Thanksgiving was a little disappointing this year. It was a lot easier but disappointing. We had reserved our turkey back in September, so we didn’t want to get too far away from a typical Thanksgiving, but we couldn’t have things like bacon-wrapped jalapenos, sage sausage stuffing, or pecan pie, so everything we made was a sad version of what we’d normally have. In the early part of the year, when we switched back to healthy foods and smaller portions, we decided Thanksgiving and Christmas would be treated the same as always, but now, ten months or so later, unhealthy things don’t come across as treats when you don’t want them. So we had smoked turkey, cranberry-apple-pecan wild rice pilaf, mashed parsnips, roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and onions), and a tweaked version of my molasses pumpkin spice bread, this time made with cranberries and ginger & orange marmalade. Everything was okay, but in that “this toast is pretty good, but it would be even better with butter” kind of way.
So now that Christmas is approaching, it’s time to plan the menu. Just after we reserved the Thanksgiving turkey, we decided Christmas would be strange. I won’t eat mammals anymore, or as Brian says, “things with fur,” so our traditional tenderloin is a no-go. Instead, we’re going with dishes from all over the world. We’re going to stay more traditional with the style of meal, meaning we’re not going to have seven entrees and no sides. Rather, we’ll have, for example, a main from Denmark, a side from India, another side from Greece, one from the Philippines, a bread from Wales, a dessert from Russia, etc. Of course, the challenge is somehow making these dishes as authentic as possible while keeping them healthy.
Note: The turkey in this picture was from Thanksgiving 2012. It was grilled, not smoked, over a pan of water in our old kettle grill.
Autumn In New York
by Billie Holiday