Happy happy Turkey Day ...
I understand the assumption that because I'm not from around these here parts, and didn't grow up with the tradition, I may not embrace the full meaning of the holiday.
But come on--it's all about food. How could I not celebrate?
In the past, our Thanksgiving has involved getting together with friends and turkey and a multitude of side dishes and eating until coma sets in. Last year was a prime example.
But this time, as we hadn't made plans to get together with others, and as I had to be back at work on Friday, we decided to take the easy way out and made reservations at Sandrine's in Harvard Square.
I was slightly reticent, because even though I love the food at Sandrine's (Alsatian, so lots of pork and sauerkraut and incredible Flammkueche), the clientele skews toward hard-of-hearing Harvard alums and their entitled families, meaning there's a good chance of being wedged between parties of yelling yahoos.
Today, however, we were in luck. The place was busy but not heaving, and apart from the family behind us (whose black-turtle-necked patriarch, when not conversing with his disinterested offspring in clumsy French, felt it necessary to explain his 12-year-old daughter's vegetarian stance to the waiter), we had a peaceful meal.
Ah, yes, the meal. The Boy began with a half-dozen escargots in garlic butter. I went for the butternut squash veloutée with wildflower honey.
It was creamy (of course) with a slightly spicy edge, the sweet intensity of the honey coming through as a final note.
And then we did something we hardly ever do in restaurants: we both had the same entree. Well, you have to have turkey at Thanksgiving, dontcha?
With haricots verts and jaunes, golden beets, obscenely buttery mashed potato and a cake of chestnut stuffing.
As often happens, I only ate half my main. But while this is usually because I'm too full, this time I had an ulterior motive. If Thanksgiving is about eating huge piles of nosh, the day after is about reheating the leftovers for breakfast. And I was damned if I was going to miss out on that tradition.
Plus I was, um, too full.
Though apparently not too full for dessert: pernod creme brulée with a perfectly carmelized, crackable crust of brown sugar.
The Boy decided to end the meal with a glass of Pierre Ferrand cognac. It was of exceptional quality, and deliciously smooth, the reason for which became clear when we got the check: despite The Boy's best efforts to point at the 12-year-old vintage, the waiter had delivered the 25-year, with associated markup. Still, it was fabulous. And very pretty.
A delicious meal, capped off by the joy of not having to wash dishes. We'd definitely do Thanksgiving out again.
But that said, we both missed the fun of cooking--of prepping the turkey, and roasting veggies, and finding new ways to add extra sin to gravy and mashed potatoes. This morning I came across my favorite cranberry chutney recipe (from Julia Child via Robin) and felt a twinge of regret that I had no need to make it this year.
On the other hand, Christmas is only a month away. And we'll need to eat something.