Friday, November 30, 2007
Steamboat Springs In the process of cooking two Thanksgiving dinners during the holiday weekend, for a grand total of 16 people, I came to a conclusion: I make a lot of dumb mistakes.
Almost burning the marshmallow topping on sweet potatoes, making mashed potato casserole that dried out in the oven, not being able to locate the giblets on a turkey (I know, it's bad).
When you're making as many as five dishes, there's plenty of room for error.
But I'm pretty sure that potential for disaster is what I like about the Thanksgiving holiday. The main focus, of course, is getting friends and family together to enjoy one another's company. But enjoying one another's company while attempting to keep everything tasty and unburnt comes in as a strong second.
So what if you try to make bread and it turns out raw in the middle (not my fault)? Or someone spills the gravy boat and your guests proceed to sop up the mess with crescent rolls (appalling in every way)?
If there's one thing that cooking and eating silly amounts of food brings out of us, it's all our faults. And it's celebrating those faults that makes Thanksgiving so comfortable in the first place.
On a lighter note, I discovered this recipe, a new favorite alternative to sweet potato casserole (though this one, sadly, isn't any good with broiled marshmallows on top of it):
1 1/2 cups of turnip, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, all thinly sliced
2 cups celery root, thinly sliced
3/4 cup butter
brown sugar to taste
salt, pepper and fresh parsley to taste
1. Make sure all of your roots are chopped well enough that they'll cook through.
2. Boil roots until tender, at least 35 minutes.
3. Strain and puree the roots.
4. While still hot, add butter to the puree. Stir until the butter is melted.
5. Add brown sugar, salt, pepper and fresh parsley to taste
6. Spoon puree into a casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.