Well, my dear guests, it is the fourth Thursday in November, and once again my American authoresses have sent their regrets, as they will be celebrating Thanksgiving with those near and dear to them.
Why, Albert. I didn’t know you spoke turkey.
One does wonder how such a rustic meal could tempt the authoresses away from my ratafia and lobster patties. Perhaps this year I will try my hand at preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so I can judge for myself.
Before they all went winging home, I asked the authoresses to scribble down their own personal Thanksgiving favorites and advice. If I can find my lorgnette, perhaps we can make a menu for Cook.
Ah, here is Miss Sarah Maclean’s note.
I confess, I’m the turkey-girl in our family…there is nothing I like more than roasting a giant bird. It makes me feel all Martha-Stewarty inside. Thanksgiving is a potluck, all-in affair with us, five loud Italians and a quiet Californian inlaw all in one kitchen, peeling and basting and mashing and roasting. It’s my favorite holiday of the year, without question.
A turkey… Where will I get a turkey today? Pheasant and partridge are much easier to be had in our markets.
Albert! What a suggestion. Of course we will not be sacrificing Monty’s pet. I shall forgo the poultry entirely, to avoid the issue.
Now Miss Tessa Dare tells me cranberries are de rigueur.
For me, the one indispensable element of Thanksgiving dinner is homemade cranberry sauce. It’s so easy to make, and so very good! I make a big batch the night before Thanksgiving, and eat the leftovers for the rest of the week, spreading it like jam on bread.
I don’t think cranberries even grow in England! Will red currants suffice, do you think? Gooseberries, perhaps?
Thank heaven Miss Kate Noble speaks of slightly more familiar ingredients.
My family is all about the mashed potatoes. They are about 75% butter and cream cheese, structurally held together by the potato’s starch, but they are DELICIOUS, and make appearances only at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
Let’s see. Potatoes, yes. Butter, yes. But what is this cream cheese?
It seems Miss Miranda Neville will sympathize with my Englishwoman’s plight. She writes…
Thanksgiving still seems a touch exotic to me since I didn’t grow up with it. My first Thanksgiving I was living in New York City and gathered a group of friends who weren’t going to their own families. I’d never cooked a turkey before and thought it was like a big chicken. We ate dinner at 10pm. I love the potluck aspect of the meal, where everyone provides something. I enjoy experimenting with stuffings and I make a mean mince pie.
Now mince pie can be managed. Miss Katharine Ashe writes of pie, as well.
For Thanksgiving, my mother makes The Most Delicious concord grape pie In The World. It does not taste like Welch’s jelly, but like heaven — tart and sweet and indescribably good. I’m hoping and praying that she will make it this year. And bribing her too.
That does sound delicious. It seems there is a great deal of maternal influence on Thanksgiving menu planning. Miss Lauren Willig provides more evidence:
Our family Thanksgiving tradition is French onion soup– in homage to my mother’s French roots.
Yet more from Miss Gaelen Foley:
Peeling the potatoes with my sisters for an enormous, endless supply of mashed potatoes always felt like a moment of getting in touch with our Irish roots and reminded us of our ancestors who emigrated to American in the late Victorian period. Plus my Mom makes awesome gravy.
And look at what Miss Sabrina Darby has to say!
We go to my mother-in-law’s and she (born in England, but grew up in So Cal) makes Yorkshire pudding the way her mother made it, which is flat and dense in the pan. This year, as I’m on a gluten free diet (so un-Regency!) am going to attempt to make a wheat-free version. I will very much miss the traditional version.
Yorkshire pudding. Now that I know. But what on earth can “gluten-free” mean?
Albert: <<Polly wanna cracker!>>
Mystifying. But I am sensing a theme here, and that is that each Thanksgiving dinner is unique to a family’s history and traditions. But if I’m going to prepare a proper feast, I believe I need more examples.
Dear American guests, if you have a moment to spare during this day of footie-ball and turkey, perhaps you can share your favorite Thanksgiving dish? For any who hail from different shores, perhaps you can share a family favorite dish from another holiday?
And lest I forget – all the authoresses have asked me to express how very, very thankful we are for all of you.