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The 11 Commandments of a THANKSGIVING DINNER ..Food, Fun, and recipes!
CookingWithCarlo.com ^ | Nov 5 2003 | A Dad, Chef, Author, Freeper

Posted on 11/06/2003 12:08:33 PM PST by carlo3b

 
The 11 Commandments of a THANKSGIVING DINNER ..Food, Fun, and recipes!

To-Do's, to make your Holiday brighter..

1) Make a list and check it twice.. Plan your menu in advance, and for heaven sakes write it down.. Pull out the recipes and jot down the ingredients and check to see if you have everything on hand to complete the meal without having to run to the store at the last minute.. Be sure to check the expiration date on spices and milks and dated stuff..
There isn't a good time on the day of a big dinner to run to any store, and the Big guy is usually busy doing Big Guy stuff, with the remote.. sigh.. Make the list of all needed items such as utensils dishes napkins.. etc. For example, next to the specific food, put the dish in which it will be served. Don’t forget decorations, candles, linen, anything you can think of. Something to keep in mind, but only as a guide, Who is on What special Diet?

2) Buy only what you really need.. such as the right size of a Turkey, Ham, Roast, Lasagna, Goose, Peacock.  The bigger is not always the better. Take into account everything that is being served, including anything that is coming from your invited guests, before considering what size main dish, or dishes you are thinking of purchasing.
There is some consideration that should be given to leftovers in your calculations for sure, but think about refrigerator space in the pre preparation and leftovers. With Turkey, the rule of thumb for portions is, 1 pound per person, and 1 cup of dressing per. If eight people are coming to dinner, a 10 to 12-pound bird will do just fine and still provide leftovers.
If you do as we do in our family, you are going to serve 2-3 popular entrees, (Turkey, Ham, Lasagna) you had better remember the last time you had to throw good food away because it was too much to freeze and not everyone wanted all those leftovers to take with them when they left. Consider buying just a breast of turkey instead of the whole turkey. If your family doesn't like dark meat, why waste it? A breast will be faster and easier to cook and carve, and you can still make all of the trimmings. You've not going to pay any attention to me on this  are you? OK go buy BIG BIRD.. whatever..:)

3) Think of the BIG PICTURE when planning what, and how many side dishes you intend to make. I understand that everyone has their own favorite specialty that you make, but do you have to make them all on the same day? If you are going to have leftovers, DUH, plan on making some of those favorites on a subsequent dinner with one of the special leftover recipes that you can prepare. Having a new side dish will make that easier meal so much more special with a favored specialty..

4) Don't be afraid to ask your guests to bring along something for the meal.  Perhaps their favorite side dish or dessert. Specialty breads and rolls come to mind. Those are some of the hardest things to do at the last minute because of the oven space, and don't be shy about suggesting to provide the recipe for a great accompanying bread that complements your planned dinner.. Cornbread comes to mind, or homemade Tiramisu. This is a really great idea for more than the obvious reason, it provides the family or friend with being part of the meal that they can share, and further answers that age old question (if anyone asks it any more) what should I bring to the party.

5) What to drink has to be brought up early in the planning. We usually serve something, a) before dinner, b) with dinner, c) and for sure after dinner, d) and sometimes after, after dinner.. The KISS system is a great idea when planning this stage of the party. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID, is a great gage on what exactly to plan ahead. I mentioned STAGE not by accident. Too much alcohol can and does screw up an otherwise great party. This is a party for everyone, and keeping it light is your responsibility, handle it with forethought.
Special holiday beverages are usually less about booze, and more about celebrating, so get and keep the party fun.. Egg nog, Holiday Wassil, homemade Kahlua ..etc, works wonders and all can be made well in advance. Also with this, the age of specialty Coffees, and Teas, try your hand at a expresso machine, and let them do their own thing.. It will add to the festivities and fun.. BTW, beer is for pizza, wine is for dinning.. :)

6) Easy on the hors d’oeuvres, and canapés. You will be doing everyone a favor. Too much food before dinner will mess up a perfectly great meal, and pi$$ you off big time if everyone doesn't eat. Kids and old folks come to mind. Think again about the Refrigerator, and the oven when planning. Some items that are lite, and need not take up a lot of cooling space, a flower decorated platter, that you can quickly add raw vegetables with a simple dip and perhaps some mixed nuts or olives, even thin chips.

