I was just over at woundedraven’s blog The Affair Diary reading her post Thanks(but no thanks)giving… which reminded me that my Thanksgiving dilemma for this year has been solved. I have been dreading getting up the courage to tell everyone that I don’t want to have Thanksgiving again this year. Last year I opted out and we went to a restaurant (because you know, my world had been tossed upside down and I frankly didn’t fuckin’ feel like entertaining anyone), and I wrote this post On this day. Apparently I was very thankful last year. This year my parents have decided to spend a few days at the coast and therefore, will not be home for Turkey Day. My sister is joining them. My brother is going out of state. My Dad’s family celebrates in a big Mormon church house up north, and therefore, I do not have to do anything if I don’t want to. “And that’s a good thing,” as Martha would say.
But I do love to cook when I’m in the mood, and I do love a good Thanksgiving meal. Now I can simplify it and only make what the three of us like to eat (me, Blue Eyes, and The Peacemaker). No fancy appetizers or tablescapes, or china, or crystal glasses. No special drinks, and no need for a half dozen dessert options. No running around purchasing a certain bakery’s fresh, homemade dinner rolls, because I don’t have the time as I already have 15 other dishes to prepare, including at least 3 pies. No picking up Ice Cream for the pies at the trendy Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop. No 80-item grocery lists or 25 pound turkeys. No starting the prep three days before and no cooking for two solid days. I am happy to say, I won’t miss any of that.
I wrote about Thanksgiving 2013 here Stranger things have not happened and it was not pretty. Not only was the meal exasperating, but I also found out shortly after d-day that the stalker whore tried to get ahold of me that day. If I had answered the phone, that day would have been d-day. Can you imagine? Finding out about my husband’s secret life from a crazy lonely hoarding alcoholic stalker bitch in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, with my family? I am thankful for small miracles, I guess. Instead, I found out on a benign Saturday afternoon in January, and not surrounded by more than a dozen people waiting on me to feed them the single most celebrated American meal of the year.
This year, I will cook a simple dinner of only those Thanksgiving items we love. We’ll eat on our every day dishes and I can sit down and eat with my family (versus running around refilling everything and making sure the gravy is hot, and everyone has drinks, and that the cream is whipped, and the coffee is on, etc… etc… etc…). We can even eat in front of the football game if we want.
I also found out that two years ago, the floral centerpiece I put together (below) was from flowers purchased from The Flower Lady, someone Blue Eyes was grooming at the time. She is a very flamboyant florist (and person). I don’t even have to worry about a centerpiece this year.
In honor of my upcoming stress-free holiday, I thought I would post one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, because I don’t “do” the mound of jellied cranberry sauce in the shape of a tin can… thing…
This chutney is less sweet than typical cranberry sauce and has a much more complex flavor profile including a little spicy-ness (original source: food52.com).
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup hazelnuts, skinless, toasted and roughly chopped
8 dried black mission figs, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
Add all the ingredients, with the exception of the chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme, to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the chutney thickens some. Be careful not to overcook or it will become overly thick and sticky. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and fresh thyme and let cool slightly before serving.
It IS a good thing!
I hope you are able to make Thanksgiving about being kind to yourself and not stressing out. If not, I hope it is over quickly! And for those not in America, happy next Thursday, just a regular old day.