We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving around here. There is a statutory holiday for it in mid-October, but around me at least, no one has ever seen it as anything else than a long weekend. I think most people from the other provinces do celebrate, however (I mean those with English ancestry, as opposed to French ancestry).
I had my first and only real Thanksgiving meal while I was living in
So, in part because of that incredible Thanksgiving dinner in Frankfurt, in part because I was looking for “new” traditions to incorporate now that I have my own family, and in part because I love comfort food, I have come to view the American Thanksgiving as some kind of a fantasy
I’ve been making my roasted turkey meal annually for several years now, always around the Holidays, but also always for occasions other than the real thing (my sister’s birthday in mid-December, for example). I never love to cook more or feel happier in the kitchen than during that day. I’ve experimented over the years and now have my standard fare steadied: the roasted bird (“Isn’t it going to be really dry?” asked my mom the first time she watched me make turkey my way, fearful of a method different that the one she had seen done for generations. The answer was no. She admitted that it was simply divine!) with its pan drippings gravy, the mashed potatoes, the homemade cranberry sauce, and usually, as sides, peas, creamed spinach, and Brussels sprouts sauteed with walnuts. But my favorite part has to be the stuffing, which I bake in a separate pan and for which I’ve “invented” a recipe involving very finely sliced celery and onion sauteed in a lot of butter, bread crumbs, roasted chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, slivered almonds and dried cranberries. Yummy!
This year, for a number of reasons including the fact that my sister has a new baby and does not want to be too far from home, I’ll be hosting the family Christmas dinner. It will be really special, not only because we will now have two kids with us, but also because for the first time in 20 years, we will celebrate with both our parents (and the new people in their lives, obviously). The fact that we’ve come this far as a post-divorce reunited family (this couldn’t have been possible at all even a few years ago) is moving me to tears, and I’m sure my sisters feel the same.
So guess what I’m making? I’ve warned everyone that it would not be tourtière they would be eating this year. I expected shouts of disapproval, but so far have received none (maybe they’re still very disappointed but too polite to say anything). I am really excited about this opportunity to carry out my ultimate Thanksgiving fantasy, even if it's a month or so later. I’m still not sure about the dessert(s) though: first, I’ve never had pumpkin pie in my life (never even one peanut butter and jelly sandwich, either, those are only typically American), second, I’m much better at baking cakes than pies, and third, I saw this great recipe for triple chocolate trifle I’d really like to try…