November 29, 2013 Thanksgiving Dinner at Marian and Jerry’s House
We were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner for 16 at Jerry and Marian’s house tonight. I sat beside and had a pleasant evening’s conversation with Jessie, Marian’s mother. Jerry is Elaine’s brother and Sarah her older sister was in attendance with her family, daughter Rachel and Rachel’s husband, James, who live in Columbus, Ohio, her son Phillip and husband Charlie. Also, Elaine's father and mother, Sandy and Rita were in attendance and us Simons, Billy and Elaine and Rebecca and Suzette and me. The live wire of the group was Jerry and Marian’s “almost” seven year old daughter, Celia, who was everywhere. For example, during dinner Celia went into the other room and played her violin for us. We had to celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday because Jerry, who is a pilot for Southwest Airlines, was flying yesterday.
The food was expansive with many people bringing dishes of food. Rita, who is one of the best pie makers I have ever met, baked 2 pies each of pecan, chocolate pecan and pumpkin. The pecan pies were made with Karo syrup and the chocolate had lots of chocolate but did not have the fudge-like texture of the one I first ate at the Stage Coach Inn in Salado, Texas. I remember going to the Stage Coach Inn with my family when I was very young and going down into the basement and seeing a long passageway that was an escape route out of the building to area a long way away. We were told it was an escape route that was used in the event of Indian attacks in the mid -1800s. So I knew it was a real state coach stop.
Rebecca made sautéed Brussels sprouts with shallots and balsamic vinegar. Marian made creamed turnips and a wonderful parsnip and leek bread pudding. There was a bread stuffing and brown gravy. I think Marian also made a great spinach and cheese gratin casserole and Jessie made sautéed butternut squash with pine nuts and red onions. Then there were candied creamed sweet potatoes with a thick brown sugar and pecan crust on top. And Billy made a Connecticut Corn Pudding.
Jerry made turkey two ways, one in the oven and one on the grill outside.
Finally, there were two types of cranberry relish; one was traditional and the other was Marian’s famous cranberry chutney.
There were several wines. I drank a Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc (dry sauvignon blanc) and there were several reds including a very nice Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir.
After dinner we watched Celia open Chanukah gifts and played a game Celia had made up. She asked each person to write our name and what we were thankful for on a piece of paper and then we played 20 questions to guess what each person was thankful for.
Most of the answers were obvious because they related to family or the holiday, except Billy who had written Eva Braun, James, who said getting a job and mine which said "sale of the telecom tower in California". It was a good game because it involved each of us and lots of interaction. Celia proved herself to be a smart girl and very personable for 6 years old.