7) Decorating the house, yard, and most important, your table! Order flowers early. This is where the internet comes in really handy for this chore, you'll save a bundle and make everything look like a million bucks. Take advantage of the early bird specials by ordering from a grower, or wholesale. The internet is full of them, with great prices, check those POP UP's before you delete them without reading.. LOLOL.  Simplify decorations too. An attractive floral arrangement for your table, with added green fern and a few loose flowers for platters. How about a simple window decor and something just outside the front door, may be all you need.

8) Frozen items are not a sin.., well, ok but not a mortal sin!  I'm thinking about the great specialty breads and rolls, yikes, even some desserts.. gulp! It’s ok to use some convenience items, after all, we accept canned and frozen vegetables, you may not think about additional items today. There are a few really select items that much too good not to consider today, especially when planning a huge party. Pre trimmed vegetables, Shrimp, crab, lobster are great frozen and really speed up the meal service. Canned chicken, beef, vegetables, or even Turkey stock is perfectly acceptable for gravy or as the base for a soup.
 

9) Plan to pre make as much as possible, and plan you meal around that fact. Be sure that you think about the day, long before it happens. Read the recipes closely not just for the ingredients but for timing. Prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. Start as far out from the actual day of the party as possible. Think about serving times, then work back.
Think about everything else that will be happening at the same time, including when your family and friends will be arriving. Plan to do those recipes that can be done two, three, even four days ahead? What can be the day before? The morning of? Most, if not all, side dishes can be done ahead, then Reheat. Some dishes actually improve in flavor if made in advance. Leave as little as possible to the last minute. Not everything can be put into one microwave, and ovens most ovens have only one compartment so THINK IN ADVANCE... :)

10) Make this and every holiday a dream, not a nightmare.. Plan the day as a special moment that you and your loved ones will remember as that special memory. Make this a day that everyone helps with the fun parts of the preparation and service. Use your best assets in making this party a total success. Hubby and Kids will love it if you have a pre planned easy tasks that are well within there capabilities. Give them a typed timetable and pre assigned fun tasks, like setting the table.. set one place setting the night before and point to it .. LOL. Have dad carve the main courses, and make the beverages, getting everything ready, long before the Football games kick-off. Don't be afraid, just be sure that you leave as little to the imagination as possible when assigning to the family.. Don't be at all ashamed to ask for help, but know in advance what it is your are going to be asking for.. remember that this is your home and only you know where everything is hidden, and where it is put away.. DUH!

11) The best for last.. HIRE A MAID, it is not as expensive as you think, less than $100.00, can make this the best party you ever had. How about to just to clean up, or even serve and clean up, or even cook, serve and clean up, how about a massage...

Bless your heart, have some fun.. Chef Carlo



TOPICS: Food
KEYWORDS: food; foodie; foodies; freeperkitchen; tg; thanksgiving
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Old Fashion New England Roasted Turkey
Orange-Maple Marinated

This wonderful, old northeastern method of marinating the turkey overnight in maple-orange produces a remarkably moist and flavorful bird. Combine the reserved marinade with the pan drippings and reduce to a scrumptious tangy gravy.

Marinade:Turkey: 1) Prepare marinade: In a large bowl, combine orange juice, broth, maple syrup, and bourbon.
2) Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; pat dry.
3) Place turkey in a 2 gallon heavy-duty plastic food storage bag. Carefully pour in marinade. Seal; place in large roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare Turkey: Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
4) Remove turkey from plastic bag and reserve marinade. Insert orange quarters and bay leaves into cavity. Sprinkle salt in cavity. Skewer neck skin to back or tuck wing tips under shoulder joints, holding skin in place. Tie drumstick ends together with string. Place turkey on a wire rack set in a large roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into thigh, making sure it doesn't rest on the bone.
5) Roast turkey until thermometer registers 180 degrees F -- about 3 hours. (Cover turkey loosely with foil if it gets too brown before reaching required temperature.)
6) Remove turkey from oven; transfer to serving platter. Remove and discard oranges and bay leaves.

