Halloween has always been the kickoff to a tireless stream of holiday festivities, and with thatspookfest out of the way (much to the kids’ disappointment), it’s time to move on to the next big feast.
I’m talking, of course, aboutthe big turkey day – Thanksgiving.
More popularly known as an American holiday, Thanksgiving in America is observed to commemorate the early European settlers, their friendship with the Native Americans, and the harvest feast they celebrated together.
Although the holiday itself has its roots in American tradition, a handful of other countries also celebrate it, such aswith the Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving in the UK, “l'Action de grâce” in Canada, and another similar day of giving thanks in Australia.
Some travel buddies even told me about Thanksgiving holidays in Japan and Germany which also take place sometime around October – November, centering on the same idea of being thankful for the good things in their lives.
Here in the Philippines, the fourth Thursday of November isn’t recognized as an official holiday, but we all know how most of our Fiestas and harvest festivals revolve around the concept of being thankful for the blessings that come our way.
Regardless of where it’s celebrated though, you can bet your turkey that any event with its origins from a “bountiful harvest” is bound to have food – and tons of it!
In my stays in the US, Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s like Halloween is to kids, as Thanksgiving is to Moms and Titas and homebodies.
As always in our household, we grab such opportunities to whip up a feast and gorge ourselves on some holiday-themed dishes. Thanksgiving being the perfect opportunity to cook up a warm, hearty, home-cooked spread, I immediately set upon explaining the holiday to the kids.
I told them the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, of how turkeys were often associated with the holiday, and how kids drew “turkey hands” to celebrate. That was about as far as I got though, as they hurriedly busted out their art supplies to make their own turkey hands.
Mr. Flintstone on the other hand, was uncharacteristically curious about what I had in mind for our menu. He didn’t want to tell me at first – on account of his being on another one of his infamous pre-holiday diets – but apparently he’s had a hankering for some of my home-made apple pie for a while now. I didn’t want to ruin his diet (that much), so I came up with the idea of making mini-pies. Trust me, it’s much easier to stop eating a mini-pie than to keep on slicing from a bigger one.
Since it's pumpkin season, I thought I’d try my hand at a quick and simple pumpkin cheesecake recipe. It’s the perfect alternative to pumpkin pie for those who don’t mind something heavier.
The star of the show of course, is the roast turkey itself. I chose to go with something simple – the honey & herb turkey with roasted vegetables I whipped up is something anyone can easily put together and chuck in an oven while still coming out a total kitchen queen.
Since we wouldn’t be able to finish a huge turkey by ourselves, we thought we’d invite some friends over. The kids showed off their hand turkeys, and we all took turns saying what we were thankful for. I mentioned how thankful I was for my family but didn’t really go into detail at the table.
I am of course, thankful for the kids. They really are the biggest driving factor behind everything I do; be it the businesses I work on, the dishes I cook up, or anything else in between.
I’m thankful for the ever-encouraging Mr. Flintstone, who has been my rock for the many years we’ve been together. He’s always been supportivein all my endeavors, and not once have I heard him complain. Well, maybe a little bit from time to time, but he always soldiers on.
I’m also thankful for how good my businesses have been doing. It hasn’t been easy juggling all of it with family life, but all of the hard work is finally starting to pay off, so that’s good.
All in all, it was a fun night of good food and good people, and soon after our guests had left, the kids were all tuckered out as well.
I guess what Thanksgiving really comes down to is that no matter how frantic and crazy it gets, we should all always find the time to take a step back and count our blessings. And of course, always be thankful – like how thankful I was for going with a pumpkin cheesecake instead of a pumpkin pie when I snuck out to the kitchen that night for a midnight snack.
Sweet potato gratin
1kg sweet potatoes, sliced thinly
½ clove of garlic
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 ½ cup cheddar cheese
1 ½ cup cream
2 tsp dried thyme
1. Rub garlic all around the skillet, then follow with butter. Make sure to cover the inside of the skillet.
2. Spread a layer of sweet potato, then add a dollop of cream, salt, pepper, cheese, thyme, and butter. Repeat till you finish all the sweet potato
3. Cover the last layer with a little cream and cheese.
4. Cover the skillet with foil before putting it in the over.
5. Bake in 350F for 40-60mins until the top is bubbly and golden.
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Easy 5-step recipes featuring the freshest and most exciting ingredients from Rustan's Supermarket.