Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. I am making all the preparations for the feasting that will take place. The turkey, a massive bird of 26 pounds, has been thawed. The required pies (an apple cranberry pie, a cranberry fig pie and two pumpkin pies) were baked yesterday. Son#1 has prepared the sweet potato casserole (complete with the pecans and bourbon sauce)and it too is poised to go into the oven tomorrow. I’ve selected and washed the potatoes that will become mashed potatoes. Various family members will provide the green bean casserole, stuffing, fruit salad, and rolls. All is in readiness for the cooking frenzy that will begin at precisely 9:00 AM tomorrow. I’ve made this meal (with slight variations) for 38 years. In that time Sparky declares that this is hands down his favorite meal. You see he adores a roasted turkey. When the boys were young he made the mistake of declaring that he LOVED turkey. The boys responded, “If you love it so much why didn’t you marry it?!” This has become a joke in the family.
The first Thanksgiving as a married couple was spent with Sparky’s parents and the assembled clan. His mother made a turkey. And sweet potatoes, and three bean salad (which no one would eat), and everyone brought a dish. I made pumpkin pie, his brother brought his signature fruit salad, his next younger sister made her famous potato rolls, the 2 youngest made strawberry Jell-O salad and chocolate chip cookies. There was no gravy! There were no mashed potatoes! I had never in my life had turkey without gravy. Sparky would consider it grounds for divorce if I made a turkey and didn’t make GRAVY!
The most essential element according to son#1 is the gravy. He loves gravy so much that his online player name is “Gravy Master”. His brother is very fond of the potatoes and his online name is “Smashed Taters”. Needless to say it is required to have both the potatoes and the gravy. Son#1 will assist with the production of the gravy, mostly in a Quality Control capacity. The key to making good gravy is having the right stuff for the bird. That is, I bake my turkey breast down and I fill the body cavity with a whole bottle of sweet white wine. It makes the gravy good enough to drink! I’ve got the wine. I’ll boil the giblets in seasoned water (a couple sticks of celery, a bit of diced onion, parsley, a little sage, and some pepper). That broth will be added to the pan drippings to make the gravy – about a half gallon total. If past years are any indication there will be very little leftover! Now all I need to do is find my gravy boat, well really it is a tureen, since a gravy boat is way too small to hold all the gravy that will be required!