Let turkey stand at least 20 minutes before carving.
7) Pour reserved marinade into a 2 quart saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Skim and discard any foam from mixture with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced to 3 1/2 cups -- about 15 minutes.
Preparing Gravy.
8) When turkey has been transferred to platter, skim off all but 1/4 cup fat from drippings in roasting pan; stir in the flour until well mixed. Gradually stir in the reduced marinade and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Presenting the masterepiece.
Garnish turkey with whole oranges, orange wedges, bay leaves, and fresh thyme, if desired, and serve with gravy.

Carving the Turkey:
9) Holding a drumstick securely with one hand, use a carving knife to cut through the skin between the thigh and body of the turkey. Gently pull out and back on drumstick, cutting through remaining meat and skin; disjoint and remove drumstick. Repeat with other drumstick. Slice downward along breastbone and rib cage to remove meat on one half of the turkey breast. Cut through turkey, removing the wing. Repeat process, removing remaining breast meat and wing.
10) Place two turkey breast halves on cutting board. Holding breast steady with carving fork, cut slices of breast meat against grain. Transfer slices, wings, and drumsticks to serving platter.
Serving: 12

Recipe from;
Holidays in The House of Carlo


Turkey Stuffing a la Crockpot

When preparing a specialty Turkey as in a fancy marinated, it helps to fix your dressing apart from the bird, and healthier as well.
Preparing your dressing in a crockpot allows you to beat the rush on a holiday morning. Making the stuffing in the slow cooker is one less thing to worry about and it takes up less of that valuable oven space.

1) Melt butter in a skillet and sauté onion, celery, parsley, and mushrooms.
2) Pour over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl.
3) Add all seasonings and toss well. Pour in enough broth to moisten. Add eggs and mix well.
4) Pack lightly into slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low and cook for 6-8 hours.
Serves 12.

Recipe from, Chef Carlo's upcoming cookbook,
Soup, Sex, and the Single Man


Holiday Golden Apples and Yams

"This was so delicious. The three flavors of apples, raisins, and yams combine perfectly and the syrup added just enough sweetness."

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
1) Bake yams 50 minutes or until soft but still hold their shape. Can also be done in the microwave. Let yams cool enough to handle.
2) Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice yams crosswise.
3) In 1 1/2 quart baking dish, alternate apple rings, and yam slices, overlapping edges slightly.
4) In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and spice; stir in orange juice and raisins, and mix well.
5) Heat orange juice mixture over medium heat, stirring until thickened. Pour over apples and yams. Sprinkle with nuts and bake for 10 minutes, add the marshmallows* and bake for additional 10 minutes or until apples and yams are tender.
* (Optional) You may top with miniature marshmallows, it encourages the kids to taste this. Once they do, it becomes their favorite.

Recipe from, Chef Carlo's,
"Chef Carlo Cooks with Kids"


Baked Apple Dumplings Syrup:

Dumpling Crust:Apple filling: 1) Mix syrup ingredients together, except butter.
2) Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and set aside.
3) Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening. Add  the milk all at once. Stir just until moistened.
4) Form into a ball. Roll out into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 6-inch squares.
5) Mix apples with the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Place 1/6 of the apples on center of each square. Moisten edges of dough and fold corners to center top and pinch edges together. Place in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish.
6) Pour the syrup over the dumplings. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender.
Serves 6

Recipe from,  The one and only;
The Clinton Legacy Cookbook

1 posted on 11/06/2003 12:08:34 PM PST by carlo3b
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To: Jim Robinson; Bob J; christie; stanz; jellybean; Angelique; Howie; TwoStep; piasa; Exit148; ...
 
Here is your chance to GET ON or GET OFF this and other Carlo3B, all important..(Bwhahhahahh).. PING LISTS.

If you wish to remain*on it, just sit back and enjoy our wonderful exchange of ideas and you will be alerted whenever we start posting recipes and other valuable info re: various food management threads.
*If you have been flagged to this thread on post #2, you are already on our temporary ping list, other pings don't count... :(

To be removed** or added to the list, simply respond to this post publicly, on this thread, or Freepmail me with your preference.
**If you are annoyed that you were pinged in the first place, please accept my apology, I have lost my ping list because of a computer crash..Grrr, and be assured that your name will be expunged immediately upon your request.. :)

ALL ABOARD....The FUN FOOD TRAIN is leaving the FAT, BEHIND...
(Fat Behind, get it?)..  Hahahahhahaha...  {{{{{crickets}}}}}  *<]8^p~
 
