This year is the first Thanksgiving since my father passed away in July. As a result, my mom is cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in quite a few years. (In the last few years of his life, Dad took a really intense interest in cooking.) Now, don't get me wrong: Mom is a crackerjack cook and will have a lovely turkey dinner for us, but at the same time, I'm taking control over a couple things because:
- I want to make Thanksgiving easier for Mom. It's going to be hard enough coping with the loss of my father and a house full of guests including but not limited to: my cousin, his girlfriend, me, my husband, my uncle (her brother), 1 little dog, and 2 large dogs (Oliver and Winston).
- I make better mashed potatoes than she does (she uses either russet potatoes or those evil boxed flakes).
As a result, I'm making 2 pumpkin pies (easy) and about 6 pounds of mashed potatoes from those Yukon gold potatoes that look all buttery and taste all creamy. I almost did red potatoes, but I decided against it because:
- The red potatoes are $2 more expensive per bag. What can I say, I'm cheap when it comes to 6 pounds of potatoes.
- The red potatoes were not grown locally, and though I'm not a strict locavore, I do like to buy local stuff when I can. Especially when it's less expensive!
- Red potatoes dictate peeling because my (extremely fussy and estranged) brother would pitch a fit about those red flecks in his spuds, while I can hide the Yukon gold skins on them if I work hard enough at them with the hand mixer. I hate peeling potatoes, and I hear from several nutritionists/dietitians that the skin is where all the nutrition is anyway. Though with all the butter I'm going to add, I don't think that much nutrition other than saturated fat is going to be had in these puppies.
As for the pumpkin pies, I had every intention of using my dad's food processor to make pie crust dough from scratch but decided against it because:
- I've never done it before and Thanksgiving is not the time to take risks that could end in disaster;
- I've never used his food processor before and the instruction book is somehow lost;
- The unroll-and-bake dough is what my family is used to, and I figure keeping with some (though not very foodie-ish) tradition is okay this year.
But I'm gonna make the pies with my special Penzey's Pumpkin Pie Spice that lends such an awesome flavor to all things pumpkin (and otherwise), so they should be pretty spectacular. I'm also going to make real whipped cream from heavy cream and Penzey's vanilla extract and possibly a little brandy. So it should be slightly gourmet and complicated, in the tradition of my wonderful father, who was always striving to make things taste (and be) better. For the fussiest simpleton eaters at the table I'll also have probably a can of Redi-Whip so they can have their Thanksgiving, too.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!