Saturday, November 19, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Bon Appetit, November 1980
Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey

This 1980 issue of Bon Appetit magazine helped to ignite our desire to cook. We were familiar with both Craig Claiborne from his New York Times articles and cookbooks and Pierre Franey from his cookbooks and history with Le Pavillion restaurant.
I am fairly certain we have prepared every recipe in the article from the Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing, Kathleen Claiborne's Pecan Pie, Roast Fresh Turkey and so on. The article not only gave us recipes but taught us how to truss a turkey, and gave us ideas for wines to pair with the meal.
Remember, this was 1980. This was eye opening for us. Now 2011, the magazine remains part of our tradition. Some years we may use only one recipe that Craig and Pierre brought to us, or just have it on the table for a quick reference, but it remains a treasure in our kitchen.

We have a collection of Johnson Brothers "Wild Turkey" and "Barnyard Turkey" plates that we use on Thanksgiving. The fancier Barnyard Turkey plates were a gift to me from James, along with a large platter. The Wild Turkey plates, cups & saucers came from a church sale in Maine. I spotted the familiar trademark Johnson Bros. plates barely visible in a box on the floor where the white elephant sale items were. A great find!

The very first cookbook that James and I bought decades ago, was Craig Claiborne's Herb and Spice Cookbook. That took us to the New York Times Cookbook. From there we found James Beard, Pierre Franey, Julia Child & Elizabeth David. We collect cookbooks , and we read about food. When we find a recipe we always cook directly from the recipe, after that we often make changes....adapting it to our own needs and likes.
Cooking and eating well is important in our kitchen and dining room and garden. When the opportunity to dine in an exceptional restaurant arises we jump at it. We also love eating at small trattoria family run places.

But for us, Thanksgiving is about home and sharing food with family and friends. This year, along with our daughter and son-in-law, we will host 20. We will have sheep and goat cheese and eggs from local farms to begin.
Fresh organic Vermont Turkey will be the star accompanied by two stuffings, gravy (started with a great turkey stock). A puree of sweet potato with praline topping, mashed potato casserole a la NY Times Dining section, Cranberry- Lingonberry Sauce ( a nod to New England and my Swedish ancestry), haricot verts with pancetta, garden fresh multi- color carrots, and of course an assortment of pies will all be part of our feast.

As you can see this magazine is well worn. It has seen us through many Thanksgiving Feasts.

Keep cooking.
Be thankful for family, good food, home gardens and small farms that provide fresh food for us all to enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Oh, this brings back memories. I'm with you - this issue of B.A. inspired me as well. As a young chap I took to the kitchen and started to "Wow" my family at holiday meals. Unfortunately, my stash of most favored Bon Appetit's were lost a few years back in a basement flooding due to Hurricane Sandy. Would you ... could you ... I would be most grateful ... the cranberry sauce recipe with ginger, orange juice and zest(?), slivered toasted almonds, etc ... I have strayed from it, experimented, some might say erred, but all these years later it is what my family still considers "the" accompaniment to turkey on this most beloved of holidays. Kevin


I will try my best to get this recipe to you.