pondering our first family Thanksgiving

This year we are hosting Thanksgiving. The monumentus task of appealing to the palates of not only me and the sommelier, but my parents, my oldest sister and her family, and my in-laws, is daunting. It has been four years since the sommelier and I have hosted the annual meal, and so, we have had the occasion to enjoy many fine versions of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry. My mother has always made this fantastic jalapeño stuffing, my father giblet gravy, and my oldest sister a cream cheese pumpkin pie. The sommelier and I have always provided wine, and the past few years, the cranberry sauce as well, but still, I was unsure of what we would serve for our first official Howe Thanksgiving. This will be the first Thanksgiving that we will host as a complete family; the sommelier and I and the little girl, who is already showing signs of foodie traits.

As I sat in our living room, surrounded by an ever-growing array of developmental toys, I realized that this is our opportunity to shape our Holiday traditions for years to come. I can still remember the beginning of the season as a child: Thanksgiving dinner and the big Texas rivalry football game, followed the next day by turkey salad sandwiches. That first weekend was always spent decorating the house for Christmas; we had an artificial frosted tree, covered in twinkling multi-colored lights, with a handmade nativity set that laid below. We hung garland and tinsel while listening to carols on the record player. I often wonder what Rheagan will remember as she migrates through life. What will her food memories be? More importantly, will she remember us fondly as parents who dared to inlay new traditions? I suddenly became overly ambitious. I researched recipes and menus, and decided on our first Howe Thanksgiving Menu:


Hickory-Bacon and Roasted-Corn Gougeres

Celery-root Bisque with Thyme Crouton

Main Courses:

Simple Roast Turkey with Rich Gravy

Sage and Mushroom Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce with Rum and Tangerine

Cider Glazed Carrots

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic and Parsnips

Haricots Verts with Herbed Butter


Howe Cajun Fried Turkey

Patsy’s Famous Jalapeno Stuffing


Karen’s Holiday Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cinnamon Apple Pie with Raisins and Crumb Topping

a selection of paired wines, TBD

Tomorrow we will begin the preparation for our meal, as little Rhea, the sommelier, and I will head to Central Market for parsley root, parsnip, and local cider. We will contrive a shopping list to gather our ingredients, bond together through local selections, and wander the aisles, searching for best kept foodie secrets. It will be our first tradition in the Howe household, hopefully one of many more to come.

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