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Turkey Day Menus and visitors...

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by webbie, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    For some reason, a big chunk of our family is coming to MA. (many from quite far) for this Thanksgiving. I lost count......but these are mostly from the "small" side of our family. If the other side came, we'd need a banquet hall.

    I think we are going to have about 16-18, most of them staying here or nearby for a few days. That's pretty big for us because our family is based everywhere from Panama (one ex-pat) to Florida to NJ, etc....

    This should be quite a scene. I notice some of the women are putting together this giant menu. They want me to add things and comment on it.

    My basic philosophy on this stuff is that no matter how much food they prepare and put out, I'm going to be full after about 15 minutes, so it hardly matters. Of course, my other choice is just continue eating and get sick...haven't been sick from eating too much in years!

    More likely I will take a very small piece of everything, including some cheesecake for desert.

    We are going to have a crazy house for about 9 days, though. Good thing we have lots of private spaces (like my basement) to escape to. When you put about 3 or more of us together, it's impossible to hear much...the Italian in us comes out, the voices get louder and the arms start waving!

    Anyone else having the large crowds this year? How many?
    pen and Joful like this.

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  2. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    That's great, webbie! Nothing like a big old family holiday, Christmas Vacation style. I think we'll be having only 16 this year, which is a smaller Thanksgiving for us. There's a riff in the family right now, which has ejected five from the usual count.

    We're waiting on the delivery of a new dining table this week, an 8' x 4' extension table with four 12" leaves, which will give us 12' x 4' extended. Tiger maple top with dual pedestal and ball with claw feet, and hand carved leaf/vine skirt. We got eight Philadelphia Windsor fan back chairs to go with it, and already have five sack-back Hitchcock chairs in Tiger maple to fill out the seating. This will be our first year of not patching together two or three tables end-to-end and carrying old kitchen chairs up from storage in the basement, to fit everyone around. I'm excited for that.

    Fortunately, or unfortunately, no out-of-towners... so everyone goes home at the end of the evening. My wife usually pulls an all-nighter on Wednesday, cooking and cleaning, so she usually collapses as soon as the last guest is out the door. I spend the long weekend splitting wood... this year it's for 2015/2016!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
    webbie likes this.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Question with the big tables is - who does all the serving?

    I think we can fit ours on our table with the extension...actually, 4 of them are not coming until Friday, so we should be good. Of course, that means more big dinners after T-day also! I should do a juice and tea diet for 5 days before to cleanse......
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If it is cold that day the cat will be inside so that will make three.
    Joful likes this.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    It's just chaos for a few minutes, until all the food is dealt. Big stuff gets dealt by the person sitting closest to that dish, small stuff gets passed around.

    Cleanse? I have a motto... never strive to decrease caloric intake, simply increase the burn rate. I like eating, so I just have to work it off. At 6'-0" and 175 lb., I'm doing okay on that... so far.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My wife loves to cook, but is getting more practical about Thanksgiving. I think we are down to something like 10 dishes now. ;) It will be just us and our sons this year I think. No problem with that though it would be fun to invite some guests. We'll see. I find that I'm ok as long as I take smaller helpings and pass on the fresh rolls so that I have room for the mashed potatoes.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I never appreciated stuffing/filling as a kid... now it's the thing I seem to enjoy most. Actually, I guess like most kids, I thought Thanksgiving was just a very lame stop on the way to Christmas. Now, it's one of my favorite holidays.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Gotta agree with Joful . . . it's truly a great holiday.

    In the last few years my wife and I have gone down to CT to have dinner with her mother, brother and his girlfriend (the only relatives on this side of the pond other than her Uncle who lives out west . . . everyone else has died or is in Germany or England. We've also had a quiet dinner with just the two of us . .. although we have often invited single, older friends or neighbors over -- I think that has been the most fun.


    Memories of Thanksgivings when I was a kid . . .

    Watching the Macy Day Parade . . . and mainly waiting to see Santa at the end as to me it signaled the start of the Christmas Season.

    My Nana cooking lots of food . . . and me eating very little so I could eat a couple pieces of pie -- usually apple and pecan . . . never the mince meat.

    Green Jello Salad . . . Orange Jello Salad . . . these were always served at the meal.

    Banana nut bread . . . for years I thought banana bread was only served at Thanksgiving.

    Mixed nuts . . . my grandparents always had a bowl of mixed nuts out.

    The little kid's table . . . I never did graduate to the big person's table . . . but it was OK since Nana often would come in and sit with us kids to keep us company.

    After dinner us kids would play with our cousins, the women would typically clean up and my Uncle and cousin Gene would often go out hunting.
    Joful likes this.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    New Years was always the big one for us food wise, because our italian relatives lived along the way of the Mummers parade down in deepest s. philly. So everyone would cram into the "hail mary" row houses and the gravy (that's tomato sauce to normal people) would be cooking along with all the other italian goodies.

