Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gobble gobble recap

So, the Big Day is behind us and all can return to normal (ish) until Christmas. Now seems like a good time to recap my dad's visit to California, Turkey Day itself, and maybe name off a few things I'm thankful for this year.
Dad was in town for about ten days total -- the first few due to a talk that he was giving at the Science and Society conference at UC Berkeley, and then he stuck around for Thanksgiving, too. We had a swell time -- a lot of eating and shopping (two of my very favorite things, as you all well know). We ate at Liasion on my recommendation, and it was just as good the second time around. I had to-die-for French onion soup followed by roast chicken, plus we had some oysters to share. I capped it out with tart tatin. Yum. Throughout the week we also hit up Scoma's, ordered some good California Chinese food (very hard to come by in Texas), visited a brew pub and an old school diner in Berkeley, and dad cooked three nights -- beef stroganoff, chicken almond, and mac and cheese -- all favorite dishes of mine from childhood. Oh boy, did we eat well.

Then my mom flew in Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and it was so great to see her. I actually saw both my parents not that long ago in Massachusetts, but as you know, it was not under great circumstances. So it was nice to see them again for a happier occasion. Of course, this year has been rough, and at times it was hard to appreciate the holiday and all that it encompasses. I had an especially hard time because I've spent the last three Thanksgivings with my grandparents (and hosted the last one). So there were a lot of memories to contend with while still trying to enjoy the time with my family and Thanksgiving itself.
Of course, Thanksgiving dinner was a hit -- everything came together really well, the table looked nice, and dinner was fab. A quick run-down on the menu -- turkey, of course (the classic Giada recipe that I always use) as well as gravy, stuffing (although technically 'dressing' since it wasn't cooked in the bird), good ol' Campbell's green bean casserole, steamed broccoli, homemade Parker House rolls, cranberry-orange sauce (with a dash of Grand Marnier that really elevated it), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, my dad's orange Jell-o (soooooo good), and pumpkin and mince pies. Am I forgetting anything? My dad was really helpful in getting things prepped and ready the day before so thta Thursday required minimal work. Oh, and also, random side bar -- I ordered a free range Mary's turkey (a local farm) from Berkeley Bowl. This was the first time I'd cooked an non-Perdue bird, but I think it came out great! Maybe a tad dry, but that's on me. But again, we ate very well.
Despite this rough patch, there are still plenty of things I am thankful this year (and always). Even when we don't get along, I am always thankful for the precious time spent with my family. I'm thankful for Wyatt and his ever-cheerful presence in my life. I'm thankful to have a great job, I great roommate, a nice place to live, and a cool car. I'm thankful to have hobbies and passions, and skills that suit those hobbies and passions. I am super thankful that my grandpa is coming down to Texas for Christmas so we can spend that time together. And finally, I am so thankful for the time I spent with my grandmother, especially over the last few years, and how close we became during that time. Not everyone gets that time with their grandparents, and I know how very lucky I am.
Enough with the mushy stuff. Enjoy the pics (sorry some of them are kind of blurry) -- and check out my awesome new pink chef's coat, an early birthday present courtesy of my mom!

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