Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving? Stick to Yer Guns!

'Don't Mess with Texas!' read the successful bumper sticker campaign to clean up litter in the Lone Star state.

Same goes for traditions around the Holidays. Ya start messing with things around the Holidays and someone's gonna get Western on ya; a little bit of justice meted out by an angry mob.
So, when Lisa had a conversation earlier this week with her kitchen staff and one mentioned her reluctance to attend a family get-together, all had their guesses as to why.

'Are they bad cooks?'
'Still having issues with his mom?'
'Do they have a dog that buries his muzzle where it doesn't belong, 'cuz I HATE that!?'

'No, my sister-in-law decided she was going to put cumin in the mashed potatoes, fer gosh sakes!'

'What the...?!'
'Get OUT!'

"Yeah, she decided she wanted to do something a little different and she's been on this 'I-just-discovered-a-new-spice' kick. There's cumin everywhere!"

Well, discovery is good, the mom's agreed, but, you just can't change something for the sake of change. Sure, the girls like their hair style and color to fluctuate, and that new diet plan of eating only green leafy veggies on 'T-days', but, certain portions of our lives are not going to evolve.
They are set in stone. They are Holiday traditions.
Like Mom's grape Jello salad ring with grapes and walnuts. Mayonnaise anyone?
Or pie with a crust on top, or green bean casserole.
Could you imagine green bean casserole made without Durkee's French Fried Onions from the can?! Yeaaaa-NOT!
Tonight's Chocolate Mousse has been replaced by Carob flavored Yogurt.
Yay! None of the fat and zero grams of Fun!


And none of the memories, too. Food, family, and creating memories are what the Holidays bring out in us. Traditions make us slow down and think about the past. Funny, even marginal cooking can be stomached when wrapped in a tradition. Why do you think Fruit Cake has survived all these years?!

In this era of instant information, be a gatekeeper to slow stories and simmered sauces. Make your family sit together to talk, laugh and reminisce. Tell a part of family history that no one has heard before. Hold dessert till all have finished eating and the plates have been cleared, scraped, rinsed and stacked by the kids. THEN, they can have dessert.

Oh, and don't let someone's girlfriend bring a vegetable dish; no one will like it and her stock with the family will go south. It'll probably have cumin in it...

Easy Pan Gravy
  • take a stick of butter, melt it in a 4 qt. saucepot then add 1 cup of flour to make a paste; set aside.
  • Remove turkey from roasting pan and set on cutting board.
  • Take roasting pan with all bits and juices, and add 2 cups water.
  • Scrape the pan with a metal spatula or slotted spoon to get every bit of baked on brown stuff off. Place into saucepot with butter/flour paste.
  • Add one cup of cold milk to saucepot and place on medium heat, stirring occasionally to maintain a silky consistency. Bring to a boil for two minutes to cook the flour and reduce to a simmer till service.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in a lump of butter if you like ( a BIG lump!). Add milk if too thick.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving and remember:
"Food, Faith, Family and Friends.
The Best Things in Life Aren't Things!"

Chef bq.

No comments: