Sunday, November 22, 2009

T-3 Days Left Until Thanksgiving!

Do YOU have your menu planned yet?

I don't - that's because I will be sadly travelling away from the continental U.S. for Thanksgiving. Yes, I will be travelling somewhere warm and sunny, but strangely, I'm struggling with not having Thanksgiving with my family in Rhode Island.

For me, one of the most important "traditions" (I put this in quotes since this is a relatively new tradition - four years old?) is our family Thanksgiving there. Some years, it has just been my immediate family. Other years, friends/godparents have joined us. Whomever our company is, the dining room is always full of laughter, high spirits, and tons of smiles.

Cooking at home in Rhode Island is also a sheer pleasure, as there is an abundance of locally grown meat and produce that makes up our feast: turkeys, oysters, bacon, brussels sprouts, green beans, greens, cranberries, onions, pumpkins, apples, cheeses, and more. I enjoy knowing where my food comes, as it takes the sensory pleasure of eating food to another level. Plus, utilizing locally sourced foods gives me even more reason to be thankful at Thanksgiving.

Lastly, I love late autumn in Rhode Island. The air is crisp in the mornings, and the fields of grass are distinctly brown, with the gray-brown of the leaf-less trees and the deep blue water of the ponds complimenting, yet also contrasting with, a cloud-streaked sky. In the early afternoon, the light begins to turn gold, setting the golden grasses afire with beautiful light. Though it is often 40 degrees outside, the light brings a golden warmth to the landscape.

Though I will miss my "traditional" Thanksgiving, I am looking forward to spending my day this year with all my cousins, aunts, and uncles on my father's side of the family. I am also doing some pre-Thanksgiving celebrating of my own.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

This past Wednesday, Mark Bittman wrote about 101 Things to Prepare Before The Turkey Goes in The Oven in his The Minimalist column. I'm already a fan of these seasonal 101 articles, but I think that this article is one of the better (best?) ones! I'm all ready to try #42 - Brussels Sprouts Sliders. #s 50 and 54 both sound utterly delicious - Spinach, Raisins and Pinenuts or Curried Cauliflower and Raisins - which to make? Both? And #73, a Roasted Beet Salad, too! I've already tried - and devoured - a batch of #84, the Sage Crackers. Most of his desserts pique my interest, but I'm going to stick with my dad's pumpkin pie...

So, for all of you who have not yet finished your menu, I suggest you check this article out. And, for the rest of you who have finished your menu, will you share with us what you are making?

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