St. Martin’s Ministries Distributes “Good and Cheap” Cookbooks

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House Resident, Zymira Lofland (with help from her daughter) preparing a recipe from Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day

A resident of Saint Martin’s House, staff and volunteer Charlotte Hawes are making a special effort to provide food pantry clients with new ways to prepare some familiar foods this week.

For Christmas some of the families who come to Saint Martin’s Ministries for emergency food received the Kickstarter project cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day by Leanne Brown. Good and Cheap started as a free PDF cookbook for people with tight budgets, especially people receiving SNAP/Food Stamp benefits. The Kickstarter project funded a print run using a “get one, give one system” and has resulted in almost 9,000 printed copies donated to people in need.

Saint Martin’s purchased copies of Good and Cheap at the non-profit discounted rate and is sharing them with clients this holiday season. Jean Austin, CEO of Saint Martin’s Ministries, said, “It is a lovely cookbook with beautiful pictures and simple, tasty recipes. Often the food we are able to provide through government sources and the food bank is very plain. Leanne’s book demonstrates how to make basic foods taste better with spices and a variety of cooking techniques. There is an emphasis on healthier approaches such as turning a can of vegetables into a spread and serving it on whole wheat toast.”

Volunteer Charlotte Hawes gives out samples and a copy of the cookbook that provides families easy nutritious recipes to make on a food stamp budget.

Volunteer Charlotte Hawes gives out samples and a copy of the cookbook that provides families easy nutritious recipes to make on a food stamp budget.

Saint Martin’s House resident Zymira Lofland who has a background in culinary arts prepared several of the recipes from the book for clients of the emergency food pantry to try. Residents of

Saint Martin’s House establish personal goals to help themselves become self-sufficient. Zymira’s goal is to establish a catering business.

Located in Ridgely, Saint Martin’s Ministries has been helping people in poverty for more than 30 years by providing access to emergency food, inexpensive clothing and household goods, and supporting families who need assistance with housing. Visit www.stmartinsministries.org for more information.

Food Friday: Home for the Holidays Baking

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I don’t know if it is the great New England guilt instilled in me during my childhood, but it seems as if it is cheating and self-indulgent to buy Christmas cookies. It is fine fifty weeks out of the year to pick up a crackly package of Oreos, or Pepperidge Farm Milanos to have around as the little bit of a sweet after dinner. And it is good for your soul and the spirit of Juliette Gordon Low to buy from those cute, yet oh, so extortionist Girl Scouts peddling Thin Mints from wobbly card tables in front of the grocery store. (Although soon you are going to be able to stock up on Girl Scout cookies online. Waistbands will be let out and Fitbits will find themselves stashed in drawers!)

At the holidays we can exude all the confidence and patience of leisurely home bakers, who know their way around pastry bags and macarons, who can bake with cool expertise, with a keen eye for decorations and original flavor combinations. Cardamon anyone? But we don’t have to have Martha’s skills, or her penchant for perfection. We are welcoming the children home, with open arms. Home-baked cookies smell like home. At the end of a long day of work, after dinner and between loads of laundry and Scandal, we can start to lay in a temporary supply of the childhoods that shot out the door, faster than any of us expected. All these memories distilled into a few batches of slightly irregularly-shaped and sketchily decorated cookies, to show everyone how much we love them.

And then you must consider your gluten-free guests and newly significant others, and those who are swearing off chocolate, and those allergic to nuts, the sugar-free vegans and the merely sensible. I bought two pounds of butter yesterday in anticipation of baking, when there are just two human beings living in this house right now. Somehow the ratio just doesn’t seem right. We must bake for the approaching locust swarm.

We will be entertaining a houseful of young folk, thank goodness, who have been surviving on their own marginal cooking skills, with a generous side of cheap take out. I am hoping most of the fattening baking will be Hoovered up, if not appreciated and savored, with glancing thoughts of the second grade, and rolling cookie dough on the kitchen counter, learning to sift, learning to use cookie cutters. And the fine art of sprinkles!

Perhaps we will even be asked for recipes! I am definitely going to try those Bacon Fat Ginger Cookies I mentioned last week, as well as some old favorites. There is something very satisfying about a sheet of warm, crumbly shortbread. We might dandy it up this year by dipping some in melted chocolate, and indulging in a smackeral of dragées and aforementioned sprinkles.

