The day before Thanksgiving, one of my favorite days.
Usually, I've spent the morning working an easy shift at a holiday-focused newsroom, sharing stories about food and family with folks like Kerry Gunnels, Rudy Bush, Ryan Rusak or Gromer Jeffers. Usually, talk turns to turkey or bourbon, but it's just another way of talking about where we are from, and who we come from.
When I was a boy, the Wednesday before always meant piling into a station wagon and driving six hours to Canton, Ohio to see my grandparents and my mom's family. Late-night hugs, Benjie the dog barking and snarling, with cookies and ham laid out on the table, me and my big brother walking sleep-filled in pajamas to go to bed.
Later on, it would be parting from friends and missed parties at home, football games, and causing trouble with my Vitale cousins. In college, the Wednesday meant a break from the dorms, time back with an almost forgotten family, my mom's cooking, and usually a sudden realization that the semester is almost finished.
More recently, Thanksgiving has meant friends, as often as not missing Phil, and always good food and drink.
One year in Dallas it was Thanksgiving for two, with a game Amy Kim as her husband had to work. Last year of law school, in between jobs, it was 12 crowded into my apartment, and pie and drinks later for 20.
This year, I am back on a new campus, and it'll be with new friends and old. Randall traveled across the continent from Florida, and brought his boyfriend Yasmany, a talented chef, with him. It occured to me how much easier hosting thanksgiving is with someone's help.
The three of us will be putting on a feast tomorrow for 18, plus two toddlers. The turkey is in the brine, and the catering company just delivered the china and tables, glassware, and white table cloths for the feast.
I'll leave you with our menu, and with the promise of pictures tomorrow.
Shrimp and pumpkin bisque.
Walnut and berry salad, thanks to Adriana.
Roast Turkey (23 lbs, on the Weber grill) and pan gravy.
Baked pineapple-glazed honey ham with parsley and mandarin garnish,
thanks to Yasmany.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with chives and creme fraiche
Oyster dressing (heavy on the oysters)
Southern dressing, or BA explains, "African American style"
Yams or Sweet Potatoes, thanks to Barbara
Mac and Cheese, Barbara Allen Fresh bakery rolls
Jollof rice, thanks to Fatimah from Nigeria
Portuguese Cod Fish Cakes, thanks to Sandra and Nuno from Porto
Goat Cheese Gougere, thanks to Wilson, from Colombia
Pecan Pie, thanks to Barbara Chocolate Mousse, thanks to Sandra and Nuno Pumpkin Pie Pecan-cranberry pie, thanks to Tracy and Kirk
Trio of ports, including Fonseca BIN 27 Port from Nuno