for the cookies. Ah the story of my life.

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    Ruckus says:

    Aren’t families… what’s the word I’m looking for… strange, no that doesn’t quite make it…
    Amazing enough, I’m out of words.

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    Lojasmo says:

    LOL. Not sure. Mrs. Lojasmo is doing the heavy lifting. It will involve a free-range turkey, mashers, squash, cranberries (real) chestnuts, green beans, and other such. Having dinner at our house, with some NY >Midwest transplants who can’t get home for TG.

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    opie_jeanne says:

    @Ruckus: Gloriously so, and you have to laugh or you’ll just cry all the damned time; and other families can sometimes make you feel like you really don’t have so much to complain about, or that yours really isn’t any odder than most other people’s.

    The nun was German and hilariously gruff and rigid, and hearing her swear about the Pope was an education in itself but I don’t think she did that at the family parties. I spent just enough time with her that I was very glad I was not raised Catholic like my friend was. At 45 she was no longer terrified of the nuns but she told me enough that I knew I was lucky to just have Methodists for parents.

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    Ruckus says:

    My oldest sister gave ma a photo album for xmas about 8 years ago that described not only my family but a good part of my life.
    The Dysfunctional Family Album.
    Many things I remembered and there were some I’m sure I blocked out even at a young age of 4-5 out of shear self preservation. The best part… mom didn’t get the whole point.
    Yeah family can be fun. I do understand that some species have been known to eat their young. We just “torture” ours, sometimes for decades.

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    Ruckus says:

    I learned long ago that my family wasn’t so bad. Kids I went to high school with, lived 2 blocks away, came home one day to find mom and dad both shot, murder/suicide. Grew up, K-12/church/eaten at their home with one of the manson girls. Dad hugged me for the first time ever when he was 75.
    My family, not so much with the great, very, very much not with the bad.

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    Cassidy says:

    Open invitation to anyone in the North Florida/ South Georgia/ Anywhere if you’re wanting to drive to come to my home and eat. We’re not doing anything fancy or complicated, but my wife is a good cook and she let’s me hang out and drink beer and stay out of her way. My email

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    @Ben Franklin: do you blog on Craig Murray?

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