I’m thinking Kilby and I have succeeded at our perfect Thanksgiving meal, and we’ll have no work to do in designing next year’s. (Though since that’s half the fun, it’s too bad.)
For breakfast, coffee and a fruit crumble with plain yogurt. (Full disclosure: We’re eating it today instead because it was undercooked and the tannins remaining in the persimmons made it inedible yesterday morning.)
Appetizers at 1:00:
Fresh baguette topped with:
—Slow-roasted tomatoes (Smitten Kitchen) and fresh arugula
–Goat cheese, fig preserves, and prosciutto
A dry, crisp riesling
Dinner at 4:30:
Salad course: Brussels sprouts salad with red onion and pecorino. Perfection, basically.
Main course: Turkey brined mostly according to Pioneer Woman’s recipe, seared at 500 and then slow roasted for hours, basted with butter. It was gorgeous, buttery, and soft as butter, too. The turkey was served on a bed of wilted kale, spinach, and arugula topped with mushrooms sauteed in butter and white pepper.
–Williams Sonoma Wild Rice Salad, though we substituted fennel for the celery, to great effect. Orange, pomegranate, walnut, and fennel in warm wild rice, basically.
–This fantastic persimmon-cranberry sauce, made with red wine. I was a skeptic, but I have officially drunk the Kool-Aid.
—Sweet potatoes roasted with feta, thyme, and pine nuts, a repeat from last year, served in a long dish flanked by sauteed green beans with garlic chips.
Dessert at 6:00 was a pumpkin pie and a bourbon, chocolate, and pecan pie (actually we baked it into individual tarts because I forgot to bring a second pie pan), topped with ice-cold fresh-whipped cream.
Cheese course at 8:00 was a stilton, a gouda, a red leicester, a dubliner, and a camembert, with a bit more baguette and a Garnacha, a beautiful Spanish red wine, one of our favorites.
The day was about perfect, complete with a story read-aloud over appetizers while kids napped, a chilly adventure to the park with daddies while mommies got dinner on, awesome music with a little toddler-style dancing, a documentary on JS Bach in the evening, and just about nothing but fun from the starting bell. Leading up to this meal the hype was huge, of course, because, well, have we met? And my adorable two-year-old who toasted us all officiously at dinner, was endearingly excited about the cranberry sauce and the turkey, which, after hearing me say “That is one large animal” upon putting it in the pan, he referred to with great solemnity as a “large animal” for the rest of the day.
As we got up from the whirlwind of eating with three toddlers and began another round of dishes before dessert, I remarked that this food business really was another form of performance art: You practice, rehearse, plan, prepare and then in only minutes it’s over. This particular meal is an annual event, so it will be performed again a year from now. Until then, there are dishes to do. My brilliant sister wrote this before falling asleep last night:
Thursday, November 28
by Kilby Austin
for a minute: pause
our preparation culminates in awe
for a minute: love
as everything is spent and is enough
for a minute: joy
thanksgiving dinner eaten by a boy
for a minute: pleasure
the ease of us sitting here together
for a minute: release
a beauty of wild sacramental waste
for a minute: relief
when you can recognise your soul’s motif
for a minute: life
all captured in a day’s aching delight
for a minute: you
we know each other here and through and through
for a minute: then
the wine is finished and we go to bed