A heaping helping of beautiful holiday

November 27, 2013 10:03 am

Ah, Thanksgiving. That beautiful holiday centered around roasting a large bird and eating more calories than one typically needs in an entire week.

For many years I co-hosted Thanksgiving dinner with roommates and later with my brother. I started preparing the weekend before, baking cornbread for the stuffing, loaded with roasted onions and peppers. I made chicken broth for the stuffing, and the cranberry sauce.

Wednesday evening I made the pies. Thursday morning I made the stuffing, stuffed it in the bird’s cavity, made the crescent roll dough and washed dishes until about 2 p.m. When the bird came out, there was gravy to make and rolls to bake. By the time dinner was served I had lost all interest in eating.

After a couple years my brother offered to roast the turkey, leaving me with less work to do — just the stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies and the rolls. The first year he made this magnanimous offer, he took off for a road race. Lacking the math skills of 20 minutes per pound times 20 pounds ... I was stuck roasting the bird so we could eat before midnight.

The following year he did the same thing, but this time I was prepared. At least he went to the trouble of going to the store and purchasing the turkey. 

Thanksgiving became a family effort. My sister-in-law is amazing at what I lack — decorations. I can scrounge up a table cloth and some napkins, but RJ has a way of transforming a room into holiday splendor. Her sister-in-law and brother took on the task of hosting the feast at their home, alleviating me from having to stay awake until the guests left.

Now more than a thousand miles from each other, my brother and sister-in-law host the Feast of the Unloved — 28 orphans will gather at their Craftsman-style bungalow in Denver and I usually dine on fabulous dishes with friends in Lostine.

This year my usual host is recovering from surgery in another state. When I got the news, I went to The Dollar Stretcher in Enterprise and was lucky enough to find not only a sub 12 pound turkey, but one that wasn’t frozen. I took my booty home with me and went out later to shop for cranberry/pear sauce ingredients and the necessary items for stuffing and broth. I spent Sunday night in my happy place, somewhere between the stove and the butcher block, making a mess of the kitchen — chopping, mixing and splashing water all over as I washed up the dishes.

The rest is left to my scout who used a salt rub for the bird and found the most elaborate pie recipe ever created — pumpkin brulee in a chocolate crust.

With all the prep work done I think I’ll go out tomorrow with my camera and a dog and enjoy yet another spectacular November day while working up an appetite for copious amounts of pro football, turkey and pie.