We're hosting our first ever Thanksgiving this year, and friends I think I'm ready... I think. We'll have my family + several dear friends for a total of 11 with the kiddos. I've planned the menu, made the shopping list, ordered the turkey, washed the wine glasses, and yes, even "practiced" the table setting (above) -- sad I know... it's my way, it can't be helped.
I love the Thanksgiving meal in ways words can't even describe. In fact, I might go as far as to say it's my favorite meal. I took this pretty far as a child, when I requested "thanksgiving" for my birthday, which happens to fall a mere week and a half after turkey day. My mother is a good, good woman (or I was a bad, bad kid ;-)
My plan this year is to keep things pretty straightforward. My guests are bringing all the appetizers and desserts (although I am planning one simple appetizer of brie stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and baked...incredibly simple and ridiculously tasty) so we're focused on the core meal. Bryan's on turkey, and my mother, sister and I will turn out the stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries. But to mix things up a bit, I'm going to start with the Alice Waters carrot soup and serve the celery, pecorino "salad" as a side.
I love the ritual of being in the kitchen, cooking together, with the parade on the background. Audrey and I have been talking about it for weeks and I'm so excited to share the experience with her...although she did inform me a few nights ago (while eating chicken for dinner I might add) that she wouldn't be eating the turkey, as it's just too, too sad. I didn't point out the feelings of the chicken she was currently consuming as I'm not ready yet to deal with a full-blown vegetarian.
So, what traditions do you have for the big meal? Do you cook anything special or unusual or just stick to the basics?