 

2 posted on 11/06/2003 12:11:40 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b
Thanks for the ping!
3 posted on 11/06/2003 12:12:42 PM PST by manna
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To: christie
Many families choose Ham over Turkey, or as in our family we served both. Here is our recipe passed down over the years. It is unknown where we picked up using Sorghum, but my aunt says it may have come from Grandpa. He was a cook while serving in WWI, and his befriending an Army buddy named Clyde who came from Kentucky, also a cook, and a friend that served with him in the Philippines, they stayed in touch with one another for years, and exchange recipes. They said they planned to open a restaurant whose name is abbreviated "SOS"....LOL

Old Fashioned Home baked Country Ham

  • 1 Country Ham, 15-20 pounds
  • 2 Cups Dark Sorghum Molasses
  • 1 Cup Vinegar (Apple Cider)
1) Scrub country ham with stiff brush.
2) Put ham in large pot, or if you are lucky enough to have one, place in a lard stand (large metal container that held lard, an old country shortening used long ago; usually holding 25 pounds) and cover with cold water.
3) Add 1 cup molasses and vinegar.
Allow to soak overnight.
4) Next day, remove ham from water, rinse well and cover with fresh water and the remaining 1 cup of molasses. Cover, place over high heat.  Allow to come to a rolling boil and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove lard stand from heat.  Do Not remove lid!
5) Cover pot or lard stand with newspapers and blankets and allow to stand overnight.
Remove from water.  You can make a glaze from brown sugar, fruit juice and plain flour.
Coat ham and bake (probably at 350; the recipe doesn't specify) till brown.

4 posted on 11/06/2003 12:13:15 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: manna
You are welcome, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degree.
2. Cut the top off one of your garlic heads, to expose the individual cloves. Place on the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzled olive oil over the garlic head.
3. Wrap foil to close securely and bake for 50 minutes. Set aside.
4. Boil red bliss potatoes with skins on. Test with fork for doneness, and drain potatoes.
5. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients. Serve with Pork roast.
Pork Roast:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degree.
2. Blend minced garlic, parsley, oregano and thyme.
3. Using a sharp knife, cut holes in the roast, approximately 1 inch deep, every couple of inches in the entire roast.
4. Fill these "pockets" with your garlic mixture.
5. Place in a roasting pan, with about 1/2 inch of water and season with salt and pepper.
6. Cook for 10 minutes at 425 degree and then lower the oven to 350 degree to cook for an additional 40 minutes. Baste your roast about every 15 minutes.
7. When done, remove roast from pan and let sit about 10 minutes before carving. You can make a gravy using the drippings from the roasting pan.
Serves 4

5 posted on 11/06/2003 12:15:02 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b
You've not going to pay any attention to me on this are you? OK go buy BIG BIRD.. whatever..:)

I am going to listen to your advice, Carlo! Simplifying the menu and meal preparation allows the cook to enjoy the day, instead of lamenting over all of the work.

Thanks for the ping, today. Best wishes.

6 posted on 11/06/2003 12:18:13 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: carlo3b
Thanks for the recipes, Carlo, and just in time. My son is coming home from college this week-end, instead of Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving is too close to the end of the semester and there are no cheap air tickets, so we're having turkey on Sunday.
7 posted on 11/06/2003 12:18:59 PM PST by Eva
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To: carlo3b
Please add me to your list. Thanks!
8 posted on 11/06/2003 12:20:58 PM PST by LuLuLuLu (There is a fine line between genius and insanity, and I've erased it.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Have a great holiday.. Thanks for saying hi!


9 posted on 11/06/2003 12:21:59 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: Eva
Hi Eva, Go for it!


Would it be a holiday without a special lasagna, I say no.. surprise!!  This one is made with tiny meatballs ( ground turkey balls today), sliced hard-cooked eggs, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, and a smooth marinara sauce, encased in layers of lasagna noodles. My family and I rolled hundreds of marble-size meatballs while sitting at the kitchen table, with strong coffee, joking and singing.


A Roman Holiday Lasagna

Turkey Balls

10 posted on 11/06/2003 12:23:20 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b
Alas, we are leaving town so it's Golden Corral for us.
11 posted on 11/06/2003 12:24:11 PM PST by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: carlo3b

12 posted on 11/06/2003 12:24:13 PM PST by Soaring Feather (Poets are in The Dragon Flies' Lair)
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To: LuLuLuLu
You are on. Welcome!

