Eleven years ago I hosted my first Thanksgiving meal. We were far away from home and being fresh out of college didn’t have enough money to fly from Kansas home to Georgia in the midst of the holiday season. There were several other young couples in the same situation so we all decided to get together at our very tiny apartment for our first Thanksgiving meal on our own. While the Turkey turned out fine, the meal was not my finest hour and to this day we still laugh about the rookie mistakes we made.
We carefully thawed and brined the turkey after watching several Food Network shows on the subject and placed it into the oven, assured that it would turn out amazing. Thirty minutes later I asked Jason where the bag was with the turkey neck and all of the little bits that went into making turkey gravy. In a panic, we assumed you had to purchase such things separately and immediately ran to our computer to look up what we could do as a substitute. The timer went off signaling us to baste the turkey, only to find that the plastic bag with the turkey neck, was still in the turkey. At that point we figured there was nothing else we could do to ruin Thanksgiving.
We carefully cooked all the items we were in charge of as our guests started to arrive for appetizers. The last thing to come off the stove was the gravy and it simply had to be strained and then finished. As Jason and I both talked to our guests, I handed him the pan of gravy to strain and he promptly poured a good fifty percent of it into the colander and down the drain. Both of us had forgotten to put a bowl in the sink as we worried about getting everything just right.
In the end, we learned that what mattered was the fellowship and people around the table rather than the perfection of perfectly executed dishes and matching plates. With out fail, that has become a story that gets retold almost every single Thanksgiving and I love that each year we have new and funny stories to add to that legacy of our first Thanksgiving.
Eleven years later, Jason and I are much better cooks and tend to have less Gilmore like experiences in the kitchen although, as I write this I am locked out of my oven quite literally. We still love filling our house full of people, whether they are friends, dear family, or new acquaintances that need a place to feel at home for the season. Our intentionality towards crafting a homey experience has gotten better over the years as we have grown out of our college selves and into who we are now. We are better about having matching plates and less styrofoam but the joy filled chaos is probably here to stay.
A big thank you to Aleen Floral Design for providing our stunning center piece for our Thanksgiving table. Want to know what is cooking at our house this time of year go here or check below for a recipe you will only find on my blog.
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream 1/2 Cup Butter (room temp.)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg 1 1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds
2/3 Cup Chopped Basil 2 Frozen Pie Crusts
1/2 Cup AP Flour
10 oz Goat Cheese
4 Cups Fresh Blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix whipping cream, brown sugar, egg, goat cheese, and flour together until smooth. Fold in the chopped basil and blueberries. Divide the mixture between the two frozen pie crusts. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with foil. Place on cookie sheets in the oven for about 40 minutes until the filling is set. Mix the butter, sugar, and almonds together. Pull the pies out and top with the almond mixture. Place the tin foil back around the pie crust edges and bake an additional 50 minutes. Refrigerate overnight. It tastes best after it has set at least 8 hours in the fridge.