Friday, November 28, 2014

Another Thanksgiving holiday came and gone. At first I was pretty set on not cooking a whole big dinner since the dining crowd on my lot is quite meager, but when the night was approaching and the sizzle of holiday cheer started to boil over,  it just felt like I would miss out if I didn't cook myself a once a year turkey meal.  I wasn't able to find those all in one package precooked dinners, but Costco had some of the packaged items and I just had to cook the turkey. It was such a chaotic experience shopping for food on Thanksgiving eve, it felt like millions of shoppers with their giant shopping carts was flooding towards me, there was shopping cart jam in every aisle, making it out of there with food loaded in my car was quite a triumphant feat!

Since I came to the States as a teenager, I had no idea what Thanksgiving holiday was all about, my family never celebrated any American holidays and there's no day off from work for a Chinese holiday, so I never celebrated holidays of any sorts with my family at all.  Later in college I lived with a landlady in a hundred year old Spanish mansion, it was a cold large house filled with dark and gloomy antique furnitures. We often gathered in the kitchen late at night telling each other haunted stories over a cup of tea for fun. She was a struggling piano teacher trying to make ends meet to support herself and her house after her husband had left, non the less she always pulled out beautiful heirloom china from the cabinet and prepared a full on dinner with a few family and friends on holidays.  On one occasion out of having no place to go I went to a half empty theatre on a very empty stomach because it was one of the only places open during Thanksgiving, when I went back to my rental place their dinner was still going on, she was surprised to see me and insisted from then that I dine with her on holidays. It was such a heart warming experience and every now and then I still think about it.  

Now I was quite stupid for the first few years when I started cooking my own Thanksgiving meals. I insisted on cooking every dish from scratch, it not only cost an arm and leg to shop for all the ingredients but the cooking in itself took forever. Gradually I learned a few tricks and started to have a little bit of a system. Cranking out holiday meals became a bit less of a hassle as each year went by.  This year for instance, I picked an easy recipe and stuffed the bird in the oven the night before and had it cooking over night, albeit I overslept by a couple hours, it still turned out quite juicy and delicious.  I skipped aromatic ingredients such as onions so that my puppies could share the huge turkey with me.  I bought packaged gravy, sweet potato and mashed potato from Costco's and they were absolutely delicious, and I froze half of everything for next month's Christmas meal. For homemade dishes I made cornmeal stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce from scratch. That was still quite a bit of cooking, but these are simple dishes I've done a few times before. These homemade dishes are so easy and delicious, there's really no need to buy them. 

So there goes the final product! Another delicious meal accounted for during this year's Thanksgiving, at my very own small but beautiful house with my wonderful puppies, now that's something to be thankful about!

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