By Meredith Hughes
As New Mexico enters deep lockdown, many of us are not quite feeling that big old joyful, grateful “we gather together” Thanksgiving buzz, though we indeed are pleased to be alive and well. Absolutely not seeing our son in DC, nor other family in Bucks County, Brooklyn, New Hampshire or Maine, nor friends in New York or California, not even locals right here.
But we recall a rollicking good Thanksgiving dinner here pre-pandemic, with a Spanish-theme. Paella, grilled sardines, assorted greenery, cheeses, Spanish wine and flan for dessert. This year, contemplating eating tuna right from the can while watching “The Crown,” I decided to ask villagers, totally randomly chosen, their Thanksgiving favorites.
Here you go:
Chris Allen: “One of my favorites is the freshly baked rolls that are Alex’s specialty. The recipe calls for butter at several stages in the making, and they are delicious. He has made them for every Thanksgiving for years except when he had to be in Mexico to film Narcos Mexico for Netflix. My husband and I tried to take over the task, but they just weren’t the same.”
Deborah Blank: “Pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after. Too full to enjoy on the actual day. Bummed; had to cancel trip East due to situation. I miss my son and grandkids!”
Tony Messec: “I don’t prepare a single dish for Thanksgiving dinner. I partake of all: some type of salad, turkey, white and dark meat, which I do carve, stuffing —my late mother’s recipe made with Pepperidge Farm stuffing and Jimmy Dean sausage, sweet potato casserole, varies as to whether or not it has marshmallow topping, green bean casserole, varies as to whether or not it has bacon, cranberry sauces, sweet pickles, olives and more. It’s an obscene/fabulous —choose your word— feast. Oh yeah, and pies. Pecan, pumpkin, and some sort of berry fruit. Maybe apple, too. And, I’m here to swear to you that my wife and our families can some kind of cook!
“My job is to select the wines. I restrict the selection to American wines, which eliminates Beaujolais, which is a shame, because it’s perfect with turkey. Usually have an American sparkler to start, followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a few others, red and white, but usually not including Zinfandel, another shame, because it’s too high in alcohol, and ending with a dessert wine. There will be appreciably fewer served this year because there will only be four adults rather than the usual 18 or so. Now that I’ve made myself really hungry and thirsty, I wish for you and yours a lovely, peaceful, Thanksgiving dinner and holiday.”
Debbie Clemente: “For me the best part is the stuffing. We make cornbread stuffing with sausage, mushrooms and truffles, topped with homemade gravy. We just made several quarts of turkey stock, in the freezer ready to go. I also love to make cranberry sauce… watching those beautiful red berries burst and bubble in the pot is always a treat. Oh yeah, we like turkey, too, and Thanksgiving is the only time of year we make it. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!”
Jo Anne Roake: “I’d love to say Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish, but actually I love cranberry straight out of the can, ridges intact. Favorite side is fresh green beans with almond slivers.”
Aaron Gjullin: “Stuffing for me, please.”
Tanya Lattin: “So I am having trouble deciding, lasagna from my Italian heritage and/or fresh mashed potatoes topped with green chile mixed with garlic.”
Kitty Tynan: “Mine is so boring, and/or weird. My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the cranberry/ orange relish. You just grind up fresh cranberries and whole oranges, throw in a little sugar, and you’re done. But I love it! I love the smell of turkey roasting, too.”
Eleanor Bravo: “We’re not very fancy when it comes to Thanksgiving. I always make and serve mashed sweet potatoes and cranberries with orange rind.”
Stephanie Duran: “My favorite is mashed sweet potatoes and pears. Bosc pears, the brown ones, are best. Bake sweets and pears separately, then mash with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of sugar, a spot of vanilla, a tad of orange rind. Bake about 20 minutes.”
Rex Funk: “I favor the condemned man’s last meal. Alaska King Crab!”
Alex Price: “The turkey drumstick. Meh, to all the side dishes and family drama fanfare. Paleo all the way!”
Sandy Gold: “You’re talking to a grinch, Meredith! Let’s start with the fact that I’m a vegan and then go to the fact that I just started Ayurvedic medicine last month and have to follow a very limited diet, trying to get my doshas balanced and my gut in order.
“That’s for now.
“I never cared for T’giving as a holiday, had a crazy family that I really didn’t want to be with, and managed to avoid it in 1978, right after being treated for melanoma. I did a four-day course with Silva Mind Control in New York City, both for the value of the course, but also it gave me an excuse not to have to be with family.
“By the way, my kitties would love tuna straight out of the can.”