Lying here with a glass of Chateau-des-Charmes Gamay Droit, recovering from the turkey-induced tryptophan coma, I ponder the joy that is Thanksgiving.
I was watching the Weather Network the other day; the announcer mused about how Thanksgiving is the one major holiday that is almost completely about the food. Yes, there's the usual smorgasbord at Christmas, Easter and every other festivity in between, but they have a whole other meaning attached to it, in addition to eating. Thanksgiving is all about bringing your loved ones together over mountains of sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed carrot n' turnips, artery-clogging gravy, and of course, The Bird.
As in years past, hubby insisted on Beer Can Turkey, and I was more than happy to comply, especially given he does most of the work. This is a delicacy, and if you haven't heard about it or tried it yet, I highly recommend it. Get yourself a bird (chicken works, too, if you've got a small crowd) turn down the lights and put on a little Barry White. Pour some olive oil on the turkey's skin and massage gently into every crevice - inside and out. Use your favourite poultry rub to spice things up, and then get down to business: mounting the turkey onto the biggest tall-boy beer can you can find. The beer should still be half-full, with seasoning in it as well, and well greased (the other half of the beer is what you've soaked your wood chips in for smoking ... or maybe you drank it already). Balance your bird precariously on a roasting pan, making sure to position the wings and legs so that it looks like it was caught in a stick-up. Cook in your Q forever, carve, and come that much closer to heaven with every bite.
This year's Thanksgiving plans fell through at the last minute, so we called up friends of ours who had just spent the last week moving into their new home and asked them if they'd like to come over. I could hear the relief in her voice when I issued the invitation, the bliss of not having to host and worry and cook and worry and clean and worry. I was so excited, I spent the next two days skipping about, telling the Doodle that her "auntie and little boyfriend" were coming over.
The day of dawned and proceeded to be a non-stop marathon of preparing, cooking, testing, sampling, pouring, cleaning, dressing, eating and chasing after the two toddlers that had pretty much taken over the living room. It was chaos on a level I hadn't experienced before (even with MY family), but I loved every minute of it. We ate, we drank (Peninsula Ridge Inox Chardonnay was our other choice; that and the Gamay are our traditional picks for turkey) we ate some more, we told the Doodle for the last time that NO, she couldn't have any pudding until she ate her broccoli. (She was non-plussed at this prospect and made sure we knew about it, in no uncertain terms.)
But it was the being together that mattered the most. This meal, this vast expanse of potatoes and salad and stuffing, was the focal point around which we gravitated. We talked and laughed, sighing as we each took our turns kissing ouchies, picking up thrown food and cleaning up spills. The feeling wasn't rushed, no matter how hectic it seemed. We were together for a holiday, basking in the glow of a well-cooked meal, several glasses of exceptional wine, and our friendship. When they left, I hugged them both fiercely, saying how glad I was that they joined us. That's what I'm thankful for.
Happy Turkey Day, Canada.