There is always at least one ingredient that I can’t find, say, gooseberries grown under truffles but only the ones grown in the month of February and only harvested by pot bellied pigs.
Once in a while, I get lucky and I can find the ingredients, in which case, what I concoct is absolutely delish. Mostly, I just read and drool.
But this week, Lucy’s done it. She’s gone to the dark side.
She is insisting that the gold standard for Thanksgiving is not the grain and acai-fed Latvian-raised turkey. Nuh-uh.
The woman has gone out of her mind.
I couldn’t serve a crown roast of pork, with cranberry-fennel-tarragon stuffing, and gin sodden cabbage. I can’t ask my crew to accept Jerusalem Artichokes along with their taters in a puree. Nor can I serve them a pear tarte tatin, no matter how good it is.
My family would lynch me.
Times have changed, kids have grown, some are growing other kids, but if there is one thing that cannot, must not change, it’s the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner. All the elements must be in place: the golden bird, regular cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, a boat-load of gravy, sweet potato puree and pie. Oh yes, and Stove Top stuffing.
I’ve tried to make other things. One year, I made goat cheese tarts. For several years, I tried to get my family to try sausage and corn bread stuffing. These dishes were barely nibbled after all the expense and effort.
Let’s face it, who cares? They’re sides.
But if I took the bird off the table and replaced it with a pig, even the prettiest one with little hats on bones, I promise you, there would be an exodus not seen since biblical times. And no one would show up the next year, either.
“Mom’s gone mad,” Stef would say. “Get the buckshot; let’s put her out of her misery.”
It’s true, Thanksgiving can be a boring effort for a cook. Same old, same old. We always dream of a kitchen that is not full of sticky and gooey pots that must be scoured after dinner, a feast that will served from an immaculate countertop.
But I’ve got news for Lucy and Cat and Gordon.
Thanksgiving isn’t about the cook.
It’s about the little human piglets would have sidled up to the trough waiting to scarf down as many simple carbohydrates as possible in the littlest time.
It’s about Stef licking the gravy off his plate while Nick takes seconds and thirds.
It’s about Scott and Jennette fighting over the last white flour only dinner roll.
It’s about figure-conscious Jeff actually eating pie.
Part of the fun is loosening the belt at the table, to let out the burgeoning gut that feels like you’ve been injected with that expanding foam they use to insulate homes. It’s about repairing to the living room to flop on a variety of soft surfaces to sleep through a ball game — or better yet, snore through a Judd Apatow movie, if that is even humanly possible.
Crown roast of pork is too delicate a meat. Eating crown roast of pork makes people want to play football instead of watching it.
And Jerusalem Articokes, well, they are just wrong.
Putting them in the mash would elicit this remark from Marissa.
“Ew, what did you put in the potatoes?”
Sorry Lucy. I’m giving you a thumbs down on this menu.
It’s too posh to puke.