What I’d Make for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving eve!

Are you all excited to hang out with family and friends over copious amounts of wine and turkey?! Are you excited to watch the Packers play while you try desperately to stay awake because they put the “best” team way later in the day than is reasonable?! Are you excited for the four-day weekend where you hopefully find time to cut down a Christmas tree and completely ignore Black Friday?!

(I’m so sorry to everyone who hates the holidays. You will not find any holiday loathing here. Trust me, my family drives me nuts and stresses me out just like everyone else. But I don’t know what it is, maybe too many happy, snow-filled holiday memories in my practically perfect rural childhood. Either way, this girl is no Grinch and if you are a Grinch, skip to the recipes so you don’t have to listen to me babble).

If it hasn’t been made obvious already, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving means a trip to my grandma’s house in Milwaukee where her small bungalow home bursts at the seams with people, chatter and activity. The 90-minute drive is filled with holiday music and anticipation. When we arrive, I immediately feel like a kid again, wrapped in the warmth of this cozy home. The atmosphere is chaotic in a (mostly) good way. The tiny kitchen (and my hardworking grandmother) puts out a tremendous feast. We all go around the table and say what we are thankful for and it’s sappy and beautiful and I absolutely love every tradition-laced second. Then we crowd into the den, fill every inch of sofa, chair and floor space for a football game or three.

The funny thing about Thanksgiving and my love of food is that I have not one thing to do with the Thanksgiving feast. Never have. Probably won’t for some time. My grandma will host until she is no longer able and then my mother will eagerly pick up the reins (her love of food is almost as obsessive as my own). My turn at the helm is at least 20 years in the future.

But that won’t stop me from reading my Bon Appetit November issue cover-to-cover and back again or listening to all the November banter about how to cook a perfect turkey or make the best gravy with baited breath. My own Thanksgiving meal might be decades from now but does that stop me from dreaming? Not in a million years.

Here’s the ambitious Thanksgiving meal I would cook up if it were my turn to host:

Spatchcocked Turkey with Anise & Orange
Wisconsin-Inspired Stuffing
Extra-Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Classic Turkey Gravy with Thyme
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds with or without Oatmeal Cookie Crumble
Butternut Squash & Sage Crostini
Fall-Toush salad of Brussels Sprouts & Delicata Squash
Cranberry Sauce from a Can
Everything Cloverleaf Rolls
Madison Sourdough Pepitas Polenta Loaf

Apple Cranberry Pie
Pecan Pie Bars for a Crowd
Butternut “Pumpkin” Pie

Oh and drinks:
Mulled Wine
Hot Butter Bourbon
Fairytale of New York

Enjoy the holiday! Tell me all about the food you are making and excited for!

Lots of love,
Leek

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