My favorite holiday

Thanksgiving is in less than a week!  I have some big plans, people.

But first I want to tell you about the Thanksgiving meal I am the most proud of.

When I was in Moldova, two of my best friends and I made Thanksgiving dinner for about 200 people, including all the Peace Corps volunteers, Peace Corps staff and their families, and the entire embassy community (including the ambassador).  Every year Peace Corps would have the all-volunteer conference over Thanksgiving, and each PCV would chip in about $10 to help cover the cost of the meal.  Traditionally Peace Corps would extend the invitation to the embassy community as a courtesy, and then the embassy would decline because why make the poor (literally) PCVs pay for dinner for the comparatively-rich diplomats and their families. But that year everyone that we invited showed up!

Over the span of 3 days, in a hotel kitchen, we prepped and cooked 14 turkeys, countless pecan and pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, gravy, biscuits, and other things that I’m probably forgetting.  Other volunteers helped out in the kitchen, but it was the three of us directing the show.  We were so proud at the end when no one got sick!

After that Thanksgiving, no meal will ever be too overwhelming.

Our next Thanksgiving in the U.S. will most likely be in 2017, so I am taking full advantage of the fact that this year I can easily buy pretty much all the ingredients I want.  Also, my little sister is coming to visit and nothing says “I love you” like “Look at all the food I made!”

Here’s the planned menu:

Turkey (spatch-cocked, brined and grilled)
Pork belly (brined and smoked)
Cornbread, chorizo, cherry and pecan stuffing
Whole grain bread, sausage and apple stuffing
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
Rosemary-scented dinner rolls
Cranberry sauce with dried cherries
Bacon and shallot gravy
Pumpkin pie
Cinnamon ice cream

Guests are bringing antipasti platters, mashed potatoes, vegetable sides and pecan pie.  We have loads of wine left over from our Halloween party, and I think that about covers it!

The fun starts this weekend with picking up the turkey and pork belly from the butcher, grocery shopping (not so fun), etc.  I have a spreadsheet of what to make when, and with my sister and Nate helping out in the kitchen, I am really excited!


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