Over the past few years I’ve been able to wrest control of Thanksgiving away from both sides of the family.
No more multi-night sleepovers at the in-laws’. No more haggling over dishes and kid messes at my parents’ house. Now it’s all about getting our house ready for visitors and spending not one, but two days cooking and entertaining. Why two days? Because my parents have always had Thanksgiving on Friday to avoid cooking a Thanksgiving dinner and a Shabbat dinner on consecutive days.
Once the cleaning part of the equation is over, cooking for 15 people (Thursday) and 11 people (Friday) actually isn’t that hard. A turkey is easy. Cranberry sauce is easy. A breadmaker is easy. Outsource the dessert-making and alcohol-purchasing and it’s just a matter of timing all of the cooking.
My favorite alarm of the year is the pre-dawn alarm on Thanksgiving, when I warm up the oven at like four in the morning to cook a big bird for the traditional noontime feast. It’s also when I put in the first of the breads into the breadmaker, and start with the coffee, because once I’m up, I’m up for good. And this year we’re going all-in on the turkey with a 28-pound farm-raised-in-Sudbury bird that was so lovingly reared that I half expected to get a baseball card kind of thing with the full turkey biography and statistics on it.
If all goes well, by the end of breakfast I’ll be halfway done with the bread, I’ll have made a huge salad, and will be able to gallop off on a run before coming home and continuing the preparations.
After the excitement of last year’s Thanksgivukkah and my Six Beers For Thanksgivukkah piece that got some attention, for this year’s enjoyment here’s part two. Given the forecast for a rain/snow event Wednesday night into Thursday, this year we’ll call it Four Beers For A White Thanksgiving. And no double-booking… this year it’s an entirely new list.
I love dark and brooding beers, and porter certainly fits the bill. While drinking a porter with turkey might be too intense for some people, for me it’s definitely fair game. This year, in the spirit of honoring the Pilgrims (and fresh off my chaperoning of the third grade Mayflower/Plymouth Rock/Plimoth Plantation field trip), Mayflower Brewing Company’s “Mayflower Porter” would be a solid addition to any Thanksgiving feast.
BUTTERNUT (FILL IN THE BLANK)
Not a few people like matching pumpkin beer with butternut anything, but after being hit over the head with pumpkin everything this year, I’m done with that. It’s also too easy to throw in a Harpoon IPA for this pairing, so in the interests of diversifying the IPA portfolio I’ll suggest going all the way with a Cambridge Brewing Company “The Audacity of Hops.” Pour, inhale the hoppy, piney aroma, and enjoy this one in moderation. It clocks in at 8.5% ABV and is only available in 22-oz. bottles, so unless you want to be asleep by dessert, or the second half of the Lions game, you might want to share it with another responsible adult… or just an adult more responsible than you.
Trappist monks have been brewing beer since the Middle Ages, and recently in little old Spencer, Massachusetts, a group of monks became the first brotherhood in the Western Hemisphere to be certified as authentic Trappist brewers. In the spirit of Pilgrim tradition, and in the time-honored yeasty tradition that both bread and beer share, I suggest channeling your inner Trappist monk and get some Spencer Trappist Ale.
For repeat readers of these kinds of posts you know I have a special place in my heart for Delaware’s Dogfish Head. One of their newer brews is “Sixty-One,” which is their usual 60-Minute IPA plus an addition of syrah grape must. It’s a fruity, grape-y, IPA-y, absolutely delicious beer that absolutely must (pun alert) be served with dessert. Drinking this beer is best described as a revelation. As in I can’t believe how great it is.