Sunday, November 20, 2011


It is too easy for me to get carried away when planning for a big meal.  So I am thinking of writing KISS on the back of my hand in permanent marker to get me through the next week.  Keep It Simple Stupid.  Just look at my list.  Marked through, added to, notes everywhere.  I found this magazine, All-Time Best Holiday Recipes, by America's Test Kitchen, the editors of Cook's Illustrated, at the grocery store the other day.  I stashed it in my carry-on 25 pound purse (at least it felt that heavy) on my recent school trip to Tennessee and pulled it out frequently.  I have now marked recipes I plan to use with the darling little pink heart post-its. (I love these magazines-- the recipes are tested over and over and over and they even give you the whys and wherefores about each one.  I've never gone wrong with a single recipe.)
This Thanksgiving it will just be the four of us.  No trips over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go.  After a quick trip over the mountains to fetch Son #2 in Knoxville, we decided that will be enough driving.  I have declared, however, that we will make a quick stop in Spruce Pine to see Mildred on her birthday.  Son #1 will drive over on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, depending on his schedule and we will all be together for the first time since early August when we dropped College Boy off at his dorm.  We will celebrate Son #1's birthday, too, on Thanksgiving Day this year. 
With this crowd of men, though, I must remember that they are very fond of the basics. There is a lovely recipe for Baked Brie En Croûte.  And Son #1 has developed a love for Brie, but do I dare wrap it up in a puff pastry and add apricot preserves?  Maybe I'll have both and see if he likes it.   I'm thinking turkey breast instead of the whole bird.  Gravy, of course.  No brainer there.  Au Gratin Potatoes or Garlic Mashed?  The mashed will probably win out.  Can I get away with adding the garlic, though?  Green Bean Casserole or Sautéed Green Beans?  Most definitely sautéed.  That's not too different from the steamed ones, is it?  Sugar-glazed carrots?  Probably not.  Oven-Baked Stuffing? Fluffy Dinner Rolls or Olive-Rosemary Bread?  Rolls.  Or wait.  Cornmeal Biscuits?  I might be able to get away with that.  Cranberry-Orange Sauce?  I think I am the only one who likes cranberries anyway, so that's a yes!  The recipe calls for a splash of Triple Sec and I just happen to have a bottle of that stashed away somewhere.  Ultimate Cinnamon Buns for breakfast?  They love those.  Pumpkin Pie, of course.  The missing recipe in the magazine is cherry pie.  That's what Grandma started making as a birthday treat for Son #1 years ago and I must carry on the tradition. 
And, oh yes, lasagna will be ready and waiting, along with a big pot of chili.  I doubt that either son has been starving the past few months (we can track Son #2's debit card and see which fine-dining establishments he has frequented on Cumberland Street in Knoxville), but a mom had to feed her babies when they return to the nest, right?
I think I'd best get up from here, finish that list, and head to the grocery store.  With the Ex-Ex in tow to keep me in check, of course.

Bon appétit, America's Test Kitchen and Thanksgiving Cooks across the USA!

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