Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving (a little late)

I realize that it has been a couple of weeks since Thanksgiving, but due to the end of the semester and work piling up, I haven't had a lot of time to write. However, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so it really deserves a spot on here.
My parents started hosting Thanksgiving at our house more than 20 years ago when they moved to Woodbury and I was just a wee thing. Ever since then, it has only grown and just about anyone is welcome. In the past, we have had family, friends, (ex) significant others and a few random people who came along. It is inevitably chaotic, loud, messy, and delicious, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Since much of my family is based in Minnesota, a small year means around 30 people for dinner, and if my mom's side can come, there are about 60 of us. It sounds a little crazy, and it is never very calm, but it means that I get to see people who I haven't seen in a while and of course, there is the food.
My parents are always in charge of the turkey and the dressing. This year, they bought two organic free range turkeys from a nearby farm, and I have to say it was definitely worth it. It wasn't at all dry, and the skin was crispy and salty and delicious. The dressing is a classic, the same one my mom makes every year. I used to hate it when I was little, but now it is one of my favorite parts of the meal, especially on leftover sandwiches. It is pretty simple, just croutons, carrots, and celery and some spices, but it makes a perfect compliment to the turkey. This year she also made maple cranberries, which were fantastic. Instead of the typical jellied cranberries, these were sweetened just enough and tasted more like candy than fruit.
The rest of the meal consisted of dishes that all of the guests brought. This was a small year, only around 25, so there wasn't as much (but still a ton of leftovers). My favorites were an amazing corn pudding that tasted almost like a frittata, and a green salad with tofu with a really great dressing. Of course, the Minnesota classic of baked green beans with cream of mushroom soup, topped with fried onion bits also made an appearance. I know it sounds a little odd, but beleive me, it is wonderful. The meal finished with five different kinds of pie, which I only ate a few bites of because after two plates of food, I was about to burst. I actually tried to lay on my stomach, but it hurt too much. However, it was, as always, worth it, and this Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as the last.
There is never exactly the same group of people at our house, but every year there is always enough food for everyone, the kids are still running around outside, and the kitchen is always way too crowded. This is probably my favorite tradition, and I am really glad that it has continued for so long. Of course, the turkey sandwhiches the next day don't hurt either.

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