Can we still talk about Thanksgiving? Well I am. This is what I created for Thanksgiving. I invited my husband’s family over. (buncha grown-ups, a few million kids.) I cooked and cooked and again I won them over with the American idea of Thanksgiving. I think if I keep at it, in ten years I will have the entire British nation on board.
What did we have? Everything.
My butcher couldn’t get me a whole turkey but he sold me on a turkey roll, complete with their house-made sausage stuffing. It was excellent. My butcher is kind of a gruff man, but he knows what he is talking about when it comes to meat. He does not sell a single inferior product.
Gravy. I was never a gravy fan until I reached my late twenties. My Mom and my Grandma made fantastic gravy (and my Mom still does) but I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. With age comes gravy? Since I don’t live near my Mom anymore, I have had to work on learning to make excellent gravy. (seriously, I never really bothered because when I made it, my Mom was there, and I would say, “Do your thing.”)
Peace-maker stuffing. (from the Square Meals cookbook by Jane & Michael Stern. It has something for everyone. I made it vegetarian this year because we have more Vegetarians in the family.)
sweet potato mash with maple syrup and butter
Baked spinach and kale (again mostly for the vegetarians. Julia Child never steers a person wrong.)
Potatoes roasted in goose fat. My husband makes these. I think these potatoes earned him a life-time pass in my family’s eyes. He could kick a puppy, and they would say, “well that wasn’t cool…but….he does make great potatoes.” I kid. Mostly.
Red Hot Jello Salad. UK food laws remove a lot of electric food dyes from food, so it isn’t as vibrant as it might be in the US, but it is still delicious. Kids love it. I love it. Everyone loves it.
Rolls (Hidden under the blue cloth) Recipe is from this 1940s Betty Crocker booklet my Mom gave me. They had written the book JUST before the US entered the war but then rationing came in, so they have this cool insert for telling you how to use substitutions in baking. A neat piece of history, and mighty fine rolls.
Steamed broccoli (my son likes that) and piccata-style green beans. Simple but delicious and kind of takes the edge off all of the rich food drowning in butter.
Cauliflower topped with brown butter crumbs. I am not a fan of cauliflower and think most of us are lying to ourselves about cauliflower. It’s there. It doesn’t do much. One mostly drowns it in cheese or dip. BUT I do have a family member who says that she genuinely likes it and I try and bring something to the table for every person. She is also a newer member of the clan, and I want to make her feel welcome. This wasn’t half-bad. But again the cauliflower is there to get lemon, and buttery crumbs to your mouth.
A little home-made cranberry sauce. Because it is delicious.
Apple crumb top pie. Tart, sweet, buttery. Nuff said.
Squash pie. I didn’t have access to pumpkin, but my Mother in law gave me a couple of squashes from her garden, and it fits with the theme of using what I had around me. This pie (another Jane and Michael Stern recipe) was amazing. People were sad when it was gone. It was served with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup. It was firm, not too sweet, and I think it appealed to the British palate’s love of a good custardy pudding.
And then there was blackberry sorbet. Not everyone in the family is a dessert person (and some don’t like eggy things) BUT everyone likes sorbet, and it takes the edge off the palate after a heavy dinner. The berries came from the brambles at my inlaws’ place. I gathered them in September, washed and froze them, waiting for the right time to use them. I added a little cardamom to give the flavor a little something fun. My daughter liked it, because it was sooooo purpley pink.
People had to be rolled home as they ate so much.