This Thanksgiving, we traveled to Cleveland to spend it with our boys. We have a ‘relative rotation’ going on and this is our year for them to be with us for Thanksgiving Day. Doesn’t make sense for five of them to find their way to southern Ohio, figuring out the various work schedules, when the two of us can drive up and do it all there.
It made all the more sense to travel to them when the youngest has access to a restaurant kitchen and the three boys decided to do the cooking! My love and I got there about midday Thursday to find the three boys chopping and mixing and generally scurrying around to the blare of some contemporary music.
We watched in wonder as one turkey (stuffed with a sausage dressing), two ducks (brined and stuffed with a berry and hot chili pepper cornbread dressing) and two pheasants (stuffed with a chestnut dressing – we brought up the chestnut meats – and overnighted with pearl onions and garlic cloves) went into the oven. A whole cranberry relish thickened on top the stove along with duck/chicken gravy. An apple pie at least six inches high and a two-toned pumpkin/sweet potato pie were pulled out of the oven at the golden brown stage (the pumpkin cheesecake was already waiting in the fridge at Tom’s house). Extra cornbread, with corn kernels freshly cut off the cob, was baked with huge blackberries added. Of course, everything was done with butter or duck lard. About ten pounds of smashed white potatoes (with sour cream and cream cheese added) and 5 large whipped sweet potatoes were also cooked along the way. The fresh asparagus spears waited to be lightly steamed till right before the meal.
My love and I supplied the wines, fruits and cheeses to keep us going before, during and after the meal. The favorite cheese seemed to be a smoked hot pepper gouda. The most interesting looking one was an elderberry cheese with a green rind – it did not turn out to be as interesting in taste as looks, though.
And what a meal, when we finally all sat down at Tom and Lydia’s lovely table! We took it slowly in courses with the various dressings accompanying the birds they were cooked in. Turkey first, then duck and finally the pheasant. The desserts came a lot later!
I don’t think the boys realized how much food they were making – we did a reprise of the meal on Friday (after spending several hours in the Art Museum perusing the Masters exhibit) with plenty more left for them to munch on for a couple more days.
I know I missed mentioning some of the wonderful ingredients in the above dishes (in particular, the cranberry sauce had a lemon zest and some other liquid – maybe a wine? or cherry soda? or ?). It was hard to keep up with what they were throwing in and mixing around. One of the great things about using the restaurant kitchen was being able to use their big pots and pans for cooking and transporting, and the dishwasher for clean-up!
I don’t think my love and I can compete with that sumptuous of a meal when they come in for the Christmas holidays, but I don’t think that will be a problem. We’ll have home and the hot tub. <g>