Monday, 30 November 2009

Season's Eatings

It is a shame that Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated in Britain. I think any celebrations that involve stuffing your mouth with delicious food should be celebrated everywhere. I heard about Thanksgiving Day from TV shows and films but I didn’t experience the whole rituals until when I lived in America. I still remember my first Thanksgiving with my host family. Well, I didn’t remember much what we did on the day, but I remember all the food we had; traditional bread stuffing with onion, celery, sage, sourdough bread, sausage meat and lots of butter; creamy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and of course, it is not thanksgiving unless you have a beautiful and golden roast turkey on the table. And for dessert, a generous slice of warm pumpkin pie and a big dollop of whipped cream. You just eat and eat and get ready for the Black Friday sale the next day.

This year is the fourth year I host Thanksgiving dinner since I moved to the UK. I invited some friends over yesterday (normal Thanksgiving dinner falls on the last Thursday in November, but due to some scheduling reasons, I had mine on the Sunday). I made Jamie’s the best whole roast turkey, Christmas or any time which was delicious. One of the biggest challenges when cooking a turkey is the legs and thighs take longer than the breasts. The breasts tend to dry out in the oven while you’re waiting for the legs to cook. Jamie’s solution to this is by pushing an amount of stuffing between the turkey’s skin and breasts to increase the thickness of the breasts so they take the same time to cook as the legs. The result? Juicy turkey all round!

The stuffing is made with sausage meat, lemon zest, sage, red onions and celery. Yum! I had some extra and I made them into stuffed mushrooms which again, Yum!

I also made my traditional bread stuffing because it is my favourite dish at Thanksgiving dinner. Side dish wise, I made some boiled new potatoes with lemon, butter and parsley and maple glazed carrots. The cranberry sauce is store bought, and there is nothing wrong with that. I know making cranberry sauce takes hardly any work, but if I can save some time, I don’t mind it being the cranberry sauce. For dessert, I didn’t make the traditional pumpkin pie this year. Instead I made Nigella Lawson’s quadruple chocolate loaf cake. It is quadruple because there are four different elements of chocolate in the cake in the forms of coco powder, dark chocolate chips, chocolate syrup that glazed the cake and chocolate shaving on top.

An evening with great food and great company, what more can you ask.

I never celebrated Thanksgiving the way it was intended to be, a symbol of co-operation and interaction between the English colonists and Native Americans. To be honest, I don’t know anybody who does today, even in America. For me, Thanksgiving Day is kind of like a declaration and opening ceremony that Season's Eatings starts here. It is now the time for indulgence, for sharing wonderful food with family and friends.

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