LuLuLuLu

 
Non-Alcoholic Wassail
(Great for kids, too)
  • 2 qts. apple juice (not cider)
  • 2 c. orange juice (fresh, not frozen)
  • 1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 c. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 t. cloves
  • 1/2 of 3" cinnamon stick
Combine in Dutch oven. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Uncover, then simmer 20 minutes. Strain and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve hot.
Reheats nicely. I omit the cinnamon stick when I'm making it for me and my husband - while we like cinnamon, I don't like it in drinks.

13 posted on 11/06/2003 12:28:44 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b
<p<Thank for the ping Carlo. The corn recipe sounds scrumptious! Have to have something with corn for Thanksgiving or dinner is not complete.
14 posted on 11/06/2003 12:29:01 PM PST by varina davis
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To: AppyPappy
I'll have leftovers for you my FRiend, have a great Holiday

 

Remembering Thanksgiving

The Mayflower  1620- 2002

The voyage of the Mayflower in 1620 from Plymouth England, to Plymouth Rock started as a journey to find peace and justice in a new world. It began as a fervent prayer to give freedom a chance, and remains today as the promise each year for a new beginning. Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of hope, and remembrance.
Today, we bring our families and friends together to share our tables and our hearts, and give thanks for all that we have to be grateful for in our new and glorious country. From this grand experiment and it's courageous settlers, to the greatest nation of the world, we have a lot to be thankful for, indeed.

Remembering our Thanksgiving Feasts

My earliest memory of Thanksgiving was the fuss of preparation of the wonderful food being prepared in advance of our holiday feast. Being a traditional Italian American, midwestern home, a full cornucopia of cookies of every ethnicity was in abundance. Thanksgiving morning was a special treat with a home filled with the scent of baking bread, and roasted turkey which transformed our tiny cold water flat in "Little Italy" on the lower East side of Chicago into a 3 room palace.

Everyone was involved, family and friends, young and old, with 4 generations of our own majestic women. An unspoken but respected hierarchy prevailed, with the eldest women in control, and a dance like rhythm appeared to take charge of this traditional and noble endeavor.  It didn't take long before our small kitchen and dinning room filled, and every flat surface was covered. People scurried into the hallway, where neighbors shuffled pans and pots in and out of their homes to their own kitchens to make room for more, always more so everyone could share in the abundance.

The Preparations

Preparation started days earlier, with the making of the pasta. I recall my great aunt bringing in the clothesline from our back porch, the one that strung across the small yard to the adjacent porch and back. She washed and bleached this cord to string across our living and dining rooms, from sconces to chandelier, and doorjambs to windowsills. It was strung as tight as possible to hold the pounds of  lasagna noodle, and spaghetti needed to hang dry, to satisfy the hearty Italian appetites. I recall as if it were yesterday listening to our nightly radio programs with the shadows of stringing pasta on the faded floral wallpaper, lending an eerie overtone to the Green hornet, or Gangbusters.

How could I ever forget opening my eyes in the morning with the sight of hanging pasta overhead, but then, why in the world would I want to forget that magical moment after all, and what it meant to a young boy that a wonderful and glorious holiday was just around the corner?

Our Family and Friends

Each family was represented in the choice of menu items. Every wonderful cook in each branch of the family offered to prepare their own special version of the chosen food. This made for a memorable feast indeed, there were at least 4 successful individual restaurant owners in our family. The competition was playful and fun filled, with chunks of bread, ladles, and spoons dipping into everything, testing, tasting, and teasing.

The Cooks

It should not be construed that the food preparation was the exclusive provence of our family women, to do so would be to underestimate the culinary contributions of some of the finest cooks in the clan. A few of my uncles, cousins and grandpa were cooks in the Army, Navy, and Marines, as well as in their own restaurants. My great uncle served as a cook in the Italian army, then captured and recruited to cook in the prisoner-of-war camp, when upon his release, served 2 tours as a cook in the US Marines during The Korean War.

