Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is your custom mashed or sweet potatoes?

Nancy and I are up to 11 for our Thanksgiving dinner, and some maybes.

Just as a division exists between Christmas Eve gift openings and Christmas morning, for Thanksgiving there is another. With your turkey, do you serve sweet potatoes or Russets? Many serve both, of course, but if they do, one potato or the other is largely ignored.

Nancy and I haven't gotten formal about the menu yet, but we were startled to find we differ on this important menu item. I'm a Russet, or Idaho, potato fan. I'll eat sweet potatoes, but only secodarily. For Nancy, they are an important part of the feast.

I've noticed restaurants advertising Thanksgiving menus sometimes offer only sweet potatoes and I always think, "I wouldn't go THERE!" Well, part of that is that if I'm paying $30 a plate, I want to enjoy every item on it. And I enjoy sweet potato concoctions. But "where's the mashed potatoes?" I don't even need gravy, because I seldom eat it.

We simply have decided she will prepare sweets, and I will prepare whites. I usually do rebaked, with sour cream , melted butter and shredded cheddar, because my grandchildren ask for it. Probably will do again as it can be done in advance. With no grandchildren present, i may add the chopped green onions.

You know, a lot of thankfulness goes into the preparation. I reflect on my mother and grandmother doing this, that my daughter-in-law and granddaughters will carry on, and it is such a sweet, loving continuation generation to generation.

Men join the stream--my father managed the turkey and the dressing. For a man born in the early 1900s, he was exceptional, I suspect. My sons can cook as well.

It is interesting that the United States has a Thanksgiving holiday. Remarkable, really. We are thankful for good friends or even just one, we are thankful for good fortune or even survival, we are thankful for a good family, or maybe our escape and survival from the bad. It can easily be a sectarian thankfulness, and it can easily be connected to religious beliefs.

The first Thanksgiving was among Indians with an entirely different belief, and English Christians. This is a national holiday, open to citizens of any belief whatsoever.

Isn't that neat?


clairz said...

You've hit on something here, with the Russets vs. sweets debate. My sister and I spend a surprising amount of time discussing stuffings, too. We both like plain old whipped potatoes, the better to build a volcano filled with gravy. But with the stuffing, we part ways. I like an herb-y stuffing based on cornbread, with apples and sausage; she threatens me yearly with some sort of oyster concoction.

This year we are going to try something different. I will provide the turkey and the kitchen, and she will do all the cooking with her choices of stuffing, etc. A few of the guests will bring vegetables, but she gets to do everything else. I am letting go and giving up all control. She is excited and I am... pretty relaxed!

charlotte g said...

There are a lot of wonderful stuffing recipes. My dressing turned out so well last year, however, I will try a repeat. Fortunately I blogged it to the poing of how many tablespoons of sage. Should go well.

Your plan sounds great! We are up to 11 tuests, so I anticipate some different dishes to sample.