Midway through cooking for Thanksgiving tonight, I called my mom.
“I love our Thanksgiving menu,” I told her.
“Yeah. It’s just so stress free.”
It wasn’t by design. And it wasn’t always that way. But somehow over the last few years, our standard feast has evolved into a menu that is totally doable. Stress-free. Manageable with two kids underfoot. And most of all, delicious. For the past few years, we have had the same core dishes. I like that. Maybe it’s because I make so many new recipes during the year, that it’s nice to have a familiar menu full of family favorites to look forward to. I’m certain that’s why. And this year, more than ever, I want the familiar. The reliable. The constant. I almost crave it.
The Thanksgiving table will be filled with the usual suspects.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. Good, comforting mashed potatoes that you can make ahead to free up much coveted oven space.
Cranberry Conserve. At our office Thanksgiving lunch the other day, the conversation turned to cranberry sauce. Particularly the kind from the can with the lines. Ick. I’m sorry, but ick. If you try this, you will never have that one again. I can almost guarantee it. I’ve been making it for several years now, and I wouldn’t touch cranberry sauce before this recipe.
Stuffing. We’re partial to the standard kind. Nothing funky in it, ‘cept for the traditional flavors you have come to love. Bread. Sage. I love Emeril’s version, although I skip the oysters when I’m making it for my family.
My mom’s in charge of the turkey and this dessert that she made a few years ago. Love that trifle. Turkey cupcakes for the kids.
The only thing that’s missing is The Husband’s Overnight Turkey. This is the first year in some 10+ years that I won’t wake up to the delicious smell of turkey wafting up the stairs. I love that memory. I debated about doing it myself but time got away from me, and it won’t be tonight. Perhaps over the weekend. Maybe that becomes the new tradition for the weekend after Thanksgiving. An old tradition with a new twist. Much like me these days, the old me with a new twist.
From the O’Malley clan to each and every one of you … may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with lump-free gravy, just-right potatoes and the perfect sweet treat to finish it all off with. May you remember what Thanksgiving is really all about, and count your blessings. I know I’m going to. And they start with these little ones.