There was nothing vegan about it. My boys planned the Thanksgiving menu. They took a somewhat traditional path; turkey, green chili cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry frappe, sweet potatoes, red cabbage and carrot salad, braised greens and pie. My husband took them shopping and I agreed to one convenience – the pies. I’ve never been much of a baker and with everything else I was asking them to do, ready-made pie might seem like a vacation.
This year with all the talk about kids not knowing where their food comes from, I told our boys that they were making our Thanksgiving dinner. And dinner it was, as I didn’t account for how long it might take. Still, there were only a couple of times that I intervened and truly my day was more about supervision and encouragement and education.
After a game of flag football in the park, the peeling and the chopping began. Within no time they were wielding kitchen knives like iron chefs arguing about the nuances of dicing versus mincing. We looked at the shallots and how they weren’t quite onions and definitely not garlic. I showed them how to strain the cranberries with a pestel to make it go quicker. And their ingenuity was present as my middle son ran to the garage to retrieve a pair of welding goggles that stopped the onion tears.
The big surprise for me and learning for them was the turkey. Stick your hand in where? After all the icks and eeews, my youngest drew the short straw and pulled out the neck and giblet bag. Like many people, they’d have a hard time not being vegetarian if they have to prepare their own meat. But what happened next could only erupt in a house of boys. They proceeded to play “pin the turkey neck on the brother”. I won’t tell you where.
They modified recipes to suit their tastes. “Can we please not put banana in the cranberry ice?” And they even amazed themselves, “I can’t believe how easy it is to make stuffing”. I added an appetizer of parsnip hummus and my husband sauteed a fabulous side dish of chanterelles. At the close of the day it was us who were stuffed (sorry to my British readers) as we went around the table reciting the f-words. These things that we are thankful for; food, family and friends. And I’m thankful that we built a couple of skills and a lasting memory in the process.