I am also going to try some of Nigella’s Intense Chocolate cookies. They sound divine, and look divinely simple to prepare, too. Simple is key, especially when you suddenly veer from comfortably cooking for two, to preparing fuel for the endless maw that defines several recent college graduates and a couple of sleep-deprived new parents.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/intensechocolatecook_87336

I have been watching some episodes of The Great British Bakeoff which I cannot recommend too highly – it will start here on PBS under an Americanized name on Sunday, December 28, so do look for it. I have never been a reality show fan, but this has seized my attention and grabbed me by the lapels. It has gotten me thinking about balance. So instead of just sweet, over-the-top cookies, I will also be baking some savoury biscuits, to use the proper toffee-nosed parlance. Cocktails will be served, and crisp cheese biscuits are never amiss in my drawing room.

Simon Hopkinson’s Easy Cheesy Biscuits

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/parmesan_biscuits_54963

Shortbread cookies

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/shortbread-cookies-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Here are all sorts of Christmas cookie possibilities for your own Christmas bakeoff: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/desserts/slideshow/cookies-cookies-cookies/?slide=1

Bacon Fat Ginger Cookies
http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017041-bacon-fat-gingersnaps

“They were almond cookies, although they could have been made of spinach and shoes for all I cared. I ate eleven of them, right in a row. It is rude to take the last cookie.”
― Lemony Snicket, Who Could That Be at This Hour?

Pet of the Month: Kai

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Kai-2His soulful, golden eyes look into you the second you meet. You can tell Kai is more interested in establishing a connection with you than anything else. Our staff feel terrible whenever they have to place Kai back in his shelter kennel; he gets so lonely inside of it.
More than anything, Kai wants to be in the company of humans, and he’ll make quite a fuss to let everyone know he’s unhappy. That’s why Kai is usually the dog you’ll first meet when you come to the shelter these days. Our staff place him in the lobby, where Kai becomes an entirely different dog as long as a human is in his line of sight. As calm as can be, he’ll curl up in a nearby bed (or chair!) and take a nap.
Kai is happiest on a high perch—he enjoys watching the coming and goings from the highest spot in the room, be it a file cabinet, box or desk. When HSKC staff members take Kai out to the play yard to throw a ball around, he doesn’t chase it, preferring instead to sit next against someone and kiss their hands. Companionship and affection mean much more to Kai than play time.
This good-natured Staffordshire Terrier mix was surrendered by his former owners who could no longer care for him. Having come into the shelter housebroken, the HSKC staff members know how smart he is. Kai would thrive in a home surrounded by people who are around most of the time.
Day after day, Kai sits and waits and hopes his forever family appears at the shelter soon, so he doesn’t have to go through another night in the kennel by himself. Stop in and share a few moments with Kai at the shelter soon—it will surely brighten your day!
Learn more about Kai and all of the adoptable animals at HSKC by visiting The Humane Society of Kent County website at www.kenthumane.com, following the organization’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/kenthumane, or by calling 410-778-3648.

 

Spy Reconnaissance: Eastern Shore Food Hub with President Cleo Braver

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The idea of a food hub has been an active one for over seven years for Eastern Shore Food Hub’s president Cleo Braver. A center for aggregating locally grown crops from local farms at competitive costs with larger producers in the Mid-Atlantic, it has always been kind of a no-brainer for her with the Delmarva with its abundance of agriculture.

And it has been that kind of long term commitment that continues to motivate Braver in the face of losing a few allies in the November election in her efforts to create a food hub center in Easton and training farm in Kent County. With now over 300 food hubs successfully operating throughout the country, Braver remains optimistic that as more residents of the Mid-Shore hear about the program, it will be embraced as an essential part of the farming community.

In her Spy interview, Cleo talks about the importance of re-creating a regionalization of produce, the general business model of a food hub, the primary elements of the Food Hub’s programs, and her hopes for moving forward with the town of Easton in 2015 to build the Hub’s center.

This video is ten minutes in length

The Disease of Bulbitus by Bobbie Brittingham

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Now I lay them down so deep.
Waiting to wake from winter’s sleep.
Bringing forth a dazzling bright sight.
When spring breaks thru the long dark night.

Now you have to laugh at that. Really now. Come on, that is a ridiculous poem.

