I had all my Irish family over for Thanksgiving this weekend, and in making my first-ever Thanksgiving meal I learned a whole bunch of things I'm passing on to the troops in the hopes that it can be of use for Xmas:
1. Turkey is negotiable. I always assumed everyone loved turkey. But when I suggested we have a Moko-friendly Thanksgiving by skipping it this year I was surprised by the number of people who came out of the woodwork to confess how much they dislike the "dry," "gamey," bird, which "makes you fall asleep before you even get to the end of the meal." (Separate note: wouldn't it be great if Zagat would extend their empire beyond restaurant reviews? I'd love to read their company or government guides....'Wacky living' meets 'oppressive regime' in Turkmenistan, where the king 'names the month and breakfast cereals after himself'.' Some say it's 'stifling to the point you want to kill yourself', but most 'love the food and all-night laundromats.')
2. Cranberries are the easiest things to make in the world. Seriously: cranberries, sugar, boil them in water. Done. I threw in some orange peel just to make it seem like these had taken me longer.
3. Carnivores can be fooled. My vegan nut roast was the hit of the evening, and on first taste many people thought it had the touch of bloody flesh. Triumph!
4. Making your own pie crust is super simple and tastes way better. Here we go: 1 cup flour, half stick of butter, kneed kneed kneed till it's crumbling, then mix in the egg, fridge for 20 minutes, roll out, then bake for 35 minutes.
5. Could candy duplicate the flavor of buttery mashed potatoes. Maybe a Jelly Belly flavor?
6. Candles make all meals look more presentable.
7. Boo to whipping cream (meaning, cream you buy on the Old Continent that is called whipping cream, but it really is cream-to-be-whipped and not wonderfully sugary Cool Whip)....is not worth anyone's time.
8. Double the spice in your pumpkin pie recipe. Whatever recipe it may be, doubling the spice makes it that much better. That's a tricky I learned from my mumsy.
9. If you're the one cooking, only invite your side of the family to your house. That way, your spouse/partner will inevitably get bored at some point and will voluntarily take to the kitchen to do the dishes for you.
10. Skip the veggies. They just take up more time, no one really eats that many...Thanksgiving is about heartiness, not vegetables!