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Kitchen Kaboodle

November 27, 2014

Peter: What smells so good in here?

Me: The whole kitchen kaboodle.

A bit lame, but that was my best pun of the day, so there it is.

Today was excellent. On Thanksgiving, the main attraction is the food, and in my humble opinion, dinner was exceptional. The breakfast spread was lovely and the appetizers were great, especially that cranberry salsa (thanks, Carrie!).  More on food in the photos.

But truly what I most enjoyed was the vibe. It has just been a really long time since hanging with all three brothers was as pleasant. Even just being in the same space for an entire day. Nothing out of the ordinary, but easy and light. My mom was solid the whole day, Peter drifted in and out and spent some good time with Jay over guitars and some (unnecessary) shopping (but who doesn’t enjoy three different kinds of eggnog?).

We did a non-Peterson thing–went around the table, each of us saying what we were grateful for. It’s one of those lessons in life: you never know what is in a person’s heart. Sometimes just asking opens a person up in unexpected ways. For me, it was a highlight. I got to genuinely thank everyone for making the trip, for our whole family–minus dad–being together, for my mom being healthy enough to celebrate a Northern California Thanksgiving, and to share with them my deep gratitude for my sick, but ordinarily wonderful, husband and light-of-my-life son. All of that felt good.  And everyone else shared heartfelt thanks and gratitudes. Peter’s had to do with appreciating all we have when others around the planet are not so fortunate.

The big disappointment of the day was Jim’s sudden illness. He tried to sit with the group in the morning, but soon realized he was too sick, retreated to the bedroom and spent most of the day asleep. Maybe food poisoning, maybe a flu bug, maybe a resurgence of the cold that hit us all over the past few weeks, maybe Petersonitis. It was a loss for him: completely missing out on Thanksgiving. It was a loss for me: not getting to share the fruits of a few days of serious labor. And it was a loss for my family: not getting to spend time with him.

But even without him, the day was wonderful. Here are a few random shots… with minimal food shots:

This is Jay stirring Matt’s gravy. With Jim out of the picture, Matt filled in and consulted on the turkey, and made the potatoes and gravy (both super heavy on the butter, but wow).

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Here’s Chris doing some yoga or tai chi (about the last thing I expected to see):

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Here’s Matt looking at some of Jay’s photos from Thailand:

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This is the dish I was most excited about… it sounds and looks exotically wonderful–rainbow carrots tossed with maple syrup, harissa paste, garlic, olive oil and cumin seeds, roasted with lemon–right?

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But I didn’t like them very much… too much variation in the done-ness of the carrots, and actually?, I don’t like cumin. How could I forget that? Others said they liked them. Could’ve just been politeness.

Here are mom and Jay at the table:

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And across the table, Matt, Chris and Peter:

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I could get everyone in a group shot, and took a few, but there wasn’t a single one where everyone looked okay.. so cropped up a couple.

So… it was a day of hanging out, talking, playing gin rummy, reading, napping, walks, cooking of course, and lots of eating. I am very, very proud of the whole day’s fare… dinner especially all came together perfectly. It even took us 45 minutes to enjoy it all. Lots of seconds and thirds. Maybe I should say what we had?  Okay, here’s the menu:

-Turkey, brined overnight, rubbed with herbed butter (p, s, r and t): it was great!

-Mashed potatoes, made with butter and half and half (yikes).

-Gravy from the drippings, of course.

-Dressing with sausage, chestnuts, celery, onions, herbs (the best ever).

-Green beans with maple, mustard and pecans (the usual and excellent)

-Aforementioned maple, harissa rainbow carrots.

-Cranberry sauce with orange and rosemary (insanely good)

-Cranberry relish with jalapenos, scallions, cilantro and lime (will repeat)

-Harvard beets (a Peterson family thing)

-Wine, sparkling apple cider, pies

We played a couple hours of Apples to Apples (really, and it was fun) had five pies to work through.. (though nobody even touched my pecan pie)…and then…. THIS happened:

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The refrigerator crapped out. All day it looked and sounded fatigued and gave me a bit of worry. When Jim finally came to, when whatever it was passed (at about 10pm), he investigated and reported that something froze up in the freezer (not in a good way) and was compromising the cooling capacity of the refrigerator. Or some such. So he and Matt went to work: pulled out unit, removed all the food from the freezer, put as much as would fit into the refrigerator (like we have room on Thanksgiving, what with dozens of containers of food and leftovers and whatnot.. remember FIVE pies.

Looking on the bright side, I got the freezer cleaned out (threw away tons of food) we cleaned all around the thing–something that had never happened.  Bonus.

Two more days of family time.. hoping it remains as positive.

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