Yes, I agree. It is bad! But the reality is that planting bulbs in the fall is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do in the garden. The daffodil, tulip, lily, iris, crocus, hyacinth, scilla, allium, cassia, Muscari, are relatively easy to grow. The effort put into the correct planting is tripled when they start to poke thru the ground and the anticipation grows with each day as you watch them stretch their leaves toward the warming sun, enjoying the freedom from the cold. It is almost too late to plant now but as long as the ground is not frozen and you can get a spade in it you can put those little buggers in the ground.

I have been working diligently on the multitude of boxes of bulbs that started arriving in September. Why did I not heed the admonishment of my friends and NOT order so many bulbs? I CAN”T. I have this disease called Bulbitus. It is not my fault. I inherited this awful affliction. There is no cure. I guess I wouldn’t take a cure even if there were one. To me bulbs are really wonderful. Looking the catalogues and dreaming how beautiful they would look growing in my garden. When I come across a new one, it casts this mesmerizing spell over me, and I have to give in this addiction. Maybe I will order just a few. OK! That will hold me. Maybe a few more of the same variety or even a different one, because you should have more than a few to make a statement, and really, that is what I want anyway. So I add a few more to the order. Then I turn the page, and the same thing happens. I can’t get away from it. So I give into this stronghold the colorful bulb catalogue pages have on me. OK next…

Remember this started in September or really in March and April. The devious bulb company knows that as the spring garden starts to bloom, it is the best time to start grooming a gardener with this Bulbitus condition. They know we see where there is an empty space that should have a different color or size bloom to make the garden look like their pictures. NOT !!!! …. Never has any garden of mine looked like the pictures, and most likely never will. But these bulb companies keep sending the catalogue just to feed the addiction.

Now nearly December or rather it is December, and I have just planted the last of my bulbs. You must understand too that I have had this disease for a long time, and since I have not the slightest idea how to cure myself ( unless the bank forecloses ) the UPS , Airborne, and USPS, keep bring me these heavy boxes that I know can’t be for me because I already have several hundred or very possibly thousands . Must be a mistake. But a lovely mistake anyway … I will accept it.

Besides planting bulbs in the garden, I have planted most of the large pots that had annuals in them. You cab layer different bulbs in one pot. Start with the largest and latest blooming on the first layer about 6/8 inches deep and cover with soil and then build up another layer of different bulbs. Cover up each layer with soil. The earliest and smallest should be the last layer. Covering all the layers with soil, a good drink, and a little mulch or leaves will keep this pot in good condition. Leave it outside for the winter with a little protection. And then as the bulbs start to emerge in the early spring, bring the pot into a prominent place where you can watch them bloom their heads off. It is a little gem of a garden just for your enjoyment.

You can also force some bulbs to bloom earlier than normal by doing the same method and bring them into the garage or another like place as soon as they start to show a little green thru the soil. Keep cool and moist, but not freezing for several days to an about a week, then move the pot inside to a sunny location and have the fun of beating mother nature to the punch.
T
The gorgeous amaryllis is another great bulb to grow and takes near to nothing as far as work. The only thing is not to plant it too deep and not to over water it. They can rot easily with too much water. After it blooms cut the stalk off and treat it like any other house plant. In the late spring, you can put it outside, water and fertilize as a good gardener should. Then in the fall cut the leaves off, let it dry out in a cool dark location for a resting period of six to eight weeks or more if you forget where it is, as I always do. Then start to water a little leaving in a cool place with a little more light. When green shows again take inside, and it will bloom all over again.

The amaryllis will be ok in the same pot for about two years but will outgrow it by a third. It could even have a few off spring attached ( as they usually do ) to the mother plant. These can be removed and planted the same as the parent plant. It will take a year or two for these young ones to bloom, but they will. THEN if you keep this up you too will have more than you know what to do with. I have found a good solution to this dilemma. They will do very well in a pot or in the ground for a striking summer bloom. Plant as you would any other summer bulb. Grow in a large pot with other big leave or blooming plants, and you will have an exotic look for the summer pots.

If there is a remedy, therapy or treatment for Bulblitus that is available please don’t tell me. I completely enjoy this affliction, and it has such beautiful consequence.

