Monday, November 28, 2011

T-Day +2

We had Thanksgiving two days ago (I realize Thanksgiving was actually four days ago, but for me it happened on Saturday) and it was one of the most successful holiday dinners in a long time.
This was primarily due to my having finally discovered that the best way to keep the meal from being a disappointment is to lower my expectations.  Golden-brown turkey with all the trimmings?  Real giblet gravy?  Homemade rolls?  That weird but tasty concoction your aunt makes out of mini-marshmallows, Reddi-Wip, shredded coconut and canned fruit salad?  Ain’t gonna happen.  So each year I pull out the gravy granules, buy a turkey roll and some stuffing in a box and do the best I can.  Occasionally, I mange to import a few things from home to make the holiday just a bit more special, and this year I managed four.
Creamed Corn:
I never thought the idea of creamed corn was strange—it was just always there on the table at Thanksgiving—until I tired explaining it to people over here.  Why take perfectly good corn and cream it?  I can’t answer that; we just do.  I think we probably began creaming corn simply as an opportunity to add sugar to it.  Sweet corn might be sweet, but nature can always be improved upon by adding a cup or three of sugar.

Corn, water, sugar and a blender: creamed corn
It really is quite tasty, even if it does look as if someone already ate it.

It tastes better than it looks, honest.
Cranberry Sauce:
This is the first year since moving to Britain that I have had real cranberry sauce, the kind that squidges out of a can with a vaguely obscene sound and lands with a plop on the plate.  Oddly, the more up-scale the cranberry sauce, the harder it is for me to accept it at the Thanksgiving Day table.
The expensive jars of connoisseur-grade sauce in Marks and Spencer or Waitrose, and even the bargain jars found in Tesco cannot compare to the translucent purple cylinder, ribbed with the markings from the can and tasting like the inside of a drainpipe.

Notice the ribbed marking; they are the sign of true quality.
Nothing brings home the memories of long ago Thanksgiving meals like the taste of tin.
Pumpkin Pie:
The ingredients for this can be found in many local grocery stores, it’s just that, over here, they tend to make soup out of it.  God’s intent, however, was that you make pie.
Of the items listed so far, this is the most readily available, and I have one every year my wife feels like making one.

You can see how many pies we bake--this was made in a cake tin.
And the last, but certainly not least, item that made this Thanksgiving special:
Thanksgiving is all about leftovers: turkey dinners, turkey lunches, turkey soup, turkey salad sandwiches.  It generally lasts until Christmas rolls around and you cook up the next turkey so that, by the time New Year comes and goes, you are so sick of turkey you never want to see one again.  Or until next November, at least.

Ready for T-Day II
I had more leftovers this year than usual; enough for T-Day dinner II, a nice stuffing, mashed potato and biscuits with gravy lunch and—what I am looking most forward to—a turkey, bacon, stuffing and cranberry sandwich to take to lunch tomorrow.
Along with a piece of pumpkin pie, of course.

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