Betsey Do

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I want to be a nerd more than ever now.
And eat toothpaste for dinner.

So thanksgiving.
This was a "first" thanksgiving for Mark and me. We cooked our first dinner. Roasted our first turkey, made our first stuffing. bourboned our first yam. Busted our first under sink pipes from abusing the garbage disposal. Robin made her first pie crust from scratch (and the pie too). Tyler set his first table (2 coffee cups, both piled two plates and a bowl - wonderfully consistent at each setting). First sit-down good conversation with Luke.

I began listening to Brenda Dayne's Cast-On just last week (yes, my head has been under a legal-study, yoga escaping, backtrack to GED attainment, ROCK). Listening to Episode 1.5 "Snow Day" the day before Thanksgiving left me with a warm fuzzy magic all through the waking up Thanksgiving morning, to the setting of the meal at the table:

"One of the things I miss most about the Thanksgiving holiday in the US is the unified hush that seems to come over the entire country. I love the quiet stillness of it, first thing in the morning, when you notice the absence of early traffic sounds. Lights come on in the neighbor's houses, and you know they're making coffee, and wondering what time they should think about getting the bird into the oven. Or they're grabbing a quick breakfast, packing the kids into the car, and hitting the road for the long drive to . . ."

Wow. the podcast is beautiful to listen to and the transcript is still wonderful to read and save. Her writing is powerful, beautiful and soft.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving has been about huge family dinners at my sister-in-law's Nancy's house, with 30 or so people showing up. Arlo Guthrie's Alices Restaurant usually plays each year, Nancy wraps bacon around water chestnuts and fries them, Johnny cooks at least two turkeys (with more bacon and water chestnuts mixed in the stuffing), Robin gets to play with cousins she rarely sees and misses, and I'm always given the job of making the traditional green bean casserole.

This year there was no green bean casserole. It was fresh green beans, snapped in the kitchen while Robin and I talked about family history. They were steamed and mixed with dried cranberries soaked in butter. Yams were cooked with butter, bourbon and pecans, not Marshmallows. The mashed potatoes were chunky yet smooth, mixed with even more Butter. I am such a Whole Foods/Trader Joes type of girl. Nancy's very much Costco and Vons. I'm a dreamer - cooking slow and low. She's a giver - big and generous all the way.

But this year she just wanted to skip the cooking for 30, and go to her sister-in-law's house instead. We missed each other, the cousins missed each other.

Even though the "little" dinner Mark and I cooked was lovely. Next year Nancy and I decided that we wanted the big Thanksgiving at her house again.

Nancy's After-Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches:

Ingredients listed as they should be layered for one sandwich:

First Slice of soft wheat bread (Supermarket "wheat")
Spread thin layer of mayonnaise
Thinkly sliced sweet pickles (sliced vertically)
Strips of leftover turkey
thin layer of stuffing (but not too thin)
a few slices of black olives (supermarket kind, not specialty olives)
thin layer of cranberry sauce
closing layer of 2nd slice of soft wheat bread.

I tried this for the first time last Sunday; after watching these made every year now since 2001. My niece, Miranda, offered me half when she could only finish the first half.

No, no no no no no no no. Well. Ok.

Well. actually, nice! Really.

The best turkey sandwich I've ever tasted. Has that innovative, simple, really good thing going like the scrambling eggs into top ramen, tuna and peas in our Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Melted Sharp Cheddar on apple pie.

Arthur's variation: use the leftover Pillsbury Grands flaky biscuits instead of
bread and add a thin layer of mashed potatoes.


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