Thankful for Gluttony!
So one of my all-time favorite holidays [It centers on food, family, counting one's blessings and being lazy. Could it get any better?] is upon us, and, what with being back amongst our kin and being the proprietors of The Mansion, The Husband-Type Man and I are hosting the feast this year. The china's unpacked, I've hit Gram up for her silver, and we've been pouring over our cookbook collection; the result is a balls-out meal that'll surely make my Mom and Gram sigh in exasperation and make comments about "But kids, it's so much WORK" and "why not keep things simple?" and "we don't need anything fancy" ... as if that's the point? Face it, guys. We love cooking. We love eating. We're deeply in touch with our Inner Pretensions. So just belly on up to the table and start chowin' down!
This year's FoodFest is inspired, in part, by this French cookbook I got. Both me and THTM were way impressed by the difference in French meal presentation versus American. "If there's one thing that perturbs a Frenchman, it's being presented with a crowded plate of food.... Better to eat one's meal in separate courses, to take the time to enjoy...." Indeed! And after a year in New York, experiencing different kinds of food -- and different kinds of "dining" -- we're ready to bring our new knowledge on home.
This isn't a project without preparation, mind. I've already got lists of cookware and dishes to borrow, which stores to go to for what and when (such-and-such Zagat's recommended Italian shop for polenta, Farmer's Market for turkey, etc.), and scheduled dishes to make ahead of time. But believe it or not, to me, that's part of the fun. Try explaining THAT to a Gramma who thinks that merely having cloth napkins on the table instead of paper is "too much work".... Remember, Gram. I am the Goddess of Foof.
Anyway, the keys to this meal are 1) small portions of each dish (except for the Entree, natch... for that, you gorge!), 2) fresh ingredients (always a key of mine in food preparation), and slow and careful pacing, both in the preparation and the consumption. I also don't skimp on the details. Yeah, we could just crank open a can of pitted black olives or grab the nearest box of stuffing... but why? Why spoil the integrity of a sublime roasted turkey, a gourmet dish of mashed potatoes, an exotic mushroom loaf or succulent asparagus dish or homemade pumpkin bread pudding with... Cool Whip? Canned cranberry sauce? Or, heaven help me, a... a... a casserole made with cream of mushroom soup... from a CAN! The horrors! No way, man.
So here's the official menu. Follow the links to select recipes. Feel free to e-mail me with questions, suggestions, advice or admonishments for being so pretentious. And, of course, if you'd like to come over on Thanksgiving and give a hand....
Thursday, November 23, 2000
Chilled cream of cranberry soup
Petit plat avec des oeufs
("Small dish" with egg)
Petits plats des légumes
("Small dishes" of vegetables)
Roast turkey with bread and sausage dressing
Selection of gherkins and olives
Selection of cheeses
Pumpkin pie with crème fraîche
Dutch apple pie à la mode
Want to see some old Foof? Dwanollah tells you how to throw a White Trash Party.