Since we're trying to pack up our house and keep things relatively simple for the remaining few months that we live here, Alan decided he didn't want us to host Thanksgiving. Since it also sounds like all of the Caudill boys and their families are going to be gone for Christmas he told his mom she should host this year's turkey day festivities.
I don't know what to expect as in the 10+ years we've been back in California, we've never done Thanksgiving at their place (at least not that I can remember). For several years I hosted the event, starting with our 500 square foot junior one bedroom in San Francisco's Pacific Heights. That was comical, to say the least. Also, because we lived right around the corner from Mollie Stone's it was also my introduction to very expensive heritage turkeys. They certainly do taste better - no doubt about it - but holy heck was that first one a shock to my unemployed, non-income-producing self.
This year Alan's mom asked me to bring a salad. Yes, a salad. I can say, with no trace of bravado, that I am the best cook in the family and you're asking me to bring something you can buy pre-made that comes in a bag? I think not. Oh, I'll bring a salad but it won't be at all what they're expecting. I'm thinking of doing a mixed greens, gorgonzola, pomegranate, and candied walnut salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It's likely only the adults will eat it, but then what do I care? I don't cook for kids. Alan told his mom that I also plan to bring my "famous" stuffing which consists of pancetta, sweet italian sausage, roasted chestnuts, crimini mushrooms, leeks, garlic, lots and lots of sage, and sourdough bread. Mind you, this means half of the adults won't eat it because they don't like sausage, mushrooms, or garlic. But I tell you, this is the best damn stuffing I've ever eaten. I can't remember if it's a Martha Stewart recipe or from somewhere else, I've been making it so long that I don't even need the recipe card anymore. Sometimes I even throw in dried cranberries for a little extra zing. I'm not being boastful when I say people have told me this is the best stuffing they've ever had. And it's not like I can take credit for its creation - I just followed the recipe that first time. But it is my favorite dish at Thanksgiving and I will not abide by stuffing made from a box so it'll be coming with us.
What I'm most excited about by next week, however, is putting up our Christmas tree on Friday. Every year if we're here the tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving, and I spend the next couple of days decorating it while listening to my new Christmas CD's. This year I'm adding Blake Shelton's new holiday album to my collection. I heard a rumor that James Taylor has a new holiday record out as well. I must look into this.
Oh, and on December 1 we're making cuddiadati here at the casa. Long time readers will know this means literally hundreds of Sicilian fig cookies will be making their way from our ovens to folks all around the Bay Area. Which reminds me, we need to get to Whole Foods to buy some figs.