Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. This is my favorite holiday with all of the essential elements of joy: food, friends, and football. As a Bears fan, I get to watch the Packers and the Lions compete today and I am guaranteed to leave a winner.
We are also celebrating Chanukah with my wife’s family — a twofer for the day!

Of course, we begin with our own game. We are starting the day with the 47th annual Turley Turkey bowl. As always, it is the Bears against the Redskins. I am the coach of the Bears and John Rice is the coach of the Redskins. While the Bears have a long unbroken record (at least here in McLean), Rice is an ever-creative coach and Redskins are expected to be a fierce team this year. However, our Bears team remains injury free and will be ramped up with donuts and hot chocolate. In honor of Trestman, we will be trying out our new West Coast offense style.

I am also making our traditional two Turkeys — one in the oven and one smoked on the grill. Both will have an apple-sausage-cornbread stuffing and Waldorf salad. We will have 16 and three dogs over for the dinner.

Now it is off to the gridiron and the annual appearance of the McLean Monsters of the Midway. I will update on the game for those of you who cannot see us on cable.

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

UPDATE: The Monsters of the McLean Midway triumphed again in a spirited game. The final score was Bears 21, Redskins 14. The last play was particularly exciting with an intersection, a recovered fumble, and Redskins touchdown with just 30 seconds remaining on the clock!

120 thoughts on “HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!”

  1. You pizza lovers, try pizza fritta sometime. It’s your basic pizza dough w/ just a little extra olive oil to make it more pliable. Roll out ~5″ diameter thin pizza. Make a few pizza fork holes in each pizza. Get a large frying pan that will hold 3 or so of these pizzas. I use a mixture of 80/20 canola to olive oil. It allows you to get the oil hotter than if it was 100% olive oil but you still get some of that great olive oil taste. When the oil is hot, carefully slide the dough into the oil. They may still puff up in spite of the fork holes so fork them more as needed. When the bottom is light brown, flip them until brown on the second side. Serve these individually w/ a marinara sauce and parmesan reggiano. I always have kids help roll out the dough and poke the holes. It is a simple peasant delicious meal.

  2. Blouise,

    My maternal grandmother made the BEST babka in the world! I’ve never tasted any other babka that compared to it. I’m looking for her recipe–which my mother gave to me years ago.

  3. Blouise,

    We didn’t do twelve meatless courses. We did three or four different kinds of pierogis, fish, my grandmother’s homemade horseradish. Sometimes, my grandmother made a jellied carp dish that none of us kids would eat. Dzidzi, my grandfather, would break up the oplatek (Christmas wafer), pass it around, and give a blessing.

  4. Blouise. I am jealous. I only had one grandparent, a grandmother who never did things like baking and there are no passed down recipes. No marriage so no children or grandchildren either ): (and cause my parents were first cousins my family imploded instead of exploded. (: )
    That is amazing to me to think you have all that history of 8 generations.
    (That is great you could make those adaptations. I rarely use recipes but make things up as I go along, even for baking, so I get the not having “real” measurements.”

  5. leejcaroll,

    My great X 4 grandmother was born in the area of Virginia that later became West Virginia. I have several of her recipes preserved in laminated form. That particular sugar cookie recipe reads … “always lard, never butter” There are no measurements such as we know today … there are things like “gill” … small fistfull … kitchen cup … teacup etc. I also have the written interpretations of these recipes down through the generations in separate laminated form attached to each original. The last interpretation was my own which changed the lard to shortening which, due to the gluten factor, required a change in amounts for other ingredients.

    It’s a lot of fun to sit with my grandchildren and go through the changes made to the recipes over the last 8 or so generations.

  6. Elaine,

    Would that have been Wigilia by any chance? Tex’s mother’s family celebrated Wigilia on Christmas Eve … 12 meatless courses which included several types of pierogis. I always had barshch duty.

  7. I have no family – well I do but its a long story. It is wonderful to read the stories you put here about the good times with your family.
    (and I have used lard for crust, makes a great one, but didn’t think about using it for other purposes. The cookies sound wonderful)

  8. Blouise,

    It’s fun getting together with family and making favorite foods. For several years, we had four generations gather at my house a week or two before Christmas to make pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner. It was time-consuming, labor intensive, and very messy. Still, it was fun. After our work was done, we’d all have dinner together.

  9. Gene and nick,

    I do make my own mozzarella for our favorite caprese salad and thin crust margherita pizza. Tex tosses a mean pizza dough.

  10. Annie,

    There was a super-duper fight in my husband’s family over his father’s collection of well seasoned cast iron pots, pans, skillets, and griddles.

  11. Elaine,

    Oh the wonders of lard. I, too, have gone to Crisco for pie crust but the lard was so much better.

    I have a very old recipe for sugar cookies handed down from my great grandmother using lard. Sometimes I will make them that old fashion way using lard instead of Crisco and the taste is simply heaven. They are a soft, thick, almost cake-like cookie using buttermilk, cream of tarter and baking soda. It’s a rollout dough and there is nothing like one of these cookies with morning coffee. They are, however, so labor intensive that it is a recipe we save for the holidays. Some are simply dusted with sugar and then baked and others are left free of the dusting so that they can be decorated after baking.

    All the females gather at 8:00a in the kitchen and the mixing and baking begin. We usually make 25-35 doz. The men come over about 5:00p and we all eat dinner after which everybody takes part in the cookie decorating. We have large plastic storage boxes dedicated to just the storing of Christmas sugar cookies. It’s great fun and a huge mess.

  12. I’ve been reading about cold pressed canola oil. It’s great for high heat and because of the expeller/ cold pressing it’s healthier than canola oil processed with heat that you get from the bigger brand names. Olive oil is great for low heat sautéing and anything else cold or low heat.

  13. They made movie theatres stop cooking popcorn in coconut oil and use TRANS FAT oils! I think these progressive scientists are trying to kill us. Coconut oil taste great and is good for you. Try frying eggs w/ it. It’s also excellent as a skin cream. My Chinese acupuncturist turned me onto it.

  14. Don’t trust me, read up on it. But lard not only makes the best pie crust, hands down, it is much healthier than butter, Crisco or oleo. It’s not healthy. But it is almost twice as healthy as the aforementioned trio. And, once you eat a lard crust you ain’t NEVER goin’ back.

    All of these progressive food idiots who got us off lard, butter, coconut oil were full of shit. Coconut oil is a damn wonder food, up there w/ blueberries and walnuts as far as a cooking agent.

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