Well, I truly thought the hardest part of Thanksgiving would be cooking my turkey. Turns out, that was easy. Dealing with an exploding toilet at 11 p.m. with only one bathroom and ten people in the house, a near-criminal 24-hour plumbing bill, and fighting with my husband in front of his family all proved to be much more difficult than any cooking challenge. Yes, I turned into my mother, but I suspect I was much worse than my mother as I also had some personal stuff going on as well. All in all it made for a rough holiday for me and one that I wish I could redo.
But back to the food. The hardest part of preparing dinner was trying to keep the food warm for everyone (particularly when your husband spends the entire visit playing video games in the basement until you have to pull him aside to plead for help)! But luckily my in-laws are very gracious and easy to please when it comes to entertaining. Some of my favorites including some things I did not make like Strawberry Pretzel Salad and cole slaw from my mother in law. As for my dishes, I think the string bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes all turned out quite well.
The good news is that I finally had the confidence to buy my first full chicken for a lovely roasted chicken dinner that I plan on making sometime this week (will blog about that later)…Once you’ve cooked a turkey, a small chicken seems rather easy. Or we shall see…
For years, I’ve mocked my mother for the insanity that ensues when she preps for Thanksgiving dinner. I would officially like to say I am sorry Mom! Karma has caught up with me as I just found out that I am hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people. And my mom will not be here to help me!
You may be wondering how such a small apartment and kitchen could hold such a group. Well that is the other big news. Not My Mother’s Kitchen has moved to the suburbs after nearly five years of urban living. Yes, the kitchen is bigger. But it is also in two rooms (don’t ask) so this should be interesting. The cook in me is delighted with this Thanksgiving challenge. The neurotic in me is in full panic mode. I may like to cook, but I am: 1.) a control freak and 2.) a perfectionist so I want things to go well. Actually, I prefer that things go so well that people talk about this dinner for years to come. In the end, I’ll probably settle for no one getting sick, no fights, and no nervous breakdown.
Today, I took to the internet to find some tips for hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner and cooking your first turkey (yes, I’ve never cooked a turkey before). But the first thing I discovered was the importance of a good Thanksgiving cocktail. So please enjoy the benefits of my research…
Cranberry Old Fashioned
Survival Tips: Hosting Your First Thanksgiving
How to Host Your First Thanksgiving
A Bonus Recipe
For my Ryan who loves brussels sprouts…
Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin (adapted from Alice Waters)
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and stems trimmed
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the brussels sprouts in the water for 10 minutes, then drain. Chop them roughly, and transfer to a small casserole or gratin dish. Pour the cream over the brussels sprouts, then the parmesan, then the breadcrumbs, and then a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Dab the dish with pieces of butter, and bake for