Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bloggers' Bites: Thanksgiving 2012 Edition


Bloggers' Bites is a series of posts chronicling the foodie adventures and musings of Penn Appétit's blog staff. For this special Thanksgiving edition, Penn Appétit bloggers reflect on their favorite memories from a holiday that's all about good food.

Zoë Kirsch: Thanksgiving Day is all about the day after Thanksgiving. I say this because in my home, Thanksgiving dinner is almost too much. It's a heaven-sent avalanche of food, hell bent on sending you straight into a coma. My Kentucky-born grandmother and mother pull out all the stops. There's the classic: stuffing, two kinds of gravy (vegetarian and meaty), turkey (light and dark), cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. There's the Southern regional: pickled peaches, marinated brussels sprouts, and corn pudding. The pair have dessert covered, too, in the form of three pies (Chess, pecan, pumpkin). As the dinner winds down, we pat our bulging tummies and decide no more meals for the next ten years. Cue the next day. The sun has risen, and we can now stand up without falling over. Time for round two. We tell ourselves that the suffering endured last night has made us wiser, and so we help ourselves only to measured portions of stuffing, gravy, turkey, and cranberry sauce. Just those, microwaved and sandwiched between two thick slices of whole grain bread.

Katie Behrman: 10 years ago, my family made a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. I had never had a pecan pie before, but all I had heard that day were my mom’s rave reviews. After consuming a delicious, and plentiful, meal, we first decided to go see the 2nd Harry Potter movie. We left the freshly baked pie on the counter and bid goodbye to my dog. When we returned from the movie, however, we were shocked to see that the pie had fallen to the ground! Its dismantled container rested on the floor, but its contents were nowhere to be found. What could have happened? My dog sulkily came in to greet us, and for good reason. Crumbles of pie had attached themselves to his whiskers and crust lay embedded in his eyelashes. He had eaten the ENTIRE PIE! Crust and all. Somehow, while we were at the movie, my dog had managed to knock the pie off the counter and lick away each and every morsel! Although I was disappointed that I didn’t get to try the pie, I don’t think I would have remembered the taste as much as I remember seeing my dog mope across the room, tail under legs, with little specs of gooey pecan littering his nose.

AJ Winkelman: Thanksgiving, for me, is not about food. Yes, I LOVE ridiculous amounts of moist, healthy turkey meat, but honestly most other Thanksgiving staples are just not that exciting for me. Thus, in my most special Thanksgiving memory, food is an afterthought. That Thanksgiving is the one in which my family and my cousins, who had previously never shared a Thanksgiving, were together. The piles of fluffy mashed potatoes, multiple turkeys, and the pumpkin pie were better than any food I've ever had, not because they tasted better, but because they did what no other food had successfully done before them: they connected our three families, if only for one day.

Laura Sluyter:  With all the lore and love surrounding the Thanksgiving turkey, some may find it surprising that my vegetarian aunt always hosts our family's Thanksgiving feast. I, however, think it's the perfect arrangement. My aunt cooks the turkey (and tofurkey) with as much care as anyone, and she takes the sides to a whole new level. Green beans, asparagus, salad, beets, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, creamed onions, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, dressing, homemade bread, and so on. With a side dish to person ratio greater than one, its no surprise we all leave the table stuffed. At least, I tell myself, it's mostly vegetables.

Krystal Bonner: As a vegetarian, my favorite part about Thanksgiving is introducing my extended family to delicious meatless holiday dishes. As a rule, I steer clear of preparing cooking that attempts to mimic meat (anyone who has tried Tofurky can attest to the prudence of this). Instead, I try to utilize seasonable produce and fresh herbs to create flavorful dishes that everyone can enjoy. This year I'm going to attempt a walnut and apple cornbread dressing (some Thanksgiving jargon for you—it's only called "stuffing" if it is cooked while "stuffed" inside the turkey). Of course, my other favorite part of Thanksgiving are the desserts—no dietary restrictions there other than the size of my stomach!

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