I never thought this day would come, but somehow it has. Many of my sisters have grandkids. There’s a reason I bring this up. In the past, my house was Thanksgiving central. My sisters who lived in town would come; my aunt would come and my mom would be there.
Before I knew it, I’d have 35 for dinner.
Everyone contributed. We got my aunt Mary’s wonderful broccoli casserole, my sis-in-law Vicki’s sweet potatoes – well, you get my drift – a feast! When the dining room table was fully loaded, we would announce dinner and the line would form. Laurie and I usually collapsed and let it; we were rarely hungry after the hours of cooking. Everyone would find a place to sit with their plates perched in their laps, a glass of wine resting precariously wherever they could find room, we’d eat, chat, help with the dishes and depart. Usually leaving me with a table still laden with food. I’ve gotten smarter over the years. I encourage everyone to take leftovers. That way I’m not stuck with the duty of “not throwing away perfectly good food.”
But this year, it’s happened; my sisters are preparing their own Thanksgiving dinners with their own new traditions for their grandchildren to remember. Their own recipes to pass down and teach. Their own tables to design and fancy plates to wash. Thus we find ourselves with a very rare occurrence – a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner at my house. Dinner for eight. Wahoo!Normally, we expect our guests to arrive anywhere from noon to six, so we make sure there are appetizers out all day. This year, Laurie and I are whittling down our enormous repertoire of hors d’oeuvres to accommodate our six guests. We usually worry about how to keep starvation at bay while other guests are still driving from fifty miles away. (Something of a challenge, let me tell you: We would tell everyone that dinner was at six, my brother and his wife and brood would arrive at 6:30 with their side dish that needed an hour in the oven, and my brother would tap his foot, asking sarcastically when dinner would be ready. “You said six!”) This year – nope! We’re wondering which few appetizers will appeal the most and which will be expected and missed if we don’t trot them out. How fun is this!
So to kick off the holiday season, we’re giving you our appetizers. You can get the main Thanksgiving dinner from every cooking show on TV, you don’t need us to give you hints. Although, let’s face it: it’s me and Laurie – it’s what we do!
There’s one appetizer that we absolutely insist on. It was published years ago in Bon Appetit. Here’s the link to Black Pepper Almonds. Sometimes these never make it out of the kitchen–cooks get first crack at them.