There are a number of traditions my family has every year. One that is shared amongst most families in America is that there is always a ton of food. As has been the case the past several years, we go to my mom’s sister’s for lunch, and to my dad’s mom’s for dinner – effectively having two Thanksgiving meals. It’s a great compromise I think. The food is pretty American with some Chinese dishes and influences. Turkey has never really been the centerpiece, but it’s always been included for ‘tradition sake.’
Lunch is served buffet-style, and is largely a potluck from a number of families, led by my aunt.
Some of the finger foods include deviled eggs, shrimp on toast, egg rolls, and taquitos.
On the other side of the room are the entrees and sides.
Shown above are country fried potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, a chicken pot pie and fruit salad.
Here we have fried wontons, Caesar salad, carved turkey and pork ribs. The turkey was beautifully carved and presented (see below for a close-up). The pork ribs are cooked low and slow over charcoal for a couple of hours to ensure they are moist and tender to the point that they are just about falling off the bone.
Two of the main recurring sides each year are chinese sticky rice and chow mein. These both are made in huge quantities and pre-packed to aid in the leftovers process.
A close-up of the carved turkey is below.
Close-up of the ribs.
There were an array of homemade desserts, including an apple-cranberry-nut tart below (there was another fancier tart-like word, but I don’t remember what that was).
Also, there were a couple of pies made by Elizabeth Faulkner herself (of Citizen Cake, and Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters fame). My cousin’s cousin’s husband works for her, and she gave them as a holiday gift. Naturally, I had to try these. There was a pecan pie
and a pumpkin pie.
I was expecting a lot from these pies given Faulkner’s resume. The pecan was first. The filling broke apart so easily that the first slices did not resemble a pie, rather clumps of filling over some crust. I found the crust to be a little underbaked, and the filling was kind of unremarkable. Now, I’m not a huge pecan pie person anyways, but the flavors of pecan, chocolate and whiskey didn’t do it for me.
Next was the pumpkin pie, which was a lot better. The filling was smooth and pumpkin-cinnamon tasting, and the crust was nice and flaky here. Definitely closer to what I was expecting the pies to be.
Dinner is a more traditional family-around-the-dinner table affair. Most everything is prepared by my grandmother. The centerpiece, as has been for as long as I can remember, is a roast of beef – in this case, a New York strip loan roast.
The roast being carved.
The other meat option this year was, of course, turkey, white meat shown carved.
My grandmother also made a soup to start with with a chicken broth base, including pork, dates and dried tofu.
The sides included traditional stuffing,
Chinese sticky rice,
mashed potatoes, gravy, and a mixed vegetable dish.
To finish off the meal, as if we needed anything else, was a cake from Sweet Stop – layers of vanilla and chocolate cake with custard in between.
Sweet Stop’s cakes are consistently moist and tasty, and this one was not an exception. We come to them for cakes for pretty much every special occasion.
Two days later, I still feel full recounting all this food. Though, I’m already anticipating what will be cooked up for Christmas this year!