One of the weird things about being a non-American in America is the Thanksgiving dilemma – to celebrate or not to celebrate? It’s a very American holiday, the most obvious Singaporean analog being our Chinese New Year’s Eve, when families do their utmost to get together and have dinner. It’s the big “reunion dinner” holiday for Americans, especially since it’s not tied to a particular religion, like Christmas or Hanukkah, but instead is a completely valid holiday for everyone who considers themselves “American” to celebrate. I definitely do not consider myself American, and thus, logically, there’s not really a point to celebrating Thanksgiving for me.
However, Adan is most definitely American, and as such, would really enjoy a large meal with friends or family. Plus, I really enjoy cooking for people. I like cooking in general, and I like feeding people. Latent maternal instincts, or some such. So two years ago, ET and I came up with the idea of having a post-Thanksgiving dinner for our friends. This would allow me to feed a large number of people, have a happy get-together dinner while allowing our friends to have dinner with their actual families on Thanksgiving day, and for ET, she’d get to have not one, but two turkeys a year. The girl really likes her turkeys. Don’t get between ET and her turkey. She’d quite happily run you over for some leftover turkey. It’s a bit like Nina and fried chicken. Do you really want to take your life into your hands like that?
Our post-Thanksgiving food fest (PTFF) this year turned into a bit of a fiasco.
First, have I ever told you about my living/dining room chairs? When we first moved into this apartment, we had about 6 living/dining room chairs, and that was almost enough for everyone when we had people over. We still had to drag our computer chairs out into the living room from time to time, but our 6 chairs were almost enough. But then more people started coming over. It’s basically been a game of catch-up since then. Every time we think we have enough seating in this apartment, something else happens to expand our group (someone gets a girlfriend/boyfriend, someone brings over another friend who becomes part of the circle, someone comes back from Japan, etc, etc). I don’t think we’re meant to ever have enough chairs. It’s just one of those things.
We’re up to 8 chairs and a 3-seater sofa in the living/dining room, with our two computer chairs as backup, and that’s been working out pretty well. I guess I should have seen it coming, then, when I invited 20 people over for the PTFF. I invited a similar number last year, and about half of the invitees couldn’t make it, which is what I figured would happen this year. Boy, was I wrong.
On Thursday, I realized that since most of our bunch replied affirmatively (I guess the food was good last year ) and because Adan invited a few people from work, our confirmed guest list was up to 22 people. I began to have a meltdown. I only had enough seating for half of these people, and I really didn’t think a 30 lb turkey would fit in my oven, not to mention, it would take about 8 hours to cook. Aieee!!
Two days of stressing and some invitation juggling later, we came to a reasonable solution. We’d have two PTFFs. One on Saturday for people in our immediate circle (14 people), and one on Sunday for people from Adan’s work (10 people – he owes me big for making this happen).
That said, the menu for both nights will be very similar, just scaled appropriately for the number of attendees, and is this:
- Roast turkey (duh.)
- Cranberry-orange sauce (fresh cranberries with orange juice, zest, and a dash of Cointreau)
- Stuffing with apple, chestnuts, and bacon
- Garlic mashed potato gratin
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Sauteed spinach with garlic
- Caramelized shallots
- Stuffed mushrooms (breading, herbs, cheese)
- Fresh tomato salad with red onion
- Cheese course consisting of Prima Donna, a sharp cheddar (for the less adventurous), and a smooth triple-creme Pierre Robert. Served with crackers and good bread.
- Triple chocolate cake (blackout cake)
As you can see, I really like to feed people. And when I feed people, I FEED PEOPLE. Of course, everything will be made from scratch, because I’m crazy like that.
This should be fun Stressful, but fun.
Listening to: This Years Love by David Gray