Yesterday was Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving because I enjoy cooking and eating and the holiday is a great venue for doing so. However, I don’t love the history of colonial violence, so it’s a fraught thing. Today’s blog is mostly dedicated to Thanksgiving: food, reading, and the rest.
Here are some things I read, watched, or bought this week.
These are some of the things I read online this week:
- The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday from Time Magazine. Thoughts from an indigenous person about the deeply unpleasant history of Thanksgiving, and how we can embrace the holiday today.
- Being Better to Your Fat Friend This Thanksgiving from Medium. It can be hard to be fat on a day when people are being dipshits about food and weight. I’m lucky that this year, most of my friend network has shared things about how exercise is not punishment for eating and the like.
- Amazon Alternatives: not so much a read as a list or a guide. This site has gathered ethical alternatives to Amazon and arranged them all by category. It’s a great resource if you’re trying to cut Amazon out of your life.
- What If we Called It the ‘Flax Age’ Instead of the ‘Iron Age’ from LiteraryHub. What if we defined civilization based on the textiles we produced instead of the fancy rocks we made? What if we valued women’s labor? A fascinating perspective (and the author of this article wrote a book on the subject, which I’ve obviously put on hold at the library).
- A Brief History of the Crock Pot from Smithsonian Magazine. Just when you thought you couldn’t appreciate the slow cooker more than you already do, here’s a whole article about it. I was interested to learn that it was inspired by Jews finding ways to cook ahead to avoid working on the Sabbath.
I’ve been watching His Dark Materials on HBO and it’s really good. It’s pretty and well done. I loved the book when I was growing up. Fun anecdote: I got the book as a gift on my 14th birthday from the one friend who showed up to my birthday party that year. Adolescence is hard.
I suppose this isn’t strictly a consumer act, but I am continuing the tradition I started last year of making a donation to an indigenous group. Last year I donated to the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, but it seems like it’s since been rolled into a government program. So, this year I donated NATIFS: North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems, which is “dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways.” I have determined that if I’m going to “celebrate” a holiday that essentially commemorates wiping out indigenous cultures, the least I can do is give something back to support the regrowth of those cultures. I encourage everyone who can to use Thanksgiving as a time to support Native causes.
In actual consumerism, my advent calendar was delivered this week! I ordered this advent calendar way back in May or June and then sort of forgot about it so it was exciting to get it this week—a gift from my past self. It’s a special yarn-filled calendar from Earl Grey Fiber Company that has tiny bunches of yarn each day. It also came with knitting patterns and other secret stuff. I love surprises so I am looking forward to this gift from myself. Plus, it’s Great British Bake-Off themed, what more could I want?
Making Things and Doing Stuff
Most of the things I did this week were food related and I feel good about that.
I get the impression that a lot of you read my blog for food talk/photos, so let’s get to it! I was highly organized this year and planned everything out so I would do very little cooking on Thanksgiving itself. I dry brined my turkey on Monday, spent Tuesday and Wednesday prepping dishes like the stuffing and a potato and spaghetti squash gratin so I could just toss them into the oven on Thursday. I also made butternut squash soup in advance then put it in the crock pot on the “warm” setting all afternoon on Thursday, which worked perfectly. Overall, I was really pleased with how everything turned out. I make food for myself first and if everyone else happens to like it, all the better. Here’s everything we made:
- Appetizers: cheese board (honey gouda, port salut, sharp cheddar, and goat cheese with herbs) with crackers and homemade bread, plus olives, almonds, dried pineapple, and a chocolate spread we bought in Peru. Kirk also made deviled eggs but I hate them so I didn’t think to take a photo.
- Starter: Butternut squash soup and sweet potato biscuits
- Main course: turkey (obviously), mashed potatoes, stuffing, potato and spaghetti squash gratin, crescent rolls, cauliflower with pumpkin seeds, brown butter and lime, roasted brussels sprouts with pomegranate glaze, and honey-glazed spiced carrots
- Accoutrements: honey butter, herb butter, gravy, and cranberry sauce
- Desserts: homemade vanilla ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (which my dad brought), and lemon meringue pie (from my mother in law)
In the spirit of full disclosure, here’s a picture of the kitchen at the end of the night.
Last weekend we had my in-laws over to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday so obviously I made a chocolate cake. This is a chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate mousse in the middle and ganache on top (recipe from The Baking Bible). I also made ice cream, which left me with a surplus of egg whites, so I made two meringue cookie recipes from The Baking Bible: pecan praline meringues and a meringue with dates and almonds.
Knitting and Crafts
I finally learned how to sew buttons onto my knits thanks to this helpful youtube video (side note: you can be certified as a master knitter?) and set about affixing buttons on all three hooded caplets: the original one I knitted for me, the one for my mom, and the newly finished caplet for Mandy.
I had good intentions of sewing a table runner and cloth napkins in a fall-themed fabric for Thanksgiving, but I procrastinated. On Thursday morning, I made the table runner but lacked the will to make napkins too. Next year.
Finally, here’s a Huey cat for your nerves.