It's crept up on me again! But thanks to the NYTimes, I'll never actually manage to forget Thanksgiving is around the corner as they're ever ready with recipe updates and such...
It is absolutely insane to me that (1) it's November, (2) it's 10 days to Thanksgiving, and (3) it'll be the EIGHTH Thanksgiving dinner I'm hosting and I'm not even American!
What started as a way to keep a bunch of "homeless" college kids (with no where to go over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend) entertained while the rest of our American housemates headed home to celebrate with their families, has actually burgeoned into a rather wonderful annual tradition that is more a Friendsgiving than the typical family-reunion-centric American holiday.
I still vividly recall that very first Thanksgiving in '08 where I convinced Dan it would be a terribly good idea to have lots of people stay over in our teensy apartment... Andrew, YY, Willy, Bryan and Alvin took the train up from the city, Alex drove Ling and Jon down from Boston, and the kids at Vass (Dan, Grace, Brian Kim) helped to house all the folks who were in town that weekend. Grace was roped into helping with the turkey because NEITHER of us had done one before, and I figured two brains were better than one... and lest we poison all 12? 14? people who dared to make a visit that weekend I'd have someone to share the blame.
Amazingly, the bird turned out ok (if slightly underdone at first). We cooked in the world's tiniest kitchen - I still can't fathom how we managed it - but somehow turned out a menu of turkey, gravy, stuffing, prosciutto stuffed mushrooms, grilled asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped scallops, soup, poached pears.... It was served in all manner of vessel that could hold food - from proper bowls to pots to coffee cups (for the cranberry sauce).... I think the wines went into the bathroom sink with some ice.
Everyone abided by my college-house-rule (which is still my house guest rule) of candy is dandy but liquor is quicker, so we had so much wine, and really decent wines too (for college kids)! We labeled the stemware with sticky notes with our names penciled on, Dan and Brian Kim entertained everyone with classical orchestra pieces on the flute, cello and keyboard (classy kids we were, what else would you expect from a bunch of Vassar grads?)... Jon soon joined in on the electric guitar, of course.
Maybe it was because we were all so far from home, maybe it was the copious amounts of alcohol, maybe it was the stellar live music sets we had on all night, maybe it was because it was so touching to have everyone travel for hours to celebrate the weekend together, maybe it was because the food was really that mind blowing (I doubt, it was after all, my very first attempt at a massive meal for many people), or maybe, it was simply the combination of good friends, family, food, and wine.
We ate ourselves silly, drank ourselves merry, and to date, it remains one of the best times I've had over this particular holiday, and the reason why I keep doing it every year in spite of the fact I'm neither American nor the matriarch of some massive household whose mission in life is to make the most amazing thanksgiving meals year upon year. Though with seven thanksgiving turkeys under my belt, one would start to wonder.
But of course, which blog post would be complete without some old school super embarrassing photos from when we were young...