Thanksgiving is upon us, and it feels as though time is both speeding up and slowing down as the day approaches. It’s like every great holiday (or birthday), when childish excitement drags moments to a crawl but also blurs them to nothing. As you all have guessed by now, I am super amped. Like, inexplicably ready to get my thankful feast on, nap, roll over and do it again. I have been preparing for the moment too, alternating between stuffing my face randomly to stretch my belly, and forcing a few more agonizing minutes at the gym (counter productive, I know).
Also, I have been studying all my favorite food outlets, drooling over pictures, taking in trends, and tasting recipes in my dreams. This too has been counter productive, because my family’s Thanksgiving menu is immutable, resistant and impervious to change. Not because we don’t want to try something new, but there is the fear that it would ruin the perfection that we have maintained for many years. On top of it all, what could we possibly cut out to allow table space for a new imposter? That might be the most difficult decision, like ever. So we refuse to make it.
But what about theeeese options....
You know, just cruising through some of the usual blogs and such, upholding my perpetual hunger, and on Refinery29, a fashion, beauty, lifestyle, everything site, I run into two delicious and time friendly recipes from Food52. One is Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage, including caramelized cabbage, ginger and cream, the other Caramelized Butternut Squash Wedges With a Sage Hazelnut Pesto, with a hazelnut ricotta salata pesto that I can’t really eat but sure want to. These two decadent veggie friendly sides would add nice sweet savory elements to our Thanksgiving fest.
And how about The Tart Tart’s Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Juniper Berries, a mix of good for you things (both Brussels and bacon) and a classic with a twist. Excuse me, but what is not to love about salty bacon with bitter Brussels and a little bit of heat?
We have always stuck to sweet sweet potato casseroles drowned with rum and topped with browned marshmallows for our Thanksgiving, but something deep down inside makes me darkly curious about these Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Ginger from Food & Wine. Maybe it is the tropical unsweetened coconut or the spicy ginger, or just another, more savory take on smooth pureed sweet potatoes.
I have never really known any kind of stuffing other than the tried and true spicy corn bread stuffing that emeninates butter and good times (or Stove Top in desperation), so this Prune and Sausage Stuffing from Martha Stewart Living (But I found on The Bitten Word) is quite alluring. White country bread, fatty sausage, sweet prunes and earthy kale, just yum.
And then there is dessert, the category which sees the most shift in my family, from the pumpkin pudding experiments of childhood, to the Minimalist’s Sweet Potato Pie with a coconut graham cracker crust, to faithful standbys like moist pound cake and the super sweet classic pecan pie.
Might I suggest either these Maple Syrup Dumplings or (and) Carrot Rice Pudding from Saveur? I mean, really, maple syrup dumplings—buttery, doughy bits swimming in a sweet and distinct maple syrup sauce, puhlease. I already can predict that the carrot rice pudding will not make an appearance at our Thanksgiving sweets buffet because certain members of my family have a strong aversion to
but I am totally down for spicy sweet.
I am dying to try Joy The Baker’s Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie!!! I repeat, dying! This is the combination daydreams are made of. Enough said.
You know what I propose? Two Thanksgivings (yeah, I said it, but you all were thinking it)—one with all of our family’s traditional and typical dishes, and another that includes all the delectable treats I have been secretly longing for. What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? Is it oldies but goodies or a merry-go-round of newbies?