Thanksgiving and Dan’s visit

This was my third Thanksgiving abroad, and as with years past, we provide the turkey, gravy, pumpkin pie, a side or two and then everyone else brings side dishes of choice for the banquet. Thursday this year, I had a work obligation, so we celebrated Saturday instead.

Jack was in Birmingham with friends on Friday, so Friday night I made pumpkin pies and Saturday moved all the furniture and cycled to the covered market to get the 16 pound turkey and cycle it back home. I’m always worried I’ll take a spill, because I have it off-balance in a pannier, but I always manage to get in home in one piece.

In years past, I’ve glazed the turkey with a honey-mustard paste to avoid constant basting, but you really only need to baste every 45 minutes and it’s much nicer. I’ve always also stuffed it with celery, apples, onions (not really ‘stuffing’), but this prolongs the cooking. This year was the best and most to-plan. The turkey was ready on time for the first time and perfectly cooked (3 hours 45 minutes). Next year we’re going to try brining.

Jack got home to carve the turkey, and Jess and Dan arrived a few hours early to enjoy mulled wine, make apple strudel and Dan – fresh off the plane from NC – made devilled eggs.

The mulled wine was incredible – so much nicer than pub mulled wine and especially bottles of pre-mulled wine you just need to heat up. The recipe we used is here. It’ll make your house smell like Christmas.

Everyone else arrived at 7, bringing: hasselback sweet potatoes, apple strudel, rolls, steamed broccoli, devilled eggs, cornbread, cranberry sauce, mulled cider, creamed greens, roasted chestnuts, mashed potatoes, sausage, apple and sage stuffing.

I wish I didn’t have to keep numbers so small, but it was pretty much max capacity for our livingroom floor. Larger numbers and there would be a two-room divide like years past.

The beauty of hosting an annual Thanksgiving potluck is that you don’t have to worry about cooking everything at the same time, save on the expense of all the dishes, and then… everyone takes away their dishes to wash at home. You don’t really have leftovers (aside from turkey), but that’s okay. We managed to have a pretty good spread for days, anyway.

IMG_3347Huge fish

Saturday morning, we had Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches for brunch with Jess and Dan, and Dan and I wandered over to the Goldfish bowl so I could blow his mind and show him massive pirhanas, then to town to go to the Pitt Rivers before it closed. I was wiped out after the weekend, so Jack took care of me – picked up Everest and put on Django Unchained.

The Malaysia crew had a 30th birthday conflict for Thanksgiving, so we took a Thanksgiving raincheck a few days later and had a 5-man feast at Magdalen Arms.

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Dan was in town for a solid week of pubbing, pub quizzes (we won! At Cape of Good Hope), the OUP Christmas show, Catweazle, Thanksgiving raincheck cashing, visiting colleges, and Lou’s engagement party in Thame! Was such a good week. Please move here.

Magdalen College

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At Lou’s engagement party!

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