I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. We are celebrating as a small family unit, six adults and one two-year-old, and everyone is making their own contribution to the meal. For the first time the children are assuming their new roles as newlyweds and parents, and Mr. Friday and I are no longer the sole grownups. There will be additional cooks assembled for the big day who can assume the green bean casserole mantle. I can relax, as long as I show up with a fresh turkey, sausage balls, dinner rolls and a lot of Chex Mix. Pour some of the Beaujolais Nouveau, I am ready to be thankful.
I am mindful that the grown children still put away enormous amounts of food, and that there must be plentiful backup in case anyone gets peckish during the long weekend. So I am also planning on baking a couple of batches of Garden & Gun’s “Easiest Biscuits You’ll Ever Make.” http://gardenandgun.com/blog/easiest-biscuits-youll-ever-make
These biscuits will come in handy morning, noon and night. Initially they can first be served with Thanksgiving dinner, oozing rivulets of golden butter, or sopping up some of the nectar that is gravy. In the morning they can be re-heated and then loaded with bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese or Spaghetti Os, depending on the vagaries of the crowd. At lunch, the few leftover rolls can be the base for ham biscuits. (Be sure to stock up on ham, a little Swiss cheese and some sharp mustard on your market run.) If there are any biscuits left after this late date, you can use them to polish someone’s patent leather pumps. Or toss one, surreptitiously, to the loyal dog who has been following you around all day.
I have tried the recipe a couple of times now, and can report that short of going to a restaurant or having someone else do the baking for me, these were indeed easy and fabulous. And unlike Sharon Benton, who originated the recipe, I did not have access to fancy artisanally-sourced flour or buttermilk. I used White Lily self-rising flour and the grocery store brand buttermilk. The fanciest I got was swooshing melted French President butter over their precious little biscuit tops, and then adding some crumbles of some By-Appointment-to-Her-Majesty-the-Queen Maldon salt. Yumsters. Go for it.
I might shake things up a little bit this year. We can never quite remember what we served the year before – did we have Parker House rolls, or did we do Pillsbury crescent rolls? (No one ever remembers to Instagram Thanksgiving, so we do not have an accurate record.) Without telling any one, I have decided that we are going to have a Food52 recipe that I tested earlier this week. We are going to have Harvest Stuffing Bead. https://food52.com/recipes/64990-harvest-stuffing-bread
Harvest Stuffing Bread is aromatic and delish, and frankly the most expensive loaf of bread I have ever eaten. Perhaps if my herb collection was a little more up-to-date I wouldn’t have had to re-stock the rosemary, celery seed, thyme, sage, marjoram, parsley and powdered onion. $23.65 for those seven – yikes. I had best plan on baking this bread often to justify that expense. For Thanksgiving I will be trying out the dinner roll version. The other night I baked a satisfying footwall-sized wedge of bread, that was good again for breakfast in the morning. I love the crispy crunchy celery seed and flaky Maldon salt crust, which gave me the illusory satisfaction that I can bake bread. Plus the whole house began to smell like Thanksgiving, a week early.
The Thanksgiving countdown is winding down. Have you ordered your fresh turkey? Don’t wait until Tuesday, or you will spend all of Wednesday trying to thaw a damn Butterball. There is not enough Beaujolais for that kind of worrying. You want to sit back and watch the day unfold.
Here is some of my list of things to remember – because we are spending the weekend in a rental house I am not sure what sort of kitchen equipment will already be in place – so we are planning on packing the gravy separator, the electric knife, a festive turkey platter and the spare Pack & Play for the ranging two-year-old. Also candles, $23.65 worth of fresh herbs, extra President butter, a frozen (homemade!) lasagna, potatoes, sausage balls, and lots of Beaujolais. I hope someone remembers the beans!
Here is a handy checklist from Saveur magazine, in case I have forgotten something important: http://www.saveur.com/thanksgiving-recipes
Also – Cook’s Illustrated with a veritable compendium of sure fire recipes: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/guides/thanksgiving
National Public Radio celebrates Thanksgiving every year with a recitation of Susan Stamberg’s mother-in-law’s recipe for cranberry relish. http://www.npr.org/series/4175681/susan-stamberg-s-cranberry-relish-tradition The Spy will continue our tradition of telling you what to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers.
Have a wonderfully sentimental Thanksgiving. Be kind to your relatives. Eat lots of turkey!
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”