I’m pretty sure that Chrysa and I have now done every version of Thanksgiving that you can do. When we got serious and lived together, we would do our Thanksgivings separately. Our friends thought that it was weird – but it worked for us. My family always did a big dinner at my parents’ house. My mom and I would cook, Wendy would come by at wine o’clock, Joe would arrive some time later, Grandparents and Uncle Mark would arrive after that, and we would eat. Chrysa’s family did things differently. They would all meet in Virginia Beach, eat Thanksgiving dinner out, and attend a big craft fair. We would take the Thanksgiving Holiday separately to maintain continuity of tradition.
A lot has changed since those early times. I have joined Chrysa and her family in Virginia Beach for the craft fair (loved it), and eaten out for Thanksgiving dinner (weird…but I loved it). Chrysa and her family have even come to Buffalo for our version of the Holiday. Of course we all met up last year in Virginia Beach for a very memorable time. The one thing Chrysa and I have never done is had a Thanksgiving to ourselves at home. This is the year we were going to fix that. I was going to cook a feast for just the two of us, in our tiny kitchen, in our tiny apartment, and it was going to be glorious.
Knowing that I was going to be eating heavy for the next few days, I started my Thanksgiving prep by going on a run. The weather in southern California has been predictably perfect, so this was a no brainer. While on my run I unsurprisingly took some sunset photos and came across a sign for the Huntington Beach Turkey Wobble. Chrysa and I weren’t signed up for this event, (we didn’t even know about it) but I figured it would be fun to walk down to the beach Thanksgiving morning to cheer on our fellow runners. So that’s what we did.
We woke up in a timely manner (thanks Twicks) poured ourselves some coffee, spiked that coffee with booze, and headed to the majestic Pacific Ocean. We had a great time. I’m used to cool weather Thanksgivings, but I gotta tell ya, warm Thanksgivings are the way to go. I should correct myself…Hot Thanksgiving in this case. It was predicted to get into the upper 80’s. After knocking back our “coffee” and cheering on the runners it was time to head back to the apartment. I had some serious cooking to do.
I was determined not to pull any punches for this meal. There was no way I was going to skimp out on any part of it. When Chrysa and I shopped we went to 3 different stores. I have come to find that cooking for one is more difficult that cooking for a crowd. Especially if it’s Chrysa. My wife would tell you that she doesn’t have discerning pallet – she’s wrong. Maybe it’s from living with me, but she knows the flavors she likes, and she has a gift for finishing seasoning. So…not any turkey would do, it needed to be fresh and free range. The cranberry sauce needed to be homemade…with her favorite bourbon in it. Did I use regular oranges? Absolutely not – I used blood arranges and so on and so forth.
So how did all of this turn out? In a word – great! The side dishes were all on point. The stuffing was awesome and we ate outside on the balcony. The real star was the turkey. Chrysa went to slice it (she is really good at it) and it practically fell apart it was so tender.
I have to say, Thanksgiving together was very special. I’m not sure what next year will bring. Will it be on the west coast? Will we eat out or cook in? Will it be 90 degrees or will we freeze our asses off somewhere? Only time will tell. I’m just glad we will get to do it together.