Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Old Habits Die Hard

When we lived in NJ I went all out and hosted 25 to 40 family and friends every Thanksgiving. T-day, like no other holiday, brings out the obsessive gourmet cook in me.

Every year I would fall into a routine for that week. I'd spend hours reviewing recipes until I made my selection of turkey seasonings, stuffing, sides, appetizers and desserts. Although everyone contributed dishes to the table, I still managed to make one of everything. So, in total I would spend about a day researching recipes, a day food shopping, a day doing prep work in the kitchen, T-day roasting the turkey and hosting the dinner, and the following day cleaning up and resting.

Now I'm here in the tropics where we still celebrate, but it doesn't feel like the holidays. There is no crisp autumn air scented with smoke from the first fires of the season. There is no trip to the orchard for apples and hot apple cider. There are no pumpkins outside people's doors and no wreaths of berries and dried leaves. And there is no family to go to, so we have created our own family of friends.

On Thursday I'm going to Kim and Larry's house with Adele and John. Last Saturday I volunteered to cook the bird and the gravy. But every day I've been sliding down that slippery slope... Now I'm also making cranberry sauce because fresh cranberries are the only way to go, and stuffing because I have apples and bacon I want to throw into it, and apple pie because I have a great recipe, and pumpkin pie because John wants some and why not? Plus I have a bunch of cheese I need to use up, so I'll make a hot cheese dip for appetizer, and that sauce will need some bread, and I just found a recipe for olive focaccia that sounds perfect with that dip... Yikes! And it's only Tuesday!

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