Thanksgiving: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good: I gotta say, almost everything was pretty good. The turkey was — and I mean no disrespect to anyone who’s fed me Thanksgiving dinner in the past 30-something years — was probably the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. It was not the least bit dry, probably because I kept pacing around the kitchen and basting it every 7 or 8 minutes.

I decided to turn the leftover squash I’d baked for pie into a squash puree with caramelized onions. I was concerned it would be too much like the garlic mashed potatoes, but the slightly sweet of the caramelized onions made it an okay contrast. I made cranberry sauce using orange juice and brown sugar, instead of the usual water and white sugar, and added cinnamon and ginger. It came out pretty intensely sweet-sour-spicy, but not in a bad way.

However, the star of the day, the food I am the most proud of, is this squash pie:

pie!

I am not a baker. If I bake something that turns out okay, as opposed to my usual baking standard of barely edible, it’s cause for celebration. I admit I did not make the pie crust (which came frozen from FreshDirect, and was actually really good) but I did make the filling, substituting roasted butternut squash for sweet potatoes in this recipe. Instead of the usual dense pie filling, this was almost like a mousse. Light, fluffy, spicy, not too sweet… it was fantastic. I imagine it would have been even lighter if I hadn’t made it the day before. I know it was just pie filling, but knowing I actually baked something that didn’t suck thrills me to no end.

The Bad: Although it technically it wasn’t part of our Thanksgiving dinner (because we drink hot chocolate while we watch the Macy’s Parade), the Scharffen Berger Drinking Chocolate was deeply disappointing. I had hoped it would be a substitute for the mythical French hot chocolate I’ve been looking for, but it was just so bitter — too bitter for any of us to drink a whole cup’s worth.

The Ugly: Oh, man — I so messed up the gravy. I took the turkey out of the oven, set it aside to rest and then frantically tried to cook all the remaining food within the 30 minutes of prescribed turkey rest. And, because I was in full-tilt GO! GO! GO! mode, I didn’t stop and actually think for a second before I went and dumped half a cup of flour — flomp! — right into the pan. Of course it immediately seized up and looked like giant floating clots of cottage cheese in the gravy. I had my husband scoop out as much as he could, while I finished the rest of the food. In the end, it tasted okay, but goddamn, it was definitely ugly.

So, in summary: ugly gravy and bitter chocolate, but amazing pie, fantastic side dishes, and one superb turkey — and really, good thing, because we’re gonna be eatin’ that mofo for like, two more weeks.

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5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

  1. Great photo of the pie!!! Love it…

    Who cares if you messed up gravy? Gravy is just NOT pretty. THink about it.. it’s brown, it’s gelatinous looking and gooey. Ugh… Just not pretty at all. What matters is it tasted okay! Oh, and do you guys get Burdick’s hot choco mix there? They make real french-style hot choco.

    I feel a special link with you right now! We hosted our first thanksgiving this year also!

  2. That half hour while the turkey is resting and you’re trying to get everything else on the table really is crazy busy, isn’t it?

    I have somehow always managed to avoid the gravy making thing. My mother, who doesn’t like to cook and cooks pretty badly but due to some fluke of nature makes awesome gravy, usually makes it if she’s around although this year we pressed my sister-in-law into service. I have heard though that you can get the lumps out if you need to by running the gravy in your blender. Totally second hand info but it sounds as if it would work.

    Your pie looks great and I’m envious of your turkey. Ours wasn’t terrible but it was nothing to write home about.

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