This week is, understandably, about a few key flavors: hot, roasting turkey and its drippings, made into a savory gravy. Or the buttery, sauteed smell of sage and onion and celery, which perfumes your entire home and reminds you of the holidays of childhood, even though you're pretty sure your grandmother never actually made anything from scratch.
Let's not demean those foods, and the bountiful leftovers. It's what the season is all about. But, sometimes...you need a break. Because this is the week of houseguests and slow mornings and relying on food to fill unoccupied time. And when you're not feeling a fourth helping of stuffing (or, perhaps, right before the dried bread and fixings are even mixed), it's time to employ: the DIY cast iron cinnamon rolls.
Thanksgiving has two of my favorite English words in it, so it's not surprising it's among my favorite holidays of the year. It's infinitely adaptable, both in terms of what you eat, and what you do during the holiday. Plus, it's a long weekend off during a period of the year when most of us sorely need it (a break from the cold, grey skies of early winter). This is the holiday for people who wish they could hibernate. For people who want to sit in their house all day, surrounded by good friends, family, and food. Who are thankful for what they have, and want to share it with others who might not be so lucky.
So I'm excited to share a heaping helping of my favorite tips for making the Thanksgiving holiday smooth and stress-free.
Halloween has its horror and December its infinite loop of sparkle-strung classics. Good or bad, they're the established traditions of their seasons.
But, if you will, allow me to make the case as November as perhaps the prime month for festive film watching. We can't all relate to being chased by ax murderers nor having the carolers sing as we find our soulmate under the mistletoe just as the snow starts to fall outside. But everyone knows the experience of returning home to break bread and spill gravy with family, or, perhaps, what it's like to strike out on your own for the first holiday not spent at your grandparents. The Thanksgiving table (and four days of being stuck in the same place) is the perfect setting for drama, comedy, and everything in between. Plus, all those sweaters. Here are our faves that get it right.
You know those little pumpkins you practically trip over in the supermarket this time of year? It turns out: they're good for more than just Instagram props. With, like, no work, they make a really tasty pumpkin butter you’ll want to have in the fridge all year long. I’m talking about pumpkin butter with the magical spice flavor of pumpkin pie, but simple, less sweet and much more, well, pumpkin-y.
I'll admit it: when I was 24, and thinking about hosting friends for Thanksgiving for the very first time, I probably wouldn't have used a guide like this. For one thing, I was stubborn and willful, and liked to think I could figure everything out on my own (wrong!). For another, that was 2006, and the internet was a much newer, smaller place then: this type of guide probably wasn't out there.
But you, my friends! You youngsters with your illogical catch phrases and shrug emojis and your ability to understand how to use Snapchat! You can be better! You can do what few young men before you have ever done! You can host an awesome Thanksgiving meal at your house, and it can look amazing, and you can even have fun doing it. C'mon, it's not going to be hard ...
We've still got a couple weeks yet, but why not check out these recipes now and prepare yourself for the manliest Thanksgiving yet? The dinner menu features "a turkey smoked over sweet applewood and corncobs, ember-cooked potato packets..., a grilled fig and dried fruit chutney; and grilled green beans with shallots and hazelnuts."
Hi friends - this'll be my last post for the week. I'm spending the rest of the day and all of Tuesday in my workshop, banging out some original how-tos and Christmas projects, (stay tuned), before going into full-on holiday mode on Wednesday. And before I go, I wanted to share the thing for which I'm most thankful for this year:
To celebrate the harvest season and all things Thanksgiving, Abstract Sunday artist Christoph Niemann created "Squash Modern," a collection of modern design classics reinterpretted with, well, squash.
Hello, hello, friends. I'm happy to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving. This year, I'm struck by how thankful I am to have a job that I love, exploring the handmade and design scene, making cool stuff, and sharing them with the ManMade and Curbly audiences. I was able to make my dream come true before I even hit thirty, and I'm incredibly, incredibly grateful.
So, thanks to all of you for reading our sites, and for allowing me to do this full time.
