Posted: November 23, 2012 in Cooking, family, Holidays

The family traditions of Thanksgiving are many and varied. As a youngster, we always went to my grandmother’s place for a turkey dinner. I loved my grandmother and miss her very much, but she was not a great turkey cook. That bird came out of the oven drier than the Sahara. You wound up needing to irrigate yourself like a personalized Tennessee Valley Authority in order to choke it down. I think, had the Camelbak been around at that point, it should’ve been part of the place settings. Things got to be too much, though, and we started a tradition of going out on Thanksgiving. This would be broken up when someone felt like hosting dinner, but we generally would choose a buffet and go to town.

Buffets/smorgasbords have their own special risks. Usually those risks involve eating way too much, but the other thing is that a lot of the food choices simply aren’t good for you. I’m kind of the expert in that kind of diet. Maybe I should make a weight loss video where a camera crew follows me around and then I exhort people to order the exact opposite of what I did order. That might work.

My sister-in-law’s oven roasted turkey

Seriously, though, there are ways to make Thanksgiving dinner somewhat healthy, even for dyed-in-the-wool carnivores like me. First of all, I know a deep-fried turkey tastes awesome. I get that… something about that oily juiciness sets it apart. However, it is possible to oven roast a turkey that will rival a friend bird in overall juiciness. I know this because my sister-in-law accomplishes this on a yearly basis. Her bird is perfectly golden brown every time. She claims the art is in the basting, but I’m pretty sure there’s a healthy dose of witchcraft involved as well.

The really weak link in the holiday meal chain is the potato filling. This stuff is like a food group all its own, and therein lies the issue. It is soooooo easy to just shovel that stuff on the plate and chow down. It was hard, but I only had one modest-sized helping yesterday, along with a spoonful of corn and some green bean surprise. There was also a huge salad made by yours truly, with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below).

The dessert selection was stupendous… Supportive Partner Woman (better baker than I!) made a selection of her mom’s favorites, as it was also her mom’s birthday. She made a pineapple upside down cake, a birthday cake, and a pumpkin pie. And, since she’s awesome, she also baked a batch of sugar free cupcakes for me.

Of course, there’s the best part of Thanksgiving dinner… leftovers. Nothing like a pile of yummy, juicy turkey to make sandwiches. Or, you can just nuke some of that stuff and you have a lovely, well-balanced plate. That’s all you really need.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of rosemary

Combine and mix well. Modify amount of oil is dressing is too vinegary for your taste.

Song of the Day: I Had a Memory – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Currently reading: Poseidon’s Arrow – Clive Cussler

  1. Cindy says:

    Hey, if you or someone in your family has a recipe for potato stuffing, my mom just mentioned she’s been looking for one and can’t find one. It’s what my PA dutchie grandmother always made.

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