Saturday, November 29, 2008

spectrum of tradition

Thanksgiving was a divine day of non-stop yumminess; really, it verged on ridiculous how much yumminess i managed to pack into one day. The really fun part was that it was different food all day long. My first holiday invite was from the Palmateers. Jason and Kate were having over her parents and had decided to go non-traditional. In fact, they decided to have brisket and ribs instead of turkey. I'm game for most anything, so i arrived at 2pm for the beefy festivities. I love to get to places early enough to watch the cooking. Jason was in charge of the meat. He was going to get the brisket out of the fridge and i asked "what did you do to the brisket?" meaning, of course how are you preparing it? He answered "i bought it." Weisenheimer. Actually it was an accurate description as he ordered the brisket and ribs from Stubbs in Texas. They were shipped in dry ice and just needed to be heated. Kate roasted a big pan of veggies - sweet onion, squash, zucchini, asparagus, sweet potato, tomato, carrot - with some olive oil and chili spice (also from Stubbs - i think). Check out the action "chopping" shot. I just love how her mom was at the ready to assist with the chopping. And check out the colors of this dish: It was so, so, SO good! Then again, everything was good. Plus it felt special to eat at a beautifully set table. It is also the first time i've ever eaten in their dining room: Of course i believe it is only the second time they've eaten in their dining room. My logistics coordinator, Wendy, had called on Wednesday asking me to dinner. When i told her i already had plans she replied "I'm serving from 3-9; stop by any time." Who could say no to that? Besides, my day had been wonderful, but i was missing turkey so i went to Wendy's around 7:00. It was completely opposite from the Palmateers with traditional food served buffet style. The dining room was full of an impressive number of serving pans: Check out the knife used to hack off a hunk of ham! As i was eyeing the turkey carcass with resignation, Wendy appeared from the kitchen with an armful of aluminum foil: What's in the parcels? you are wondering. Two more whole turkeys - one fried and one roasted! Yippee! Plenty of turkey for Niki (and a small army). And of course there was another table with side dishes: My favorite was the macaroni and cheese. We had a discussion at work about traditional Thanksgiving food and came to the conclusion (given the cultural cross section of the the people polled) that black families (North and South) and families from the South (white and black) have macaroni and cheese (homemade, of course) at Thanksgiving. Being raised by white parents from Ohio I had never heard of such a thing before. Moni cheese is already my favorite food and once i tried it along side turkey and stuffing i am ready to make it a tradition at my house! After all, Maryland is technically below the Mason-Dixon line. I ended the night with a dessert not traditional for Thanksgiving, but traditional every other day since 2 of Wendy's 3 daughters were born on Thanksgiving! It was really fun (and filling) to share food with friends all over the spectrum of tradition and realize that no matter what the occasion all that really matters is with whom you share your time. Oh, and leftovers.

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