Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Next Week is ThanksGiving?

Ready or not, the time for winter festivities is nearly upon us.  My brother Hugh insists that the Holiday Season begins with his Birthday on October 4th, and he may be right.  Certainly many retail stores agree with him.  (I heard reports that one big chain had its Christmas stock on the shelves right after Labor Day.)  We generally hold off until we have ThanksGiving in our sights, which is pretty much when the weeks of specialty eating begin. This year TG is as early as it can get, which gives us time for a few extra snacks!

Kevin and I typically begin our annual holiday food traditions with a trip over the Bay to that mecca of high-end grocery shopping, Whole Foods of Annapolis.  (One of these days we'll follow that western bound trail a little farther and try out the new Wegmans recently opened in Gambrills, where shopping is described as an entertainment event, rather than "just" grocery shopping.  Road trip!)  The main reason for the WF venture is cheese - we like to have a cheese course on ThanksGiving, and that is where we find serious selection and quality.  Butter is also on our holiday shopping list - fancy butter to eat on beaten biscuits and Parker House rolls.  Our favorite is Vermont Creamery.  At $12 pound, this is not the butter you fry your morning eggs in!  We also got a brand that was new to us - Organic Valley Cultured Butter, which was a little less extravagant at $8.  Luckily they are both packed in 8 oz packages, which keeps the damage to a minimum...

Cheeses were tough to select.  In the end, we came away with a Bucheron (Kevin loves this cheese), a small wedge of Santa Teresa, which is a young sheep's milk cheese from Italy, a blue from the well known  Rogue Creamery called "Oregonzola Blue", and a little wheel of CowGirl Creamery's Mt. Tamalpais Triple Cream.

A few more items went into our shopping cart, including a bag of clementines and several varieties of dried beans that Kevin wants to experiment with.

Our turkey this year is coming from a grower in Wyoming Delaware.  TA Farms sells free range turkeys right at the farm, and we put our order in a couple of weeks ago via their WebSite.  Perhaps we will be able to renew our past tradition of picking up the fresh TG turkey at the source, a ThanksGiving errand we always enjoyed in the years we got our bird from Tony Neff, over in Queen Annes County.  Preparation of the holiday centerpiece will be Kevin's job, and this year I have heard it will be in the ballotine style.

What ever your style, how ever you celebrate it, there is no denying the fact that ThanksGiving Day is next Thursday, and one way or another, decisions must be made! Mashed or Candied? Whole or Jellied?  Spinach or Waldorf?  Cornbread or Oyster? White or Red?  Pumpkin or Pecan?  Or, if the whole ordeal seems to be just too much, you can make only one thing - which is what we did last year - reservations!!  There are several excellent ThanksGiving dining-out choices within easy driving, including the Inn at the Osprey in Rock Hall, the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Kent Manor Inn in Stevensville, and the Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, to mention a few perennial favorites.  

Before you know it, it'll be time to make the fruitcake!

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