    We'd eat, steel ourselves and run out to watch the dead drunk mummers (this was after the judging, when they just drink and parade back to their clubs).......
    Joful likes this.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Still have inlaws and parents that make up big dinners so we take the grand driving tour and have up to three dinners to attend. My kids are around ten years old and when I was their age, we did the same thing. When I arrive, each location has special jobs that I do every year. Something as simple as mashing the potatoes or kneading/rising/baking rolls but I have been doing those particular jobs for decades. I will be starting my kids on these types of jobs too.

    After it's done, I return home (an hour's drive) and go to bed.

    Oh, menu, I am a whitemeat turkey, mashed spuds, rolls, and butter kind of guy. Nothing fancy, no sweet potatoes or fancy salad. Save room for desert!

    We have a family secret that might not be a secret but seems just crazy enough to be one. We call it magic pudding. One can of sweetened condensed milk boiled in the can until it turns into delicious, rich, caramel type pudding. Whip up some real whipped cream in the kitchenaid and bam!.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    We do the 2 family shuffle, dinner at hers, dessert at mine. Then I try to stay awake driving home.

    I'd rather cook the whole thing myself (pretty proud of my big spread cooking), then fall asleep upstairs.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    thanksgiving2.jpg
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Some great memories, here. Maybe it's about time to take my son down to see the mummers? He's 4 now. I can be in S. Philly in 40 minutes, but have no idea where to park, etc., during parade time. I used to take the train down for the parade, when I was younger.
    Paulywalnut likes this.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The menu according to the chef will be: Home made rolls, home made hard apple cider and ale, our garden mashed potatoes, pearled onions, rutabagas au gratin, brussel sprouts in a maple/pepper/mustard sauce, homemade cranberry orange sauce, turkey, sausage stuffing, fresh made gravy, cheese platter and homemade pumpkin pie. Just typing that made me hungry.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
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  15. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Wife got me/us to try the paleo diet for one month – after me losing 27 and her down about 20, plus having more energy than ever, we’re going to stick with it. (and these were the ‘stubborn pounds’ which never seemed to go away no matter how well we ate normal diets or how much running, biking, hiking, wood cutting, splitting, etc we did)

    So we’re going paleo, or at least 90% paleo for the holiday meals this year (ie grains, refined sugar and dairy are out):

    We start with the ‘meat trifecta’ – duck soaked overnight in a garlic/herb/orange brine, steam cooked to render fat away, then flash seared on an orange wood fire. Rack of Lamb with a rosemary/thyme/olive oil/garlic marinate, slow cooked till tender, then broiled until golden. Lastly, the standard turkey with an apple/herb/spice brine, slow roasted until golden brown.

    Next we bring on the veggies – green bean casserole with shallot crisps and cashew gravy, salad with fresh greens, cranberry raisins, pecans, pineapple chunks and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and who can go without sweet potatoes fixed a couple different ways (really looking forward to the duck fat fried sweet potato fries!)

    Add a few little side treats – deviled eggs with homemade mayonnaise, fresh herbs and spices, and fruit salad with an orange/pecan glaze, herb seasoned turnip/parsnip mash to replace starchy mashed potatoes, and fresh cranberry/pecan sauce, etc

    Finish with dessert – pumpkin and pecan pies which receive the paleo treatment – an almond flour crust, filling sweetened with fresh dates and a bit of local honey, topped fresh cinnamon and traditional spices for the pumpkin and fresh glazed and roasted pecans for the pecan pie.
    Joful and Jags like this.
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    There was a dude (biologist/scientist) on NPR chuckling about that diet - but, hey, if it works.

    We have been veggie for 44 years - unfortunately, if you eat dairy like we do, that means no real weight loss! But lately we've been more toward oatmeal than bread and have each lost 15+ pounds. I look forward to putting on 5 between now and New Years.....

    I have a neat little scale which displays bodyfat and water content.....now that I'm 60 (next week) I want to keep it under the guidelines........
  17. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Now I'm chuckling. Most vegetarians look a little unhealthy, to me. All good things in balance, a lot of bad stuff too... just work it off. ==c

    <--- caloric intake matches that of the average teenage boy (but with more beer)
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Beer will be on the menu.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, this 60 year old walks miles, pulls the 100 lb dinghy from the weeds and drags it across the beach, rows out to the sailboat and then single hands (that's a LOT of winching and running around the boat)....

    I do weights and treadmill too and have never seen a hospital bed since my tonsils were removed (at 6 yo)......

    I think the reason some look less healthy is they are smoking too much weed and following the Dark Star Orchestra around on tour. Not enough sun or exercise.