Food Friday: Chicken Schnitzel

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I’m not quite ready to get into all the fussy details of holiday baking just yet. Though I am reading the many, many stories that abound about cookies and other holiday bakes. I will probably fall back on the usual suspects: my grandmother’s gingersnaps, some butter cookies (I bought a new cookie press – and we know it is all about the toys!) and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, because years ago our children eschewed the somewhat healthier oatmeal raisin cookies. We have very strong opinions about food in our house. Here is a recipe I intend to try out – it sounds too outrageous to ignore: Bacon Fat Gingersnaps! http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017041-bacon-fat-gingersnaps

But back in the kitchen, I was searching for the solution to a non-holiday cooking dilemma. We gave up veal years ago. I suppose it is possible to overthink everything, but our views about how animals are raised have been validated by the newer proponents of humane treatment of animals. That being said, sometimes we missed the crispy goodness of weiner-snitzel and the richness of veal marsala, and made up our own recipes substituting chicken cutlets for the veal.

Last weekend I had half of a pound of thin chicken cutlets that I bought from the butcher’s shop, which was a pricey food investment. Otherwise you can buy thin boneless chicken breasts at the grocery store, and pound them thin, using up your pent-up holiday aggressions and a sturdy rolling pin. Sometimes we managed to meet our schnitzel-ly ideals, and sometimes we miss. We had dubbed our feeble and ever-evolving concoctions “Chicken Schnitzel”, thinking we were oh, so clever. And with the expensive butcher cutlets I did not want to chalk up another miss, so I rooted around the Internet looking for a recipe that would save the day. I typed “chicken schnitzel” into my browser, and imagine my surprise when Thomas Keller’s recipe for “Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel” was the first that bounded into sight! More validation!

Sometimes I am a lackadaisical cook. I can go overboard and over-bread the chicken, so reflexively, among the misses there has been a long-running series of chicken misadventures. I have tried preparing schnitzel-ly chicken that I soaked in milk and then dredged in salt and pepper seasoned flour before frying. It was light, but it wasn’t a crispy schnitzel. Sometimes I have used plain breadcrumbs, or seasoned breadcrumbs. Sometimes I dipped the chicken in mayonnaise and then coated it with smashed up canned fried onion rings. Sometimes I read the backs of too many packages.

Thomas Keller’s recipe for Chicken Schnitzel was everything I hoped for. The brown butter and lemon caper sauce was perfect for adding a sweet nuttiness, without wilting the snappy panko crunch. We also had a side of creamy risotto and a small green salad along with candlelight and cheap white wine. And it was fast and easy to prepare – the cooking time for the chicken was only about 15 minutes. The risotto, which I can never gauge correctly, took about half an hour. Luckily, for once I had factored that in, and actually prepared it ahead of the chicken. It sat warming on the stove while I flipped the cutlets with skill, aplomb and many splatters. Add this to your easy peasy file: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/panko-coated-chicken-schnitzel

Next week we will get to holiday baking, really.

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
― M.F.K. Fisher

The Kitchen at The Imperial Starts New Era

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Steve and Monica Quigg

Steve and Monica Quigg

The Kitchen at the Imperial restaurant opened for business Friday night to an enthusiastic and approving crowd of over one hundred diners.

“It went really well,” says Chef-Manager Steve Quigg. “The place was in great shape when we opened. Steve Meehan did a beautiful renovation job, all the contractors were fantastic meeting our deadline, and the staff was willing and able.”

Quigg credits the successful opening with a sense of camaraderie he has discovered in Chestertown and the help he and Monica have personally received.

“Monica and I are really of the opinion that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and would like to see Chestertown become a culinary destination point. J.R. at the Lemon Leaf is a good friend. He spent hours helping us with our layout and we want to compliment each other rather than compete with each other. People will return to town and try out different venues.”

One addition was to knock out a wall in the bar section to open up the room and to give it into a tapas-tavern ambiance by offering 25 shared plates including House Made Tortellini, Classic Arancina, Jumbi Lumped Crab Balls, and Braised Octopus. “We’re also vegetarian friendly and can put together some great vegetarian specials,” Quigg adds.

Dinner entrees run the gamut from Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes to Braised Lamb Shanks or Seared Beef Tenderloin. Of course, you can start them with Thyme Infused Mushrooms or their famous Kitchen Crab Dip. Their solid wine list should also please everyone.

Examples of last weeks Dinner Specials are Crispy Skinned Rockfish and Jumbo Dry Sea Scallops. Quiqq notes that the special will change weekly.

Lunches offer lighter fare with soups and salads, Tenderloin Quesadilla, Fish and Chips, Truffled Mushroom Quiche and seven sandwich choices.

A Sunday Brunch is also served from 10AM-3PM.

Formerly, the Quiggs ran the Kitchen at Rock Hall and received some serious awards including Best Crabcakes from “What’s Up Eastern Shore” three years in a row.

