Day After Thanksgiving

When I was a kid Hallowe’en was my favorite holiday, but now that I’m grown up Thanksgiving seems perfect. The food is fantastic and the company even more so—we are very grateful that we were able to share the day with Nonna and Pappy and a couple dear friends, and the rest of our far-flung family and friends are close in our hearts on this holiday too. A day for celebrating the bounty of the land with loved ones…what could be better?

Maybe there’s one thing better: the day after Thanksgiving. A day for just sitting around in our bathrobes grazing on all the leftovers. That’s pretty great too.

Our Thanksgiving menu this year:

slices of Pink Lady apples and Point Reyes “Toma” farmstead cheese
slices of prosciutto and fuyu persimmons drizzled with balsamic vinegar
smoked almonds
rum-glazed pecans

murderous mashed potatoes (seriously, the mashed potatoes will kill you—I make them exactly twice a year, and they are fantastic, because the Cook’s Illustrated recipe involves a stick of butter and three cups of heavy cream. I always warn everybody beforehand so those with any cholesterol issues know to take them very sparingly.)
pan seared brussels sprouts with bacon
pear-ginger cranberry sauce
BN Ranch heritage, pasture-raised turkey
and in place of stuffing, Judy Rodgers’ bread salad. (My friend Matt, who is gluten-intolerant, usually comes for Thanksgiving, so most of the menu is gluten-free…this is my single “asterisk.”)

sweet potato pie (I use Leah Chase’s recipe, substituting gluten-free flour for the crust.)
flourless chocolate cake

So as you can see, the leftovers are plentiful and delicious.

My philosophy on inviting guests with dietary restrictions is this: I feel pretty okay about gesturing expansively to a table groaning with food and saying “You can eat everything but the strudel,” or whatever. So when putting together a meal I usually allow myself a single “asterisk.” It’s a lot nicer than leading a guest to the same table and saying “This is all poisonous to you, but I made you a special bowl of pilaf.” Matt insists that he’s perfectly happy as long as there’s something he can eat, but I think it’s plain mean to invite a guest if it’s only to make them watch other people eating delicious foods they cannot have.

I joke that when I die I’d like my memorial plaque to read simply: “She ate well.” Thanksgiving is probably the day that we eat best of all, but the day after Thanksgiving features all of the food and none of the work. Best holiday ever? It might be.

8 Responses to “Day After Thanksgiving”

  • shannon Says:

    There is no gravy. I gave up on gravy due to timing issues: really good gravy has to be made at the last minute, using the turkey drippings, and that’s exactly the point where you’re already in a rush trying to get everything on the table hot. Plus, gravy is pretty tricky to get right, and takes focus. My stress levels after two days of solid cooking are already high enough–I can’t deal with making gravy right at the end of everything. I just want to sit down and relax and EAT.

    I can’t pretend that nobody misses the gravy, because it’s *gravy* and everybody likes gravy. But I will say that if the turkey is juicy and the potatoes are creamy, you don’t really need it.

  • Dom Camus Says:

    Mmm… sounds most delicious! 😀

    • shannon Says:

      The sweet potato pie is par-TIC-ularly nice to have for breakfast, with a cup of coffee!

    • shannon Says:

      Also, after I wrote this post and spent some time browsing the Internet, it now seems funny to me that I’m describing my leftovers in loving detail while everybody else is debating the pros and cons of Black Friday.

      Guys! Who cares about Black Friday! Don’t you have *leftovers* to eat? WHY AREN’T YOU LOLLING ABOUT IN YOUR BATHROBES?

      • shannon Says:

        You Limeys are excused, of course. Although feel free to loll about in your dressing gowns if you like!

        • shannon Says:

          “Limeys” isn’t offensive, is it? Wikipedia says it’s “often pejorative” and “a derogatory term” so now I’m a little worried. I don’t think of “Yanks” as being offensive, and “Limeys” is the counterpart to that, right?

  • Jessie Says:

    I don’t like gravy. 🙂

    • shannon Says:

      It counts as slimy, right? I’m not always able to predict what will or will not be categorized as “slimy” in Jessie-land, but the gravy makes perfect sense to me. It IS pretty slimy.

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