Annette and Will and I had a Thanksgiving of just the three of us and at home for the first time in…. heck, I think the first time ever. There was one year quite a while ago where I recall Annette’s parents coming to visit us, but otherwise, it has been a 10-12 hour drive to Iowa to see my family or a 12-14 drive to see Annette’s family in South Carolina. That’s a lot of time to spend in a car in the span of four or five days under any circumstances, but since Thanksgiving comes at what is often the worst possible crunch point of the semester, it is even worse. Not to mention all the other drivers, the often dicey weather, etc.
Anyway, for circumstances I won’t go into (mainly because they aren’t that interesting or dramatic), what would have been a Krause get-together this year was changed to a New Year’s Christmas, and we were able to spend the time at home. And I gotta say: I love my family– both my side and Annette’s side– dearly, but the luxury of having a (relatively) small Thanksgiving at home was excellent. Among other things, I worked on an overdue movie project, I graded lots of things (almost done with that), we did almost all the laundry in the house, we cleaned, ran errands, winterized the backyard a bit more, and slept in. We watched a lot of different movies, from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles to a couple of 1940s Tarzan flicks to Doctor Who, we had a lovely dinner with friends tonight, we watched football (dang Lions, dang Hawkeyes), we worked out at the gym.
And, of course, we ate and cooked. I can’t remember the last time I cooked a turkey– probably the last time that we had Thanksgiving at home years ago.
It turned out okay. My timing was off, so I think I ended up overcooking it a bit, and while I did a brine for about 36 or so hours, I’m not convinced that on this size of bird it was actually worth it. And I’m not all that crazy about turkey anyway. Maybe next year, if we’re home again like this (I hope we’re home again like this), I’ll make a Thanksgiving chicken, or maybe Thanksgiving lasagna.
I also attempted a fancy version of green bean casserole by using a really excellent homemade mushroom soup (a Thomas Keller recipe), adding cream to that, and then adding fresh green beans and topping it all with homemade fried onions. That was a fail, I’m afraid. The lesson learned here is sometimes the simple things are best, like the humble version with cream of mushroom soup, frozen green beans, and canned fried onions. Like canned cranberries.