I didn't have to cook a Thanksgiving Turkey until I was well into my twenties. I am a fairly accomplished cook, but turkey can be a challenge. Everyone seems to have an opinion on temperature, length of time for cooking and to stuff or not to stuff.
The dilemma to season traditionally like Julia Child or to throw caution to the wind with new spices, cooking methods and basting sauce of your own making.
Our dad smoked the turkey every year. He would make up some wonderful concoctions of whatever was in the refrigerator. It always tasted good.
I missed about 20 or so Thanksgivings throughout my adult years. Some because of location and others because of my own personal mistakes. I will tell you that those years were always filled with homesick nostalgic emotions.
Back to cooking the turkey. I love to use honey-mustard KC barbeque sauce or brown spicy mustard. Lots of traditional spices and a few others thrown in.
But the best ever turkey is cooked with Apple Cider. The meat is so tender and falls off the bone. I also pour a liberal amount into the cavity of the turkey as well as the outside. It doesn't hurt to add a little alcohol to the mix either.
Thanksgiving is made special by the gift of family. I can remember how miserable I was the first year that I missed the big do. I was nine months pregnant with my first child and living in Laramie Wyoming. I cried quite a bit.
We had a turkey and Werner cooked it for us that year. Our table was not groaning with platters of food, and our little apartment was not filled with people, but we managed.
The following Monday, our best gift for that year was the birth of our son, Courtney. It was soooo cold that year, that the night that we brought him home from the hospital, it was 40 below zero.
That was 36 years ago.
The turkey might be the centerpiece of a sumptuous meal on Thanksgiving; but even more precious is the time spent with family and friends.
I am so thankful for the last few years that I was able to be with Dad on Thanksgiving.
It has been five years since our family had to say goodbye to our Dad. We hug each other a little harder when we meet. Everyone feels his presence as we eat; laugh and enjoy the football games and conversation.
It goes without saying that I am very thankful for the opportunity to be with my loved ones in Idaho each year. David has been so good to let me travel each November.
I wish for each of you to have a family-filled day with lots of laughter, food and company.
Be safe, enjoy and hug your loved ones a little tighter.