But the queen of alt-Valentine was definitely my sister Brenda.
Thanksgiving. From ‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ to hot cider, and turkey with all the trimmings to pumpkin pie, this is a holiday steeped in tradition. Pilgrims, Indians, Plymouth Rock…Thanksgiving is no place for innovation. Or is it?
I actually prefer ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ to ‘Over the River’. Although I’m fine with pumpkin pie, part of my family is not. Another part won’t eat pie, period. And turkey-well, we’ve had years of diminishing returns over the turkey. People stopped eating the dark meat, so we tried stuffed turkey breasts, which were dry. The stuffing became a problem. Could I make it without sausage? Without mushrooms? Without bread?
I could, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to make a delicious meal that-while not a traditional turkey feast-all the people at my table will want to eat. We’re starting with some creamy cauliflower soup, then chestnut tagliatelle with porcini mushroom ragu, a recipe from Melissa Muller of Sicily’s Feudo Montoni. We’ll have tons of interesting vegetable sides, but instead of turkey, how about salmon baked in a pastry crust with wild rice and a lemony sauce? For desert, we’re thinking about grapefruit sorbet and some decadently rich dark chocolate.
We’re not dispensing with all tradition. We’ll have plenty of great wine. We’ll spend the day with people we love, including my daughter, visiting from LA. And I’ll get turkey after all, because I’m dispatching the daughter to Fellini’s Pizzeria in Providence for some Thanksgiving Pizza, topped with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberries. It’s excellent-stop by the store just after noon on Wednesday, and we *might* even share.
Are there any Thanksgiving rules you’d like to break? Go ahead-we’re giving you permission. Nobody eats the sweet potato casserole? Don’t make it. Mealtime’s getting in the way of the best football game? Eat later. Or earlier. Or set up a grand buffet. And while we recommend Pinot Noir or Zinfandel, Riesling or Gewurztraminer with the holiday feast, they’re certainly not mandatory. You should drink what you enjoy.
The only part of Thanksgiving that’s truly mandatory is this: relax, unwind, and enjoy the people you love. Then take a moment to be grateful for the richness of your life.
Wishing you all the very happiest of holidays.