Thanksgiving roundup: greatest hits edition

I’ve had some private requests for more food blogging, now that Thanksgiving is nigh upon us and those of you who haven’t ordered or purchased a turkey yet may be S.O.L. if you don’t get to it soon.  But, quite frankly, I’m a little frazzled this year.  I’m laboring away on an essay that’s (at this point) a week overdue, and will need the rest of this week to make it shine. So this is what would probably be on the Thanksgiving menu at Chez Historiann this year, if I could get ’em.  (There’s probably a mouldy old box down in some forgotten fallout shelter, don’t’cha’think?  It seems like the kind of fake food that would be as good today as it was on the day it was manufactured.)

Did Don sign off on this?  (H/t to Assistant Professor Andy for the funny link, and to Fratguy for the funny line.)  Isn’t it interesting to see what became a children’s novelty processed food marketed to mothers as though it were a perfectly nutritious thing?  (Actually, when you look at the box, it’s not far from the way that energy bars are marketed today.)  Back in the day, mothers used to tell their children what they’d eat, not the other way around, which is why advertising aimed at children now emphasizes the pleasure, the coolness, and even the rebellion of consuming a particular food item. 

As for Thanksgiving:  fortunately, Fratguy and a family friend have volunteered to have a dual turkey grill- and smoke-off in the backyard and other friends are doing the veggies and other sides, so all I have to do is produce a few pies, a pan of dressing, and a whack of cranberry sauce.  So here’s your 2010 Thanksgiving recipe for cranberry sauce:  combine  1 pkg. cranberries, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 or 10 minutes, set aside to cool, and there you go.  Straight off the back of the cranberry bag, friends!  Add 1 cup of toasted broken walnuts before serving, if you’re feeling elegant.

If some of you are looking for inspiration, or just want to enjoy some edible ghosts of Thanksgivings past, here’s a roundup of some of my Thanksgiving posts (with recipes!) from 2008 and 2009:

30 thoughts on “Thanksgiving roundup: greatest hits edition

  1. We are freeing ourselves from the turkey/chicken this year! It’s too much meat (which my partner and I do not enjoy particularly) and too much hassle. My parents are horrified, but they’re our hapless guests and can’t do much about it. We’d like to preserve some of the traditional side dishes for my parents’ sake, and we’re getting an awesome box of local root veggies, so we need something that can go with stuffing/potatoes, etc. Anyway, after perusing the archives here, I think we’ll try Notorious’s squash lasagna! Sounds great! Maybe if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll pull out the pasta maker we got for a wedding gift that’s been collecting dust for the past five years.

    Am I the only meat-eating person in the US who doesn’t like turkey?


  2. I thought you were vegetarians, Perpetua. The squash lasagna does sound good. You could also purchase a turkey breast and roast it, so your parents can have a bite of turkey and then turkey sandwiches/potpie/soup later.

    I am a meat-eater, and I love turkey. I especially love turkey leftovers. Two turkeys for 7 people is just about right, IMHO.


  3. p.s. In Philadelphia’s Italian neighborhoods, it used to be common practice for families to take their turkeys to the local bakeries and pay the bakeries to roast their turkeys, because of course they needed their ovens for the lasagnas!

    Maybe that still happens–I don’t know. South Philly kind of became South Yuppieland in the years since I blew out of town.


  4. Thanks, Historiann! The list should be able to take it from there. A feature like this ought to be listener-supported in any case. Good luck with that essay, and hopefully it will win a prize. South Philly has come way uptown lately, at least by the look, smell, and feel of the awe-thentick neighborhood Center City deli and catering joint that I just came back from. Don’t know if they’ll roast your bird, though.


  5. This year I’m making my cranberry sauce with cherries that have been soaking in bourbon. Whole cloves and cinnamon to simmer in the bourbon syrup for a while.


  6. Historiann, we’re about 90% vegetarian. We eat meat, but not that often and rarely at home. It would be very challenging for me to live in the cities where I do research if I didn’t eat any meat! Sort of like the poor vegetarians in college in Ye Olden Days who had to eat cereal at every meal.

    My partner isn’t American so he’s not into T’giving, which is fine for me. We mostly do it for my parents. The only reason my parents agree to our impoverished take on the big meal is because we have the grandchildren!


  7. Occasional reader (I usually click on the Tenured Radical’s link to this page), replying for the first time to give a thumbs up on your cranberry recipe (except for the part about walnuts).

    That’s cranberry sauce the way God intended it.

    I am capable of enjoying the cranberry compotes and salads that people put together with orange peel and raisins and brandy and whatnot, but I never feel like I’ve had my Thanksgiving cranberry sauce until I’ve partaken of precisely the dish you describe. Thank you for spreading the word!


  8. Whoo! I forget which of my cookbooks I dug that recipe out of, but I’m glad that other people are giving it a try. Don’t forget to check out my “afterthoughts” at the end of the recipe, which say what I’d do differently. And give yourself a few hours with this one: put on an audiobook, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage, and chill out in the kitchen for a while.

    And drop me a line and let me know how it goes!

    Hmmm… Maybe I’ll post another recipe.


  9. Thanksgiving in our house is all about the turkey and roasted root vegetables with olive oil, rosemary and sea salt. We usually do red and yellow or sunburst beets, carrots, brussel sprouts and parsnips. It’s easy and they look mighty pretty arranged on a serving platter. Plus yum. Turkey is usually bought from the farmers market and roasted in the convection oven. But it’s mostly about the leftovers. Also, cheeses and pates bought from Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop. They have a great veggie terrinne.

    But the real question is what time do you eat? Growing up we often wouldn’t sit down until 8 pm or so, after eating appetizers for 3 hours or more, although I’ve moved that to 6 since I had little kids. My brothers’ in-laws used to eat at noon. Ugh.


  10. So, I’m in the market for a stuffing recipe. If I’m lazy (possible) I’ll just gussy up the stuff in the bag, but I’m interested in something with rice or bulgur or some such. The other night I did a lovely baked stuffed pumpkin with a spinach-rice filling.
    Otherwise, I’m planning on Dr. Crazy’s brussels sprouts, roasted string beans, and some kind of dessert… apple pie? Apple cranberry crisp? We’ll see. Some time between now and Wednesday I must make up my mind. But also read another 100 job applications, and grade a pile of papers.


  11. I’ve a small convection oven and a husband who, when asked about a Thanksgiving main dish, suggested fish. So we’re having salmon. Easy and delicious. Still figuring out the sides. Western Dave, the roasted root vegetables sound fabulous.


  12. Two sons will be in, the third is at the in-laws. Two grandsons will present at the DC center. One son does the smoked turkey and stuffing. The other does pies plus. I do the cranberry chutney, kale pie and several salads. We will have some Chinese food from the other in laws. The atmosphere is always great and I just ignore the X and my wife and the X exchange pleasantries. We give thanks; we all have jobs and all are healthy.


  13. Thanksgiving this year will be very strange as we are to eat at my sister’s house for the 1st time in 34 years. It will be a Kroger (boxed dinner) Turkey dinner. I will be contributing Waldorf Salad (leave the turkey, keep the salad!) Never been a big one for turkey or pumpkin pie. I usually make a pumpkin pecan pie when I do the holiday chores. Don’t really care for turkey leftovers. Had a neighbor once who bought the biggest bird she could and then made leftovers for weeks. UGH!


  14. As a starving student, I don’t usually do much for Thanksgiving. (Here in Japan it’s Labor Thanksgiving today, which is a little different -but nice because we get the day off classes and it also happens to be my birthday.) I remember though that my mom puts pulpy bits of oranges in her cranberry sauce and I really like it that way. We’re vegetarians, so she has to be innovative with the main dish too. When I was still living with her she used to make spanakopita (spinach pie) for the main dish, but she told me this year she’s making stuffed shells with tomato sauce and pesto, which I happen to know are delicious because she did them for her wedding celebration this past summer as well (yes, she cooked for her own wedding!)


  15. I’m going over the river and thru the woods this year, so I’m eying the frayed, yellowing, newspaper clippings of desert recipes taped to the inside doors of my cabinets, but also the silvery “Suburbanette” oven that I’ve never quite mastered. So I’m also thinking about… that strange farmers market that stays open well into the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, near where Fortune Teller Creek crosses under the Pa. Turnpike, with all manner of late fall country abundance for the harried traveler and last minute dinner guest.

    Still, I wish I could fetch up in Potterville and have a look at what Fratguy and friends bring in from the backyard grill. But that would require leaving here in, say, about ten minutes from now, which just isn’t going to happen, alas.


  16. Thank you for the squash lasagna recipe and stimulating discussion! Our yurt is kosher vegetarian, so it’s always great to get new ideas. I like the margarita thought, too.


  17. When I was in grad school, there was one couple who regularly hosted a Thanksgiving potluck. They were vegetarian (as were probably at least half of the rest of us), so out of deference, and without talking about it, we all usually brought non-meat dishes. It ain’t about the turkey…those were some of the best Thanksgiving celebrations I’ve attended, before or since.

    Stuffed peppers make a nice main dish.


  18. Well, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    I’m just back from my local supermarket, which was mobbed yet again–third time in 10 days. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it this crowded. Does this mean that people just don’t cook much any more except on holidays? I wonder. . .


  19. I’ve been looking through baking recipes & am getting very excited about this part of the holiday. I love to do my own breads. I think I’ll try a chocolate babka (w/ a brioche dough), banana cupcakes, and a cheddar bread. I’m dreading the trip to the grocery store though!

    Enjoy your turkey, H’ann!


  20. Our farmer’s market was bustling this past Saturday. The pace slows down a bit as we move into fall but for this one weekend, it picks back up. With the arrival of chilly nights, the kale and brussels sprouts are a whole new level of wonderful.


  21. My local supermarket was crowded on MONDAY night. I dread tomorrow morning, but I’ve been very disorganized/laid back.
    The menu will feature Historiann’s stuffing, and Dr. Crazy’s brussels sprouts.

    I’ll also make my sculpture bread.


  22. “Sculpture bread” sounds complicated! I’m just trying to gear up for the baking of the pies this afternoon. Good luck with the supermarket today, Susan. I’d say do it really early or really really late.

    I should do a post on holiday cocktails to help the cooking and the family “togetherness” go more smoothly. . .


  23. Pingback: It’s a Cold (War) Christmas : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present

  24. I am purchasing a house that has a Suburbonette oven. It looks as if it has never been used, its cleaner than my oven. Does anyone know anything about this oven?? The entire kitchen looks as if it has been kept in a time capsule waiting for me. I am a die hard foodie and cook. I can’t wait to get my hands on this oven!!


  25. Pingback: It’s a Cold (War) Christmas | Historiann

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