We love Thanksgiving at Burnt My Fingers. What could be better than a holiday that’s all about food, and celebrating the “blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies” (in the words of President Lincoln, who initiated the holiday in 1863) that make that food possible?
Yet the headlines at this time of year seem to be about Thanksgiving stress… and how to have a stress-free Thanksgiving even if you hardly ever cook, and have upped the ante by inviting over a bunch of picky eaters. If this is you, maybe you should just order takeout. Lots of restaurants are now putting together complete Thanksgiving meals-to-go. One of our favorites, if you live in Upstate New York’s Capital District, is the groaning board at Chester’s Smokehouse.
These fine people will serve up a Thanksgiving feast including a 20 pound turkey (smoked or roasted), stuffing, mashed potatoes, 2 dozen handmade pierogi, cranberry chutney and gravy, green beans and four sides…all for $199. They say it will serve 8-10 people which requires each person to eat 2 pounds of turkey plus all the add-ons, so I think they’re being conservative.
It’s a great deal from some good cooks, though they’re asking for orders to be in by Friday, November 23. (But if you’re reading this at noon on Wednesday, don’t give up hope. They have put a few turkeys aside specifically for the procrastinators.) This deal doesn’t appear on their website, so I suggest you call Chester’s at (518) 650-6642.
Or, go for it. There’s nothing like the shared experienced of cooking together (this is key: your guests need to pitch in vs expecting to be waited on) and then eating yourselves into oblivion. When I was growing up in Texas, we would always have Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house. The women would mostly cook while the men and boys watched football (first the Texas-Texas A&M game, later the Cowboys vs the Lions). Only years later did we realize the women were having all the fun. We would eat an enormous passed meal of many dishes and then lie on the floor in the living room, attempt to watch more television and quickly fall asleep. It was a stress-free Thanksgiving for sure.
If that tableau appeals with you, start with our stress-free recipe for Foolproof Turkey. Make a stuffing that’s so easy a second-grader can do it (Mrs. Brooks’ class did). It’s a piece of cake to make your own cranberry sauce, but the storebought stuff isn’t bad. Add a few of your favorite sides—maybe green beans, sweet potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes—but don’t stress too much because nobody’s going to eat them. The next day will be even better, as you enjoy leftover turkey sandwiches made with Durkee’s Dressing.
Our best wishes for a happy, stress-free thanksgiving. We’ll see you on the other side.