Many of their Rock Hall clientele have already followed the couple to Chestertown and the Quiggs look forward to meeting new diners weekly.

Pointing out the newly added service window along the main corridor of the restaurant, Quigg says that he likes to spend time personally greeting the customers and that the service window gives him a vantage point to observe dinners as they come in.

“My customers become my friends,” Quigg says. “Personal interaction is important. If I can help make their dining experience better, that’s what it’s all about.”

Except for bread, the Quiggs make everything from scratch using local providers for fish and farm fresh vegetables. But even bread will become a signature piece.

“We’re talking with Doug Rae and Evergrain Bakery about fresh bread for The Kitchen.

The Spy welcomes Moncia and Steve Quigg to the community and looks forward to their grand success in helping make Chestertown a culinary star on the Eastern Shore map.

Open Wednesday through Monday—only closed Tuesday, The Kitchen at the Imperial. Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday nights. For reservations call 410-778-5000.

Food Friday: Love the Leftovers

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And here we are, the day after Thanksgiving. Post-parade, post-football, post-feast. Also post-washing up. Heavens to Betsy, what a lot of cleaning up there was. And the fridge is packed with mysterious little bundles of leftovers. We continue to give thanks that our visiting college student is an incessant omnivore. He will plow systematically through Baggies of baked goods, tin foiled-turkey bits, Saran wrapped-celery, Tupperwared tomatoes and wax papered-walnuts.

It was not until the Tall One was in high school that these abilities were honed and developed with ambitious ardor. His healthy personal philosophy is “Waste not, want not.” A sentiment I hope comes from generations of hardy New Englanders as they plowed their rocky fields, dreaming of candlelit feasts and the iPhones of the future.

I have watched towering constructions of food rise from the plate as he constructs interesting arrangements of sweet, sour, crunchy and umami items with the same deliberation and concentration once directed toward Lego projects. And I am thankful that few of these will fall to the floor and get walked over in the dark. Of course, now there is the dog, Luke, so nothing much makes it to the floor.

I have read that there may have been swan at the first Thanksgiving. How very sad. I have no emotional commitment to turkeys, and I firmly belief that as beautiful as they are, swans are mean and would probably peck my eyes out if I didn’t feed them every scrap of bread in the house. Which means The Tall One would go hungry. A veritable conundrum.

The Pilgrim Sandwich is the Tall One’s magnum opus. It is his turducken without the histrionics. It is a smörgåsbordwithout the Swedish chef. It is truly why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Please keep in mind that the dark ooze in the illustration of the sandwich above this story is not my rich, homemade gravy, made after many hours of precise turkey basting. It is barbecue sauce, from a bottle, without which, no decent, self-respecting Pilgrim Sandwich (in our house) is devoured. And pray note the unique side dishes: corn bread and a spare pig-in-blanket. Round One of Leftovers vs. The Tall One.

This is way too fancy and cloying with fussy elements – olive oil for a turkey sandwich? Hardly. You have to use what is on hand from the most recent Thanksgiving meal – to go out to buy extra rolls is to break the unwritten rules of the universe. There are plenty of Parker House rolls in your bread box right this minute – go use them up!
http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=4202

This is a recipe for simpletons. Honestly. And was there Muenster cheese on the dining room table yesterday? I think not.
http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/2012/11/pilgrim-sandwiches.html

And if you are grown up and sophisticated, here is the answer for you. Fancy Thanksgiving leftovers for a grown up brunch:http://www.saveur.com/article/Menu/A-Brunch-For-The-Day-After-Thanksgiving

Here are The Tall One’s ingredients for his signature Pilgrim Sandwich:
Toast (2 slices)
Turkey (2 slices)
Cranberry Sauce (2 teaspoons)
Gravy (2 tablespoons)
Mashed Potatoes (2 tablespoons)
Stuffing (2 tablespoons)
Barbecue Sauce (you can never have too much)
Bacon (if there is some hanging around)
Mayonnaise (if you must)
Lettuce (iceberg, for the crunch)
Celery stalk (more crunch)
Salt, pepper

And now I am taking the dog for a run before I consider making my own sandwich.

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. “
-Calvin Trillin

Food Friday: Thanksgiving Countdown!

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You have a lot to do in the next week – so we are trying keeping things simple. Use this streamlined checklist of prep work to ensure you have a great (and uneventful) Thanksgiving dinner. (We are not cooking our Thanksgiving this year, so I am going to coast. I will volunteer to hold the baby. Or to wash dishes.)

