Soon after KK and I got married, we decided that we wanted to forego travel this Thanksgiving and start creating our own traditions for our first big holiday as a family. We started building our menu about a month early, and plans for the rest of the day fell into place just a few days beforehand.
We worked into the wee hours of the morning prepping as much of our meal as possible, then dragged our asses out of bed entirely too early and made our way down to Red Rocket Tattoo (home of the amazing Adam Hays). Red Rocket moved over the summer, and now they have a snazzy shop on the third floor of a building overlooking the intersection of 36th street and 6th avenue: prime viewing real estate for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Good company and tasty breakfast food, too! I religiously watched the parade every year as a kid and still enjoy checking out the balloon inflation when I happen to be in town for the holiday, so it was amazing to see things up close and personal, and without having to deal with the anxiety-inducing crowds. Either way, all those marching bands struggling to stay in formation gave me some pretty unpleasant high school flashbacks.
I intentionally skipped the part of the story where I almost threw a bitch fit at a NYPD officer because he was being a jerk about letting us get to our destination. Luckily, Vinny saved the day. KK’s usually the one with the pre-noon attitude problem, but I’m going to blame my crankiness on a lack of sleep and/or coffee. How ’bout some balloons?
After the parade, we hustled home and cooked the afternoon away. We spent a lot of time worrying about timing our dishes properly so everything would be warm when it came time to serve our guests, but once everyone arrived, we just wanted to be done so we could sit and chat. We had a law student, a radiology tech, an archaeologist, a tattoo artist/future baby daddy, and a library science student in our midst. Again, good company, though there was an inordinate amount of time spent focusing on the fantasy life of our turkey baster.
As far as the meal goes, all went off without a hitch. We made everything from scratch (even the chipotle honey butter for the turkey) and cut not even the smallest of corners. I think our biggest triumphs were the green bean casserole and the Mexican chocolate pecan pie, which we all ate directly from the pie plate. Our biggest failure? Not knowing how to carve the turkey once we got it out of the oven. Oops. Our resident archaeologist figured it out with the help of Huffington Post. The menu AND ridiculous pictures follow:
- chipotle honey turkey and gravy
- sweet potato biscuits
- stuffin’ muffins
- roasted brussels sprouts with pomegranate and hazelnuts
- cranberry walnut relish
- green bean casserole with crispy shallots
- smoked gouda and bacon mashed potatoes
- cheese balls with paprika, walnuts, and chives
- Mexican chocolate pecan pie
- pine nut anise pie
- spicy Pimm’s No. 1 Cup lemonade
- bloody marys made from my super secret, super awesome recipe (which changes at whim)
I don’t think we actually had time to spend thinking of silly traditions to observe over the next many years of our lives, unless you count spending 12 hours in the kitchen a tradition. Maybe we’ll come up with something next year. Either way, we both have a deep appreciation and gratitude for Thanksgiving, and not just because both of our inner fat kids are extremely well-fed, but because it brought us together as a couple rather serendipitously three years ago. It’s a long story, and I’m not telling it now, but it does involve strippers.
The only thing I actually expressed gratitude for on Thanksgiving was the involuntary surrender of Turkey Darren’s life and carcass. I seriously apologized to/thanked that poor dead bird every time I looked at or touched it. Meat eater’s guilt? Anyway, now is as good a time as ever for a quick, belated list of things I’m thankful for: my wife; family and friends; the furry creatures who keep us warm, entertained, and on our toes; the passage of the Marriage Equality Act; the amazing group of people who who put together the Pop Up Chapel; and lastly myself, for finally getting up the balls to quit the job that kept me miserable for four years.
Happy Thanksgiving. Go team!
PS: All of the photos above were originally posted on Instagram. If you’re not following me already, do: @deseraestage.