Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for a lot of people. It’s supposed to be a time when family gets together to share a large meal and good talk. It’s traditional to have a large turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a green bean casserole dish. But it rarely goes that way.
For our house, our family gets along great, and we see each other quite a bit anyhow. But add in the extended family, the people who expect you to show up at various places even though you don’t talk any other time of year. Oh, and the expectation of the “right” food. To combat some of this, my husband and I go out of town every other year. As a matter of fact, one of my best Thanksgiving memories is from a trip we took down to to Temecula a few years ago. My daughter and her boyfriend went down there as well. We did wine tasting one day, beer tasting another day, and then ate the best Thanksgiving buffet at one of the wineries. It was awesome!
This year we were supposed to go out of town, but my brother came down from up north. Since we haven’t seen him in a few years, he asked us to stay in town this year. So not only did we stay in town, we hosted the dinner.
I’m not sure if it’s obvious by now, but my husband and I are not very traditional. Or at least we like to think so! Since no one, except for me, really likes turkey, we don’t cook that. As a matter of fact, we don’t cook many of the expected dishes. A few years ago our Thanksgiving consisted of all of the dishes we really wanted to try and cook, but had not had time to try. We had my daughter and one of my husband’s friends (and his son) over, and we had a great time! We were going to do something similar this year, then I received the phone call.
Apparently it was a bit stressful for others that would be attending our dinner not to have some of the traditional food. Since I don’t like to cause stress in others, and it’s not a complete put-out for me to cook *some* traditional food, we did compromise. No turkeys though, that was a given. Since this year I gave my husband a smoker for his birthday, he wanted to smoke a brisket for Thanksgiving. I’ve put a couple of pictures of his new smoker below. Isn’t it lovely!
My husband got up at 4:30am to start the smoker and get the brisket in by 5:30am. And it turned out wonderful! We also tried a variety of other dishes as well. Not all of them turned out good, but most did. We did have cranberry sauce, stuffing, salad, and of course sourdough bread. For the non-traditional dishes we had smoked cheese potatoes, stir-fry broccoli and pine nuts, a brown rice dish, and bread pudding for dessert. My mother also brought a vanilla pie and a sweet potato casserole. Oh, and of course for dessert I did stick to traditional and made my apple pie. I make this once, maybe twice a year. The whole thing is done by me, from the crust to the topping. Well, my husband does help peel the apples. He does that because I’ll make a separate pie just for him when he does!
This is my pie before it goes into the oven. I carefully place all of the apples inside, so even though it does sink down as it cooks, it still stays above the top of the pie crust.
Overall this year I would say our Thanksgiving was a success. A little bit of stress on some, but overall most people left quite full and happy.
Now for next year, I’ll be picking a location and restaurant probably during the summer!