    Statistically, it's much better than the average diet, although about the same as a "health conscious" non-veggie....while means the guy who eats 3oz of lean beef, not you dudes!
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  20. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I was certainly skeptical about it, but agreed to try just because it was something different. We were both big into dairy, grains, vegetables, etc. I'd usually have 2% milk and a granola bar or fruit for breakfast, rice or pasta and a salad for lunch, and some portion of meat, a potato and salad for dinner. Run 8-10mi per week, do a 20, 25 and 28 mile adventure races (run, bike, canoe) every year, etc. I drink 99% water, maybe some unsweetened ice tea in the summer, with the remaining 1% being a rare pepsi or coke here an there - almost as a dessert) But nothing would get me below about 235 pounds (6'5" tall)

    The first week on paleo, I was trying to eat small portions like I normally would. About every two hours, stomach was growling and I thought 'I'll starve on this diet!' By about the 4th day, I increased my portion size and thought and started eating to not be hungry (I gave up eating 'till I feel full long ago). The scale started showing weight loss.

    By the second week, I felt like I was eating huge portions, the 'between meal' hunger went away, but the weight kept dropping. By the third week, I'd find myself getting caught up in work, missing lunch, but not even feeling hungry, then having a big dinner...and still loosing weight.

    Things have leveled off pretty much now - scale is steady at about 206-208. Did a 6.5 mile race a few weeks ago. Didn't get my watch started when the whistle went off, so I didn't know exactly where I was on the course. Thought I probably had 2-3 miles left to go based on how I felt....come around a bend and there is my finish station. Ran my best ever time and likely could have done even better if I would have known the finish was close!

    I was very skeptical, but it made a believer out of me. When you look at the claims for what they are, it seems to make logical sense. No other mammals drink milk after their infant years. Try to name one mammal which eats a large grain diet, but is still lean and muscular...I can't think of one. Most all other mammals eat grass, leaves, fruits, berries or are carnivores. The only time you feed grain is to fatten something up! If refined sugar were discovered today, it would likely be classified as a drug and promptly banned. It gives you a quick energy high and the body easily stores it as fat. Then the energy high wears off and you hit the sugar coma, plus you now weigh more, so you need a little larger dose the next time around...and the downward spiral continues! I don't even eat that much sugar and I had a headache and 'withdrawal' symptoms for a few days! I also started reading the labels and sugar is in EVERYTHING...even things you'd think are healthy...tomato spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, some canned vegetables, etc.

    The next time the food-for-fuel debate opens, I have to say, I've come to the conclusion ALL grains should be turned into fuel! Not really fit for human consumption - unless you're trying to fatten up or possibly survive some brutal winter where you need to stack on the pounds!

    Anyway, off soapbox now! LOL
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    How long did the average caveman live? ;lol

    I work with an old post-retirement (Director Emeritus) guy, who goes to the bar with us for lunch each day. We usually get 1 beer + whatever the special is that day. Once I asked him about having a beer every day, and his response was, "I know a lot more old drunks than old doctors."
  22. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    we usually host at least a few peeps for all the major holiday events...this year we are hosting none for Thanksgiving. Should be interesting/weird to say the least. maybe i just go to webbie's and blend in....you had me at cheesecake.
    Joful likes this.
  23. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    That was my original rallying cry, too! I think the average was around 35 years old. Though this does expose the problem with averages... on average a paleolithic man would live to around 35 ... usually dying from the hardships of life at the time... your food trying to eat you as much as you are trying to eat it (ie lions, tigers, bears, etc), ... no internet or food safety reference - is this berry edible or poisonous, is this meat cooked to 145ºF, did you wash your hands after preparing the meat, etc, plus living in cold damp conditions with only a fire for warmth, exposed to the elements, etc. Though even given all the hardships, a few of them apparently lived into their 60s and even then, it's likely they died due to exposure to the elements, animal attack, etc vs heart disease, heart attack, obesity, cancer, stroke, or any of the leading killers today.

    In short, it was the living that killed them, not their diet... almost the exact opposite is true today.

    Agree on the alcohol - seems like most every 'oldest man' always brags about a shot of booze every morning to wake up and every night to get to sleep!
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  24. Stax

    Stax Minister of Fire

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    2 words. Cost & convenience. Hold on…let's make it 3. Laziness.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Our new furniture arrived today! Among the items was our new dining table and chairs. Bring on the feast!

    Forgot to snap any photos with it extended and all the leaves installed, but here's a few I remembered to take as I was collapsing it, after pulling the leaves. Extended dimension is 48" x 144". Top is Tiger Maple, with Hard Maple chairs and base.

    Extended, with leaves removed (self-storing, shown in middle of extension rack):

    PB140034.JPG

    (excuse the messy kitchen... we spent most of the day unpacking stuff and moving furniture)

    Hand carved steam bent solid maple skirt:

    PB140037.JPG

    Side chairs:

    PB140039.JPG

    End chairs:

    PB140044.JPG

    Finally... no more putting three tables end-to-end, and getting out folding chairs (although that tradition may be somewhat missed).

    PB140054.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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