Editor’s note: the folks who organized the trip to Normandy (for which I still owe you a couple of posts) were kind enough to put a link to the Feeder on their site for anybody who wanted to see what the heck we did in Normandy.. So, if you’ve landed here for that, and see other stuff (which you are MORE than welcome to read), scroll down the right hand side until you see “Labels” and then scroll some more until you see “Normandy”. Click that, and it will pull up the trip log so to speak.
Okay, about Thanksgiving… Long time readers will remember that I usually do a (IMHO) nice post about Thanksgiving with recommendations on menus, wine, and other stuff. Well, as you are probably painfully aware, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so obviously all your menus are decided, foodstuffs are procured, plans for preparation and timing are in place, guests are invited, décor is figured out, wines are cellared, and so anything I say now will have no effect except to perhaps make you mad. But, I would like to put down a few thoughts about tomorrow, after we take care of a couple items of note locally..
You will remember that a while ago we documented that Golden Corral will again become a choice for diners in the area. Originally it was to reside in the old McDonalds near us across from San Souci Plaza. Some renovations took place, and then the site just sat and sat. Then one day, an armada of heavy equipment arrived and scraped the place clean, did massive earth moving, and they started over. Well, after weeks of seven day construction the place now looks like
Incidentally the inclusion of the phone poles and wires was done intentionally, I think it sort of sets the tone. As does the sign telling you when it will be opening.. kind of.. think it was a goal at one time..
But wait, there's more arrivals
I saw in an on line news service today that our “new” shopping center near routes 235 and 4 will contain a 12 screen movie theater, probably/hopefully sending a death knell to the sticky floored one down in Lexington Park. Be that as it may, it also noted that an Aldi food store will join the crowd in the new center. Since I have not been in one, I am not sure, but I think they are in the lower end of the price spectrum market. One person posted a comment lamenting the inclusion of such a store, saying that it will bring in “trash and criminals” to the Wildewood area and is a blight. The same person also advocated a concealed carry law, I suppose so you can shoot it out with the criminals in the bake goods aisle.
MFO and I went down to the Farmer’s market the other day
(which you can read more about in my (shamelessly self promoting) piece on the Tourism Site) to get stuff for our “Tree Raising” tradition (another story) here at the digs. I just love that place, the people are so nice, they are actual farmers who raise stuff that doesn’t come in a truck. Anyway, I came across a couple of ladies from Whitney Farms with a little spinning wheel.
I got to chatting with her (the real joy of the market) and found out that she was not making traditional yarn
That gray stuff is actually cut up plastic shopping bags that she “spins” into what she calls “plarn”
Not sure of the final use, but definitely was committed to recycling. One of the neat things your find at the market… to market to market
I am going to break tradition because I want to share something with you .. Normally I DO NOT (and will not start) review, comment, describe, or talk about in any way dinners at friends houses, for obvious reasons.. Anyway, we were at a dinner last Monday which included this lovely dish
Do you know what it is? It is a Chartreuse! The Carthusian Monks who gave us the liqueur and more famous color of the same name, also gave us, according to Larousse (pg. 225): “a preparation of vegetables (particularly braised cabbage) and meat or game, moulded into a dome and formed of layers of alternating colors. It is cooked in a bain-marie, turned out and served hot. Careme (left to the reader) considered the chartreuse to be the “queen of entrées”.
So what you see is a gorgeous pattern made exclusively from peppers, carrots, string beans, green onion tops, and then “moulded” with potatoes and layered vegetables including asparagus, brussel sprouts, and so forth. We were all reluctant to have it cut and served, but we were rewarded by a delicious dish courtesy of the Monks (and the hostess). We also had a stuffed pork tenderloin, poached pears, and the meal was crowned by Crepe's Suzette (flambéed of course). Quite a meal.. Thanks to our hostess for the creativity and HOURS that were put into it for our enjoyment..
Gobble Gobble at last
Well, I did a quick pass through the November issue of about nine or ten of my food magazines, ranging from Martha Stewart, Southern Living to Garden and Gun. Most of them had that traditional browned Turkey on the cover, something that none of us can attain without a food stylist at our side, and all proclaimed that they had things like: “95 Ways to Amp up Thanksgiving (including 7 Amazing Turkeys); Thanksgiving 101; 80 Prized Recipes; 25 Ways to Reinvent Thanksgiving (huh?) and so on. One proclaimed that it had “5 Game Changing Turkeys” all resulting in over 200 recipes for Turkeys, sides, veggies, desserts and so on. Each year we get another slew of them. I am not sure what goes into the process—“hey! How about Moroccan spiced shaved Brussels sprouts with crystalized almonds! Shut up Alton, we did that two years ago”
Preparations varied from hacking up the bird ( Cooks Illustrated: Julia Child’s Turkey – Updated), to the flipping this side and that, hot oven, cold oven, grilling, and yes, deep frying (along with a string of warnings) , brining, rubbings, marinating, this and that. And as I always work in someplace, you can do what you want to a turkey, the end product is, yes, still a turkey. And to be fair (as I always am..) there are also suggestions for ham, standing rib roasts, lamb, and pork (we’re having a loin – from local WAG meats)
Sides of course can rescue the bland protein, and there are a million recipes.. how about Triple Cheese Curried Cauliflower Gratin? Straight from the pilgrims..
Wines are all over the place, once again driving me to the old DWTHYL theory, if you like a particular wine, drink it for goodness sake. One thing you might consider is Hard Cider. Cider is an extremely hot thing right now. Even corporate giant InBev is pushing a Stella Artois “Cidre”, made with “Hand Picked Apples”. The mind boggles..
Desserts feature pies and I am glad to report that my favorite, Pecan (Pee-can or Puh kaan?) rates high. For their originality I would like to give a little nod to Garden and Gun (nearly my current favorite trendy food and culture publication) whose treatment of Thanksgiving is not give another list of over the top, game changing, next level, best ever recipes, but to provide ( with beautiful food photographs) where you can order your breads (North Carolina’s La Farm Bakery), Cider (Texas’s Argus Cidery’s Sparkling), Nuts (Georgia’s Schermer Pecans private stock of Ellicot pecans); Turkey (Texas’s Greenberg spiced hickory smoked); Ham (North Carolina’s A. B. Vannoy slow cured country), Cheese (Greendale Farms in Georgia) Pies (Mom’s Apple Pie Company in Virginia) and finished off with Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon. Admittedly these were in their October/November Issue, not cheap, but really darn easy.
And just to keep my curmudgeon badge shiny, more and more of these publications try to drive you to their web site… “for more recipes, go to….. dot com”; “to see a video of how to boil water, go to ….. dot com”; “other serving suggestions can be seen at …. dot com”, the beginning of the end of print????
And before you go, I have to remind you that it is not the food that is the objective, it is the gathering of your family, loved ones, friends, and people that mean something to you. Whether here or far from home doing things that keep us safe, or those that have gone before are here in spirit and memory. Raise that glass... THAT is the meaning of special days. Food of course can make it so enjoyable, but the love that is shared is more important.
It isn’t the drumstick that is important it is who is holding it…
Bon Appétit, and don’t you forget to