I really get into cooking Thanksgiving dinner because its always exciting to try new dishes and use everything in the spice cupboard. Well, in my case, that isn't actually possible because I have soooo many spice choices. In fact, the spice cupboard is full.
It has spilled over and taken up a shelf in the pantry. Some items are dried fresh from the garden and put in little bottles and jars.
And then, there are seasonings I have to have handy to the stove that I use the most.
I tend to plan for weeks ahead, choosing and discarding recipes, favoring this one over that one. I like to make paella with saffron rice. No stores in my area carry saffron anymore because it is too expensive. I should have thought to go online. Gosh, what bounty we have in our country. I'll remember next year.
New this year is a kale recipe my daughter and her mother-in-law tweaked from a deli dish they tasted. And, as always, her pear with almond paste desert that has become a family tradition over the last five years. Its nice that family traditions change a bit with time, giving the feast an element of surprise.
Normally, the whole family arrives with their own special treats, and usually some extra friends or brothers, or cousins. Daughter-in-law Laurie, daughter Virginia and son Douglas are all good cooks and love to make special dishes for Thanksgiving. Doug picks summer berries and freezes them especially for holiday pies. He plans to smoke the turkey this year and I plan to make two different stuffing recipes on the side with a zinfandel and apple gravy. We always have something with pumpkin and corn to remember the Pilgrims.
Laurie always surprises us with some exciting new recipe. She is an artist and designs special place markers for everyone attending. This year, they will not attend since grandson Mason will be playing in the Macy's Parade and at Carnegie Hall. He is part of an awesome band from Green Valley High School. He plays clarinet and will have some camera time because a group of the boys will do a little spotlight take-out on the street.
Today is my major cooking day to prepare everything that can be made ahead. Ain't life grand? The spice of life probably isn't spices, but at Thanksgiving time, they play a great part of making life exciting.