Whatever greatness the men may have achieved in the outside world, the kitchen was ruled by those formidable, yet diminutive, strikingly gorgeous, black clad matriarchs of the family. Great grandmothers from both sides of the lineage, grandmothers, great grandmother-in-laws, and great great aunts. Man I'll tell ya, it was a sight to behold at best, and an Italian culinary rivalry at least. Although sharing an Italian heritage, the 6 uncles married outside the Calabrian niche, creating a scrumptious provincial food fight.

The Kids

Children weren't immune from the holiday chores. Chairs were pulled up to the stove for short perpetual stirrers. The teens were given the sink, for the neverending pots and pans, and preteens were runners for last minute fetches and food deliveries. I was honored almost exclusively with the delivery of food for the church and hospital shut-ins because I had the bike with a giant basket. Trying to describe my cousins and most of the local kids wasn't hard, the first thing I recall was, hair, lots of black hair, big doe eyes, dozens of beautiful children with wide grins. At least one kid, sometimes more, was forced to bring his or her accordion, and at every holiday gathering some poor child was browbeaten into playing "Lady Of Spain"!

The Holiday Table

Serving 30-40 people, in a one bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor, rear, walkup, was a challenge, but doable. It took the coordination of most of our wonderful neighbors, and the cooperation of all of the residence, which were always invited anyway.  Everyone brought pots, pans, dishes, and utensils, at least a chair, and some brought their kitchen tables. Everyone brought something eatable, most were prearranged as in bread, but some were heirloom dessert recipes, enough for at least a good spoonful, for everyone to get a taste. Older adults, always got a chair at the table, all adults got a seat, and kids sat at the card tables, on the stairs or on a carpet in front of the radio in one of the neighbors homes.

The Prayer

All kids had to be within earshot of the saying of the formal Grace before dinner. Then everyone recited their own prayer in various languages of their native tongue. Our family and friends were of many faiths and nationalities, the overwhelming majority of coarse were Italian. Most remembered a loved one not present, and the names of every absent serviceman and woman were individually read aloud. With all heads bowed, everyone gave thanks for the wonderful gifts of food and health, and each and every person present, gave a special thanks and how grateful they were for being in the United States of America.

Our Family

Any good excuse to gather the clan in our family was and still is, paramount. Weddings, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births, baptisms and unfortunately funerals are used as good excuses to get together and, you guessed it.... eat. This is usually done at the familial home of eldest member of the family. The Italian family circle is close and tight, and many families still living within their hometown, even today, live within walking distance of one another. In our family, as in many, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins grow as one family unit.

The elders live within the homes of their offspring or siblings. The hierarchy is established by the ability of the surviving parents to have living arrangements central to the greatest number of kids and kin. Love of family is the reason, and love of food is the cement. Thanksgiving is one of the most popular days of the year, and has been since my earliest memory. Even today as I did with my parents in my youth, I talk to each of my 5 children and grandchildren, almost everyday, and have even when we lived thousands of miles away... I am truly blessed.

The Food

Food for an Italian holiday is second to only to the family. Present at every holiday feast were several types of entree, lasagna, ham, veal, and one or more specialty pasta and of course the giant stuffed Turkeys. There were Kosher dishes aplenty for our many Jewish friends. Our next door neighbor kept a Kosher kitchen and always shared their wonderful food with us as we did in return. Not counted as entrees were homemade sausages, meatballs, and grilled peppers. A strange calzone, one I recall with nuts and octopus was always somewhere on the table as was braciole (Italian beef rolls, and great cannoli desserts were always compliments of our Sicilian side of the family).

Salads and antipasto were a mainstay, with favorites cellentani con Insalata di Peperoni (cellentani with pepper salad), and the ever popular soups, usually a bean, as in minestrone. Breads, rolls, pizza and a mixed variety of biscotti, were always in abundance. Side dishes were a meal in themselves. A vast array of vegetables prepared as specialty items, like artichoke and bacon frittata rounded out every holiday meal. Even our popular lasagne, the recipe that created a chain of famous restaurants, has broccoli or spinach as a principle ingredient to the recipe. Desserts... oh my, great custards, and pastries, ice creams and cakes such as lemon berry tiramisu or frittelle di zucca (pumpkin fritters)
 

The Moment of Truth

My grandfather sat at the head of the table, and next to him sat a gallon jug of his homemade Italian red wine. Almost everyone seated for dinner were given a glass of his wine, if only for the many toasts that were posed, to the cooks and a milieu of other celebrations. The moment of truth came when he would call the name of the boys that he felt were to be worthy of manhood, a scholarship know only to him, usually by some unknown merit method. If you attained that status in his trusted eye, he would invite you to accept a glass of wine and he would toast your new position and with everyone's applause you drank a glass and thanked him.

