Like all smart cooks, I began creating our Thanksgiving feast the day before. Who wants to be so exhausted on Thanksgiving day that she can't enjoy the company?
Our menu was modest: wild rice stuffing, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and cheesecake for dessert. If I got all this done, it meant all I had to make on Thanksgiving day was the turkey (and gravy, but I'm lousy with gravy so Don makes that).
I started with a fresh loaf of bread for the bread stuffing.
This recipe -- straight out of the Better Homes & Gardens red-checked cookbook -- is easy-peasy to make and just takes ten minutes (not counting cooking).
Lihn, Younger Daughter's Quaker parrot, got a piece of bread for a treat.
For the mashed potatoes, I decided to peel and cut up the potatoes (from our garden, of course) and just put them in water until the next day. Just one less step I'd have to worry about on Thanksgiving.
Kneading dough for the dinner rolls.
Out of the oven.
Don sharpened all our knives. True story: Many years ago, we had our pastor -- a kindly and wonderful man -- join us for Thanksgiving dinner. He graciously offered to carve the turkey, so Don handed him a knife. It was dull. He handed him another knife. Also dull. A third knife. Dull. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. We laugh about it now, but it was pretty embarrassing at the time. So it's become something of a tradition on Thanksgiving to clean out the knife drawer and sharpen every blade. Y'know, just in case.
Tally for the day: two cheesecakes (still unbaked), dinner rolls, wild rice stuffing, bread stuffing, and cut-up potatoes in water.
Just before bed, the cheesecakes came out of the oven.
As a result of Wednesday's efforts, Thanksgiving day was calm and relaxed. I put the turkey in around noon. Older Daughter called from New Jersey. We made sure barn chores were done early. We leisurely cleaned the house and set the table.
Our only guests were our friends Mike and Judy, who came bearing a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, a (large!) bottle of wine, and a vegetable.
The only hiccup was the potatoes. I had put them (in water) in our "outdoor refrigerator" for the night (the top of the chest freezer on the front porch), forgetting it had dropped to 12F overnight. The result? Frozen potatoes. No worries, a quick rinse in hot water melted the ice, after which I plopped them in fresh water and boiled them into mashed potatoes.
The turkey, fresh out of the oven, on the beautiful maple carving board Don made me several years ago.
This is the last photo from our Thanksgiving feast because, quite honestly, we were having such an enjoyable time vising with our guests that I totally forgot the camera (doubtless to everyone's relief).
So I'll close with a humorous meme that's been making its way around the internet:
Above all, we remember this as a holiday expressly for the purpose of giving thanks to God for His glorious bounty. We cherish not just the food, warmth, and shelter He's provided, but the bounty of our friends and family as well -- which is why an essay entitled Why Thanksgiving is Inescapably Theological, sent by reader Rob, is extremely apropos.
A blessed (post) Thanksgiving to everyone!