Thanksgiving cooking: sights and sounds
Every year Thanksgiving comes as slowly as the colors change leaves on the trees, turning subtle shades of red, orange and yellow. As Halloween dwindles down, the anticipation of a day filled with gluttony and family builds up. And when that day finally comes, Thanksgiving is a collage of chaos as nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles run in and out of the kitchen, as one of the biggest meals of the year is prepared.
People pack the kitchen, someone making coffee while someone searches for a mid-afternoon snack. Voices warble throughout the room, muddled by the din of clanging pots and pans. Shrieks of laughter mingle with shrieks of annoyance, making one indiscernible from the other.
As the gravy simmers in a saucepan on the stove, the turkey lays out in a roasting pan. The smell of spicy apple cider wafts around the room, mingling with the smell of fresh sage, bay leaves and onions sauteing in a pan on the stove.
The oven beeps as it hit 400 degrees, the roasting temperature for the turkey. The bird goes in as the artichoke-spinach dip comes out, a blend of chopped spinach, artichoke hearts and Parmesan cheese covered with a layer of pepper jack cheese. Warmth from the oven floods the kitchen leaving the room a few degrees hotter than the rest of the house.
The dip sits on a rack to cool as preparations for the green beans continue on. Eyes water as the pungent onion falls apart, the sharp blade of a knife slicing into the layers. The onion and mushrooms mingle in a pan where they swim in a warm bath of butter.
Meanwhile, russet potatoes plop into a large pot, the flames of the stove top heating the potatoes through. Water bubbles, and the potatoes bob about in the pot.
Knives slice through the boiled greens as easily as they would through butter. Cheese, green beans, onions and mushrooms come together in a blend of earthy tones in a baking dish.
And then comes the pumpkin, the insides, scooped out and tossed in a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. A carcass of the pumpkin sits on the table.
Piece by piece the meal came together. One person makes the green bean casserole and another mashes the potatoes.
White napkins pattern the mahogany table, and silver gleams against the white. Candles flare up, adding to the medley of smells pressing against the walls.
Dishes were carried out, arranged on the table in the dining room artistically, each one catching the light. One by one people filtered.
Chairs scraped and creaked as they bore the weight of those waiting for the big meal. Prayers were mumbled in accord, and finally, a carving knife sliced through the turkey.
Laughs echoed throughout the room and people helped themselves to seconds and some to thirds. Silverware clattered against plates as bits of food were scraped up.
Eventually the meal comes to a close as everyone finishes their last few bites. The din dies down, and the table creaks as people push their chairs away, looking for room to breathe. Thanksgiving dinner has ended, but the day hasn’t. And the time spent with family would continue on.
By Ipsa Chaudhary