why do we do Thanksgiving anyway? According to the internet*, or BuzzFeed (it’s all the same to me), it’s not about giving thanks. 44% of respondents said family was the point of thanksgiving, and 28% said it was all about the food. So what?
This means that T-dawg is f*cking stressfull, that’s what. Why? Because if the mother-in-law ain’t impressed with the less-than-impossibly-flaky crust beneath the pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is ruined. Because if the turkey is (oh sweet baby Jesus forbid) dry, Thanksgiving is ruined. Because if anything is less than perfect, T-dawg gon’ flip the table that you spent half an hour setting and send all the green bean casseroles, cranberry jelly, and lumpy mashed potatoes plastered to the wall.
Why do you think this hypothetical mother-in-law will be taking a ruler to your crust? And if your crust has only nine hundred and ninety-nine layers, or is kind-of soggy because you skipped blind baking it, will she loathe you for all eternity? And if you catch her pursing her lips and not taking a third bite, how does that somehow mean that Thanksgiving is ruined?
You see, much like in statistics, things are much more simple if we make the assumption that each covariate (fancy word for things that you think are important for, in this case, predicting the successfulness of Thanksgiving) is independent. If you see each gesture, each dish, each word, each family member, each unfinished or finished plate as somehow leading to another thing that adds up to how much you scored on Thanksgiving, you’ll find yourself seeing nothing but a huge bowl of tangled-up spaghetti (and spaghetti, I think we can all agree, is the worst thing to show up on this day. Literally a slap in the face.)
Things are always going to go wrong on a day as big as this, just keep in mind:
- One bad thing doesn’t have to lead to another.
- Your family is there most likely because you’re their family too, and food’s secondary.
- There’s nothing a few extra glasses of wine can’t fix.
But is that the best you can do? See everything as a set of random events that don’t really lead to how well the day turns out?
Well, here’s the thing. If you define the value of Thanksgiving as spending quality time with family and eating tons of delicious food, then that really is the best you can do.
On the other hand, if we see Thanksgiving for giving thanks and appreciating everything we already have, then guess what? Thanksgiving will be 100% every time, because its value is based on that which has already been given to us and which nobody can discredit.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now;
rather, we fix our gaze
on things that cannot be seen.
For the things we see now
will soon be gone,
but the things we cannot see
will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18
Roasted Garlic Tahini
- 1 c roasted garlic
- 3/4 c tahini
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- water, as needed
- Place all ingredients besides water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add enough water and blend through to adjust the consistency to that of thick yoghurt. Store in a mason jar and refrigerate until needed. Stores up to 3 weeks.
- 1/2 c Roasted Garlic Tahini (above)
- 1/2 c plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- salt, to taste
- Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.
- 8-12 small beets, washed and trimmed (but not peeled)
- 1 c white vinegar
- 1 c raw sugar
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 5 cloves
- Steam the beets until tender. Place in a mason jar.
- In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, coriander, and cloves. Bring to the boil and pour over the beets to cover.
- Seal with the lid and cool completely before refrigerating for at least a week before using.
- 2 c brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 c water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp rice spices
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp dried currants
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Place all ingredients in the rice cooker and let the rice soak for 3 hours.
- Steam until tender and fluff with a fork.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large brown onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp anchovy paste
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 kg ground beef
- 4 c bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- salt and black pepper
- 1 1/3 c milk
- Saute the onions and garlic in oil until broken down and deeply caramelized. Stir in the anchovy paste and fry until fragrant.
- Meanwhile, place the cumin, fennel, and oregano in a spice grinder and grind until fine.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, season very generously, and mix through until homogeneous, without over-mixing. The mixture should be moist and soft. Add more milk or water as necessary.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Shape the mixture into 2 tbsp-sized balls and place on baking sheets. Brush the tops with a bit of oil and bake until browned, about 25-30 minutes.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tbsp oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the florets with the oil and season well.
- Transfer to a baking sheet with the cut sides facing down and bake for 30-35 minutes until tender and charred on the bottom and around the edges.
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 bunch carrot tops, washed thoroughly
- 1 tsp hot chili flakes, optional
- 1 tsp toasted coriander seeds
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/3 c whole roasted almonds (in the microwave will do)
- 1 strip lemon zest
- 2 tbsp Parmiggiano-Reggiano, optional
- 1 c olive oil
- Place the garlic in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Add the carrot tops and remove immediately (5 seconds max) to refresh in ice water. Squeeze out any moisture and add to the blender with the boiled garlic cloves.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until a textured sauce forms.
- Transfer to a mason jar and refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to use, spoon what you need into a small bowl and stir through with some extra virgin olive oil for brighter colour and flavour.
- Jewelled Rice
- Tahini Crema
- Spiced Kofte
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Beetroot Pickle
- Skhug, thinned out with some EVOO
- date syrup or pomegranate molasses
Divide the rice among 5-8 plates. Add a dollop of tahini crema to each plate and top with the spiced kofte (you can skewer them after baking if you want, for fun). Pile on the cauliflower and add a pickle. Drizzle the skhug over the meatballs, and everything really. Finish with a swirl of date syrup and dusting of sumac.