Life is complex; these days, more so than ever. Planning my family’s Thanksgiving dinner provides an escape hatch, if only for a moment. I can contemplate menu challenges instead of what course America should take to balance the budget.
For instance, my husband, Richard, wants mashed sweet potatoes and the kids want yukon golds. Two potatoes are redundant, so I take the kids’ side. I’m already making gravy for the turkey, and gravy tastes great with the standard white mashers. Sweet potatoes and gravy? Unh-uh. We’ll go with the white; take one for the team.
He’s not one to suffer defeat lightly. He then requested baked apples — his mother always made them on Thanksgiving. He quoted me saying that a festive fall menu that didn’t include local apples was a gross omission. Using my words to get his way is dirty politics. Sorry, I’m in control of this operation, bud. I have enough on my plate, so to speak.
And then I remembered. Richard washes all of the dishes; every last one of them. What if he decides that’s too many plates, so to speak. He could go on strike, stretch out on the couch, and watch football. Panic set in; time to get creative.
If I dressed up the sweet potatoes, and housed them in a baked apple, it would be completely different than a mound of mashed potatoes. Furthermore, it would decorate the Thanksgiving plate with colors of burnt orange and reds. Richard’s also a nutrition junkie — even, sadly, on holidays.
So I made a test batch keeping the fat to a minimum. They were delicious, and the flavors of apple, sweet potatoes and orange will be a lively foil for the expected flavors of turkey, gravy and stuffing.
The gift to me was discovering the little gems may be made a day in advance. Partially bake them, cover, and refrigerate. Prior to serving, put them back into the oven and cook until tender.
This Thanksgiving my family compromised, coming up with a plan that will make everyone happy. If our government could be as creative and conciliatory, maybe something could get done about the deficit and job crisis. But, in the meantime, should I bake pumpkin or cherry pie?