Here's an old favorite of mine; enjoy it, and be grateful that all of your friends and family aren't so negative. (Hopefully!)
I've gone on record on ManMade (multiple times...too many to link) about my love of pickling. Not just kosher dills from a jar, but the act of changing the entire experience of fruits and veggies by treating them with salty, acidic solutions. I especially love "quick pickles" and "fridge pickles," which have all the flavor and brightness, but don't require the dance of sterilization and preservation of process canning.
Over the summer, I pickle everything from peaches to beans and peas, and in the fall, pumpkin, apples, and squash. So, during this unique time of year...why not pickle its seasonal signature - the cranberry?
Yeah, the grocery stores and commercials are full of standards for that other upcoming holiday, but this week, if you're not quite ready to jump to sleigh bells and mentions of misteltoe, try rocking out to NPR's "Songs for Stuffing," a collection of jams for Thanksgiving.
There's a somewhat famous pumpkin festival about an hour from my house, which came very highly recommended when I first moved to the city six years ago. It's standard fair and festival stuff: touring food trailers and games, local non-profits and faith communities fundraisers, student art, etc. It's kinda crazy and kitschy and pretty awesome, and certainly worth a visit. But, after a few years, my attendance slowed: mostly 'cause all we'd do is stand around and eat mediocre food that's really bad for you, look at the cloggers, get stuck behind the parade, and stand in line for forty-five minutes for some seriously tasty, piping hot fresh pumpkin doughnuts, the highlight of the festival if you ask anyone.
So, this year, we decided to skip the drive and the parking fiasco and the food-on-sticks, and just make pumpkin doughnuts at home.
And they were incredible.
Though Tim Burton's creations usually find their annual heydays during the Halloween season, this year, the filmmaker's dark, macabre aesthetic will be sticking around for another few weeks. This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature B.Boy, a Burton-designed balloon, mixing it up with Snoopy, Kermit the Frog, and the Keith Haring guy that started showing up a few years ago.
We don't think carving a turkey is an essential man skill, with grandpa (who didn't have anything to do with the planning or cooking of the meal) standing at the head of the table, steeling his knife and taking all the credit.
Nope, we thinking that properly carving a turkey is an essential people skill, and the best way to take advantage of all the hard work that went into cooking it.
Fancy menus, special dishes, and super turkey techniques aside, the thing I'm always most grateful for is mashed potatoes, and plenty of gravy. Put whatever you want in the stuffing or cranberries, but leave my mash the way God intended it, fluffy and creamy, with a huge crater for plenty of gravy, freshly made from pan-drippings.
I've never actually drunk gravy from a glass, as suggested in the photo, but I'm pretty sure I'm not opposed to it.
I've never tried this recipe for turkey stuffing made from White Castle sliders...as a matter of fact, I've never actually eaten anything from White Castle (other than a diet Coke that one time after the fireworks), even though their headquarters aren't two miles from my house.
But, still, it does have the makings of classic turkey stuffing - bread from the buns, onions, hamburger subbed for sausage, then flavored with celery, sage, thyme, and chicken broth.
It took me a couple of days, but I finally figured out what I'll be making for Thanksgiving.
For the first time, I'm veering away from trying to do the traditional items as best as possible. I grew up eating frozen Butterball, Stove Top stuffing, and perservative-laden green bean casserole Thanksgivings, so I spent my first two years on my own seeking to do the sage/celery heavy Thanksgiving as best as I could.
But this year, I'm ready for something else, and so I'm gonna embrace my beloved Mexican and Latin flavors and infuse them into the Thanksgiving classics.
Here's what I'm thinking:
Appetizers: Southwest Cheeseball and
If you find yourself gathered with others this Thanksgiving, you'll find yourself with 1) a lot of food, and, if you're not cooking, eating, or cleaning up 2) some downtime.
We always think a group of folks gathered is an opportunity to do something together. While watching football may be a popular tradition, there are plenty of other options for all types of personalities and groups. More importantly, when you do stuff together, you might surprised to find that you actually like the people you're gathered with.
Here's a few of our favorites, and we hope you'll post some of yours in comments below.