Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday – it just doesn’t get any better for someone like me than a day dedicated to food, football, and family. And while the football is still going to be happening on Thursday (though I think Texans-Lions and Washington-Cowboys only barely qualify at this point), it is heartbreaking to me that I won’t be able to join my family this year in North Carolina. Before this year, I couldn’t imagine what a Thanksgiving outside of our house (and without the wonderful food that fills its halls) would look like. I am absolutely going to miss watching the games with my dad, helping out around the kitchen with my mom, and hanging out with my sisters for the better part of a week. But I’ve been lucky enough to start a fabulous little family here in Wisconsin, with my amazing wife Leigha and our two adorable little pups, Tater and Snickerdoodle. Thanksgiving is a reminder to be thankful for the family I have, and I am really taking that to heart.
Another thing I’m thankful for in this unusual Thanksgiving is the chance to make some changes to the usual turkey day menu. First thing to go: the turkey. While I’m sure that the dogs would disagree, I don’t think a huge bird for two people makes a ton of sense. So what am I doing instead? I’m thinking duck, a fellow fowl that feels a little to rich and extravagant for everyday dining. I’m going to be picking up some duck legs from a local butcher shop and attempting this recipe from Bon Appetit. The sides are going to be pretty usual, though I will try to elevate them where I can: Mashed Potatoes (with gravy made from homemade chicken stock and duck fat), Cranberry Sauce (made from scratch using my mom’s recipe), and Green Bean Casserole (using Leigha’s favorite vegetable). We’ll also be trying out two desserts: a fresh cherry pie and bourbon-chocolate-pecan pie bars, with the leftovers getting dropped off to some *ahem* culinarily-challenged friends.
All in all, it’s a reminder that even in these dark times, we can find things to be happy about and ways to connect. I hope you all have a lovely, safe (and delicious) Thanksgiving.