Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving cooking monster

Like millions of people (mostly women) across the country, this week I turned into a Cooking Monster. I long ago learned the wisdom of doing most of the cooking for Thanksgiving the day before, leaving me unstressed on Thanksgiving Day itself.

So on Wednesday, I cooked.

I started out with wild rice stuffing.

...and bread stuffing.

Lydia was, of course, very attentive during this process.

For dinner rolls, I used a recipe from our neighbor Enola Gay's The Prepared Family Cookbook:

Called "Angel Biscuits," they're a light but flat dinner roll. Very good.

I made two blueberry pies and one pumpkin pie:

And, as usual, I made a huge mess.

By the time everything was cleaned up Wednesday evening...

...75 percent of our feast was made.

Thanksgiving Day dawned without rain, which is something of a rarity lately. Since snow is expected in the extended forecast, Don decided to take advantage of the weather and cut some firewood.

Then he split...

...while Younger Daughter manhandled the rounds over to him.

Meanwhile I put the turkey on to bake...

...whipped some cream...

...and cleaned the house. We were expecting two sets of neighbors for dinner.

After Don finished splitting the firewood...

...Younger Daughter loaded it in the wheelbarrow and dumped it on the porch, and I stacked it.

She also set the table.

The bird came out about the time our guests started arriving. Don's the expert gravy-maker, so he busied himself with that, as well as carving.

The guests brought so many dishes -- mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and deviled eggs and bottles of wine -- that we couldn't fit it on the table and had to use the counters for a sideboard. What a blessing indeed!

We had just the loveliest dinner and visit.

Afterwards, I put the turkey carcass in a pot of water with a splash of vinegar...

...and I'll can up turkey stock today.

Just a bit of Thanksgiving humor:

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!


  1. Patrice, my Thankgiving was wonderful and sad. My husband of 53 years died Sep. 25 and this was my first holiday without him. My family and I had a wonderful day together remembering past holidays and the love and happiness shared. Remember all of the wonderful and loving times spent with family because those are the memories that will sustain you when loved ones are no longer physically there with you. There are so many memories and happiness in the holidays from years past. These shared times are the most precious gifts we can give to one another.

    1. Holy cow, I can't even begin to say how sorry I am for your loss. Your happy memories of him, as well as the loving family with whom you can surround yourself, are treasured gifts. God keep you during your time of mourning.

      - Patrice

  2. Truly a blessed day! When canning turkey broth, how long and how much pressure does it take?

    1. Since my broth has bits of meat in it even after straining, I pressure-can it for 75 minutes (pints) at 13 lbs (which is adjusted for our elevation). If you canned the broth in quarts, it would take 90 minutes.

      - Patrice

    2. I saw you added vinegar to the pot when you were making the broth. What is its purpose?

    3. The vinegar serves to draw nutrients out of the chicken bones, making for a more nutritious broth. And I can thank RR readers for letting me know that. (smile)

      - Patrice

  3. A blessed thanksgiving to you as well. This year we have been blessed beyond belief. I too have learned to prep everything before hand. Green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and pies. Day of it's just turkey, stuffing, rolls and mashed potatoes (love love my instant pot!). Well we had it all on Friday because we went to my family for the day of, but they just don't do it the same. No actual thanks to God, but only food and conversation. We still pray but it's sad imo. So Friday we invited people over who are lonely and have no family in the area. It was a huge blessing and we will continue the tradition!

  4. I am very impressed with your organization! I think next year I will do more baking the day before instead of getting up extra early. Your home looks so inviting.... glad you had a blessed day. Amy

  5. WOW!! Can I come live with you? I'll even split fire wood.