When my moment came, I had just turned 10, and having worked with him on his paper stand in downtown Chicago for 3 years and to my surprise he felt I was ready! Proudly I swallowed a huge gulp, and felt the heat go down my throat and explode at the core of my stomach and began to rush back up. I forced a smiled and swallowed again and hugged him as tight as I could, until my uncle secretly handed me a chunk of bread, which I bit into and forced down before I let my pa loose, perhaps in the nick of time because he slapped me on the back and everything went back down...  I never drank another drop of his wine, but accepted his offer to take a glass each time he offered it until he passed a year later. How I loved that man.

The Carving

At each end of the long tables were placed huge turkeys. The head of the households were given the honor of carving these beautifully prepared, golden trophies. It was a ritual and with surgical skills each bird was sliced and distributed to all in attendance until nothing remained but the bare bones. At the conclusion of this wonderful occasion, the men stood and with glasses raised toasted the blushing ladies as we sang... in our best voice, and in Italian, a song dedicated to our wonderful women,  .. "Mamma"


15 posted on 11/06/2003 12:31:21 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b
You rock, Carlo! heheheh

BTTT
16 posted on 11/06/2003 12:33:48 PM PST by hattend
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To: carlo3b
HIRE A MAID, it is not as expensive as you think, less than $100.00,

Hahahaha! Where do you live, Carlo? Here in Leftielibland, maids don't exist. Hourly household executive directors (!) charge much more than that. Alas!

I love your New England Maple-BOURBON marinade. Definitely going to make it! A French friend who came to one THXGVG dinner at my place dumped huge quantity of bourbon into the gravy, much to my dismay....it was delish.

I love cranberry sauce made with nice red wine instead of water. Any suggestions for the best (inexpensive) wine to make cranberry sauch with?

17 posted on 11/06/2003 12:39:47 PM PST by PoisedWoman (Fed up with the CORRUPT liberal media)
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To: varina davis
So good to see you my dear girl..

 

Real Homemade Turkey Gravy
  • 1 package neck, heart, gizzard from turkey giblets
  • 1 medium carrot thickly sliced
  • 1 medium onion thickly sliced
  • 1 medium celery rib thickly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 turkey liver
  • 3 tablespoons fat from poultry drippings
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a 3-quart saucepan, place neck, heart, gizzard, vegetables, and salt in enough water to cover, and cook over high heat.
2. Heat to boiling.
3. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Add the liver and cook for 15 minutes longer.
5. Strain broth into a large bowl; cover and reserve broth in the refrigerator.
6. To make gravy, remove the cooked turkey and roasting rack from the roasting pan. Pour the poultry drippings through a sieve into a quart size measuring cup.
7. Add 1 cup giblet broth to the roasting pan and stir until the crusty brown bits are loosened.
8. Pour the deglazed liquid/broth into the measuring cup.
9. Let the mixture stand a few minutes, until the fat rises to the top.
10. Over medium heat, spoon 3 tablespoons of fat from the poultry drippings into a 2-quart saucepan.
11. Whisk flour and salt into the heated fat and continue to cook and stir until the flour turns golden.
12. Meanwhile, skim and discard any fat that remains on top of the poultry drippings.
13. Add the remaining broth and enough water to the poultry drippings to equal 3-1/2 cups.
14. Gradually whisk in warm broth mixture.
Cook and stir, until the gravy boils and is slightly thick.
Makes 14 servings at 1/4 cup per serving.

18 posted on 11/06/2003 12:39:52 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: bentfeather
Just for you my sweet girl.. :)


19 posted on 11/06/2003 12:41:55 PM PST by carlo3b (http://www.CookingWithCarlo.com)
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To: carlo3b

Was love a morning
moving a horizon
to cover a sea
silenced love
in cool soft stillness?

****************
bentfeather
a/k/a LHM
Copyright © 2003
All Rights Reserved

Just for you Carlo!



20 posted on 11/06/2003 12:45:49 PM PST by Soaring Feather (Poets are in The Dragon Flies' Lair~~)
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