Have you ordered a turkey? If you get a frozen turkey, don’t forget to allow for time for it to thaw! It can take 4 or 5 days for a turkey to defrost in your refrigerator. Amazing! Not thawing the turkey ahead of time would be almost as bad as cooking the turkey with the giblets still in the bag, still inside the bird! I have a friend who really did that. It was her first Thanksgiving cooking on her own, but we never let her forget it. Do not replicate her experience, please! Do not become the stuff of legend.

Monday:

Make your cranberry relish and stash it in the fridge. The general wisdom is that homemade tastes best, and it is even better for having been prepared a couple of days in advance: it macerates. That is, of course, unless yours is a family that values the grooves left in the cranberry jelly from the Ocean Spray tin can.

Tuesday:

Clean out spaces in the fridge and the freezer for the food that is coming in for prep, and for the inevitable leftovers. It is a good time to sort through those sell by dates and recoil with horror! Full disclosure: I just looked in our fridge and threw out two yogurts that expired on September 28 and a sour cream from October 7.

What are you using for a centerpiece? Flowers? Pumpkins? The turkey? Do you have someone to craft beauteous place cards? Many delightful quiet hours can be whiled away with some three by five cards, felt, Elmer’s glue and pinking shears. And do you have enough chairs? Will you need to improvise a children’s table?

Check your linens. One of the best hints I ever garnered from Martha Stewart (or one of her many minions) is to take the tablecloth out of the washing machine and let it air dry for just a little while before putting it, damp, on the table. Now enlist one of your reluctant underlings to help you stretch the wrinkles out, and then let gravity do its work. Wrinkle free and kind for the environment! This week I read an ode to Downey Wrinkle Releaser Plus on Slate. I am going to give it a whirl the next time I get all of the laundry off the dining room table and actually sit down to a meal.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/11/19/wrinkle_releaser_works_downy_wrinkle_releaser_plus_is_a_miracle_product.html
You’ll still have to iron the napkins, though.

Are you starting stuffing from scratch or are you using store bought Pepperidge Farm stuffing? If you are doing scratch, don’t forget to cut up some bread (dare I suggest Pepperidge Farm Original White bread?) a day or two before Thursday, so it has time to get good and stale.

Wednesday:

Check your platters, dinner plates, wine glasses, water glasses, serving pieces and silver. Assign silver polishing duties to the young and the restless. Set the table on Wednesday night. And mark it off your To Do List.

Bake pies. Or cakes. Or fancy trifle or ambrosial artisan pear tarts.

If you are brining your turkey, get cracking. It needs to be in the brine overnight.

Make the mashed potatoes. It is much better to know all the peeling and smashing is done. Stash them in the newly spacious and clean fridge, but don’t forget to reheat them tomorrow! I had a dream about mashed potatoes the other night. Honest. I woke up chattering that I needed half a potato per person. Luckily I did not wake up the dog.

Thursday:

Be sure to chill plenty of white wine. Or apple cider for the young ‘uns.

Prepare the stuffing. We like sausage, onion and celery added to the bread, doused liberally with chicken broth, and sprinkled with celery seed and black pepper.

Stuff the bird.

Roast the turkey. We assign the basting duties, which occur every half hour, to the Tall One. He is our favorite Master Baster.

Side dishes: beans, squash, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts, kale, salad, corn, creamed spinach, pearl onions, cranberry jelly (or relish), rutabagas, rolls. Don’t forget the rolls!

Relish tray: gherkins, carrots, celery, olives, radishes. You have the dish, so why not revisit the 1950s?

Make gravy.

Light the candles.

Get your young IT department to make a playlist of songs for your iPhone and your Jambox that everyone will enjoy – this is a multigenerational event, so play fair. Or find a Pandora station that has an eclectic mix of old and new – just as long as no one starts playing Christmas carols yet!

If you are serving coffee after the meal get your coffee pot ready to go before you sit down. You might get all comfy and chatty after all the delish food and wine and pie piled with soporific whipped cream, and you wouldn’t want to forget to brew coffee.

And don’t forget that the New York Times says it is fine and dandy to cut corners. So try to enjoy yourself. Put down the wooden spoon and join your guests. Enjoy the candle light, the company and the moment.

Gobble, gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

For your vegetarians: http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/445045-a-well-vegetarian-thanksgiving