Thursday, October 8, 2009

Turkey Time

Before I get into all the turkey talk I thought I'd let you know that I'll be offering free shipping on all photographs in TMCPhoto this weekend, get a head start on your holiday shopping! As I've been getting our home ready for guests and cooking our Thanksgiving Dinner, this weeks artist feature is on hold but next week's artist is enough to make up for this little break.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and I'm cooking. Up until three years ago turkey dinner was something my Mom cooked and I ate. Up until three years ago the idea of roasting a turkey was an anxiety filled one. I mean that's one big dinner and growing up cooking a turkey seemed like a huge undertaking. I have memories of my parents getting up in the middle of the night to put the bird in the oven. That's a lot of work for dinner; interrupting sleep to get dinner on the table the next day, well not technically but you get the idea.

Every family has their own menu traditions for feast days: cabbage rolls and perogies for those with Ukrainian backgrounds for example. In my family these are the things that are always done:

We baste the turkey with a beer; growing up it was a Pilsner; the super colourful can. My spin; because I like to add my own dash of flavour wherever I can; is to use the husbands latest designer beer of choice or a rich dark stout.

Carrots and turnips are mashed together as a side. This dish is usually added to the plate and only rarely eaten by anyone under the age of 25. I have only recently acquired a taste for it, but I'm not sure if it's nostalgia based or a maturing palette.

Sweet Potatoes are one of those dishes that seem to have regional styles. Up until my mid teens my mom baked them, then mashed them covered them with mini marshmallows and baked them again. Then she topped them with pecans and brown sugar. Up until my mid teens I didn't really like sweet potatoes, once the change was made I changed my mind. I mash my yams with a little orange juice and top with a butter brown sugar mixture that caramelizes nicely.

My Mom stuffs her birds with a simple bread stuffing (onion, celery, bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, and broth) down the neck and store bought uncased sausage meat up the turkey butt if I may put it like that. This year I'm shoving a pork and apple sausage that I had at a friends house a few weeks back; up that butt. There's something so yummy about pork sausage that's been basted and roasted inside a turkey; my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.

Thanksgiving dinner is not complete at my Mom's without what we call Marshmallow Salad. This is a dish that my younger sister would pile onto her plate with a small piece of white meat, a spoon full of potatoes and the bare minimum of vegetable. The ingredients for this dish are 1 bag mini marshmallows, 500ml of sour cream, 1 small can each pineapple pieces and mandarin orange slices with juices drained.

So I'll be cooking dinner this weekend and I'll be making some of those dishes above and leaving some out and putting my own spin on some and making new ones and I won't be getting up in the middle of the night to cook the sucker but I will be putting a lot of love and gratitude into it. It's Thanksgiving after all. What food traditions do you have? Whether your cooking this weekend or next month; will you be trying something new for your feast this year?


Rue said...

Haven't had marshmallow salad since my grandma passed three years ago - sigh. It does seem like something's missing. No one else learned to make it. It was just one of those things that she always did.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

TMCPhoto said...

Rue, I know what you mean, one year Mom decided not to make it and there was an uproar. If you want to try making the salad mix the fruit into the marshmallows and then fold in the sour cream. Let everything sit for a few hours so that the marshmallow start to melt into the cream. Hope your thanksgiving is a good one too

Magpie said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Tami!

Marshmallow salad sounds so good. I've had a sweet tooth ever since I ate dinner and I wish I had some now!! Marshmallow salad sounds like a dish we make called Rosa Marina. Same type of thing with marshmallows and fruit and whipped cream and that little pasta called orzo. Yum!

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