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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

Whew. I’m pooped. Not just because I decided to take on the task of preparing my family’s entire Thanksgiving dinner, but also because I’ve been eating nonstop since then.The turkey was seasoned on the outside with thyme (and butter) and stuffed with a whole onion, lemon, head of garlic, and bunch of thyme. This 12-pounder only took around 3 hours in total, and came out pretty juicy. It was also more than sufficient to feed the 10 guests in attendance at our Thanksgiving feast, and served as a tasty base to my mom’s jook this morning.

Now let’s talk side dishes. This year, I wanted to go all out on the traditional. Usually, my mom makes our Thanksgiving food half Chinese, half traditional, but I think she wanted to take a break this year, and I figured that hey, if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it right. So I went with cornbread stuffing loaded with onions and sage, an overindulgent green bean casserole, apple cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (not pictured because we forgot the potatoes were boiling outside until after the pictures were snapped…), and my mom covered the roasted asparagus. For dessert, I had to go with the obligatory apple pie–the one I baked on the last day of summer.


All in all, my favorite dish was probably the cornbread stuffing, but the turkey and cranberry sauce were pretty good too. The apples gave the sauce a little somethin’ extra, and added more texture to the mix. I personally thought my first attempt at a green bean casserole was a little too rich, but I think that’s how it was supposed to be, especially considering I cut back on almost half the butter, cheese, and fried onions that were supposed to be in the recipe while simultaneously doubling the amount of green beans.

In celebrating the success of my first full Thanksgiving meal, I owe a lot to my mom, who did the most annoying part of it all: the grocery shopping. I emailed her a list of ingredients that I needed a week ago, and she did an awesome job of gathering everything, even my pickiest request.

Today, the feast continued (as happens in all Chinese families, I’m pretty sure) with the turkey jook I mentioned for breakfast, dim sum for a second breakfast/lunch, vegetarian chili nachos made by my neighbor Tina, and filet mignon with leftover mashed potatoes and steamed green beans for dinner. I think I’ve also personally polished off almost 2 bottles of Martinelli’s sparkling cider, which has been one of my favorite parts of the holiday season since before I can remember. My brother, sister, and I used to literally fight over this stuff, and even though that doesn’t really happen anymore (my mom covered her bases with 4 bottles this year), it still feels like a treat to drink this stuff.

As for what I’m thankful for this year, obviously family, friends, and good health are at the top of the list. Aside from those things, I’m grateful for all the food I’ve been given an opportunity to indulge in (because I know there are so many people in the world who aren’t so lucky) and for all stability I realize my parents have given to my life.

Looking forward, it’s time to turn on those Christmas carols right? I think Brandt and I are planning on having a massive holiday cookie bake fest sometime in the near future…I’m packing up my cookie press and bringing it up to Berkeley in preparation. Hopefully those pesky finals don’t get in the way of our plans.


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