Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recovery...And the Stovetop Stuffing Debacle

So...the Superbowl of Food is over and you're sitting back, loosening the waistband on your stretchy pants, telling yourself that you will NOT overindulge for the rest of the holiday season because Good Heavens(!) you're stuffed like a turkey yourself!

Or maybe that's just me.

Here's the menu that my family enjoyed on Thanksgiving (and for several days thereafter):
  • Baked crab dip*
  • Marinated cheese*
  • Dry-brined turkey*
  • Bacon-pecan stuffing* (in the bird, then baked)
  • Filling (that's stuffing that never saw the inside of the bird)
  • Kluski noodles* (a PA tradition)
  • Kick-butt mashed potatoes*
  • The best gravy. Ever.**
  • Baked corn* (another PA tradition)
  • Cranberry-citrus compote*
  • Green bean casserole (no, not the tacky kind)
  • Baked Oysters*
  • Amazing green salad with glazed pecans & goat cheese (yay Jill!)
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries
  • Pumpkin roll
  • Upside-down apple pie
*Prepared lovingly by ME (everything else generously contributed by my fab family and our guests Marc & Mallory).

**Prepared by me to a point, then turned over to mom because she is the Gravy Queen!


I won't even get into the whole "Stovetop Stuffing Debacle" started by my husband.

Ok - I will get into it.

Two days before Thanksgiving I asked my husband John if there was anything special I could fix for him, especially since this was a heavy PA-centric menu to keep the family happy and we wouldn't be able to travel to Jersey to see his family. His response? "Y'know... something like Stovetop Stuffing".

Uh, EXCUSE ME? Do you know what I do for a living???!!! Do you know that I'm being featured in the newspaper the day before Thanksgiving for my STUFFING RECIPE??? (You can see that article here). AND that they even made a VIDEO of me preparing said stuffing??? (You can see that one here, and yes, I do a little dance:)

Husband: "Y'know...with stuff in it. Not just bread"

Oh.

Yeah, I can do that (and boy, did I!).

But nonetheless, can you guess what John had on his plate as we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner?

Yup.

Box and all. You didn't think I'd actually cook that...did you? ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Moment Please

My father, Jere Querry, passed away last Monday morning at home.

But with all of sadness, Hospice, funerals, viewing, speeches, caskets, burials and everything that goes along with someone you love dying, there was a lot of good, and love that came out of all of this.

I spent time with my brothers and their lovely families. I spent time with my mom. I got to talk to many people that I haven't seen for a very long time, and I spent time with my own family (and Munchie the Wonder Puggle, who was not, shall we say, great).

A few years ago, just after my friend Mary died, I wrote a short post about how food is love. You can read it here if you're so inclined.

And these 3 years later, I still believe it.

We received gorgeous baskets filled with quiches, fruit, and coffee cake, subs, cakes, danishes, a gigantic baked ziti, garlic bread, cookies, brownies, & muffins. And that's just what I remember! I'm sure there was more, but things are a bit hazy, I hope you'll understand.

We shared a meal with 36 people after the burial, and we talked, and laughed, and cried a little bit. My dad would have loved it.

It seems like any of the good times in the past week revolved around food. Sharing, and loving, and eating. And I am so grateful for that.

I'm grateful that when people don't know what to say, they bring you dinner instead of working the same, tired phrases in. That they bring you a cup of coffee, or send you salted chocolate bars. And yes, my waistline is reflecting all of this love, but that too shall pass.

Just before my dad died, I made a quick trip to Wegman's in Mechanicsburg. I zipped through and loaded the cart with anything prepared that I could find, and on a Sunday night, they were running a little low.

I grabbed salads and sandwiches and meals that could be easily nuked. But the best thing I bought was easily an assortment of lovely cheeses, roasted tomatoes, and bread. I knew this wasn't a snack that my mom & I would attack, but for some reason felt it was a necessary addition.

Because when someone dies, people stop by the house to express their condolences, and when they see how things are going, they tend to stick around and reminisce and offer to help with the details, which is invaluable. And more times than not, you want to offer them something, and they wouldn't dream of asking (or wanting) anything. But if you're able to pull out something simple and filling (because we all know that cheese deadens the appetite, right?), and set in on the table in front of them, they will eat it.

And you will feel good that you did something easy for them. They will feel good that they can enjoy something easy and delicious, and no trouble at all to fix, and you will all be as happy as you can be between the tears and the laughing.

And really, what more could you want?