Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Americana: Black Friday

 

People start scouring the Internet in early November to learn who has the best deals. Then they forgo sleep and queue up with hundreds of like-minded bargain hunters. Uploaded by sonyinsider.com.

If you’re old enough, and I have to admit I am, you can remember when the Christmas shopping season began on the day after Thanksgiving. Until that day, Christmas music wasn’t played, retail stores weren’t decorated, and nobody got up before dawn to go shopping. Over time, retailers got greedier – and I hate to use that language, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em – and shopping moved earlier and earlier in the year. But the day everyone pointed to – and they still do – is the day after Thanksgiving, which became known as Black Friday.

Uploaded by legalmatch.typepad.com.

While that term sounds strangely ominous, its origin is said to be that this is the busiest shopping day of the year, hence the day stores get “in the black.” It’s as good an explanation as any. Stores began opening at 6 a.m., then 5 a.m., and now some are opening at midnight. In fact, as popular as this day has become for bargain hunters, it may eventually disappear, since the greediest retailers are now staying open on Thanksgiving Day. Their greed is disgusting, and if I were the King of All Things, I’d have them lose millions when people stayed away.

In the meantime, shoppers begin scouring the Internet early in November to get an idea of the deals they can expect on Black Friday. Maybe a 50-inch HDTV for $995. Or a laptop computer for $249. They’ll line up waiting for the doors to open, and there will be a story or two about someone being trampled by crazed crowds. But the trend is for retailers to put their deals online, which may make the prices available to more people, and alleviate this crowd. Whether that trend takes hold or not, Black Friday will continue to mean once-a-year prices that some won’t be able to resist.

Food: Pumpkin Pie

 

Pumpkin is native to North America, so it's only natural that pumpkin pie is the official dessert of Thanksgiving - probably Christmas, too. Uploaded by files.list.co.uk.

It’s the official dessert of Thanksgiving. You could say the same for Christmas. And while we may not think of it at other seasons of the year, it’s good any time.

Pumpkin pie is a natural for this list, since pumpkins are native to America. There are lots of recipes for pumpkin pie, ranging from the simplest (pour pumpkin pie filling in a pre-made pie shell) to Martha Stewart-like complex. One famous chef who knows her desserts is Paula Deen, so let’s take a look at her recipe for pumpkin pie, courtesy of the Food Network:

Uploaded by blogs.creativeloafing.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1 piece pre-made pie dough
  • Whipped cream, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

I couldn’t find a video of Paula making her pumpkin pie, so here’s a completely different pumpkin pie video:

Food: Thanksgiving Turkey

Ground turkey mimics ground beef, and turkey sausage mimics pork. But nothing mimics a roast turkey. Uploaded to Flickr by jen d. cox.

On Thanksgiving Day, everyone looks forward to a feast unlike any other day of the year. And while the supporting cast is important, the undisputed star of the show…is turkey.

Turkey is native to America, and you may remember that Ben Franklin lobbied to have it named the official American mascot. Fortunately for us all, he was unsuccessful.

Uploaded to Flickr by rebelxtned.

As popular as turkey is on Thanksgiving, so popular that the holiday’s nickname is “Turkey Day,” it’s surprising that people don’t enjoy turkey as much during the rest of the year. It’s inexpensive, rather easy to prepare, and a turkey or breast can feed a family in leftovers and sandwiches for most of a week.

Turkey is a lean meat, and as a result has become a tasty and nutritious substitute for other meats. Ground turkey makes a pretty decent substitute for beef in chili, and for pork in sausage.

One thing we all know about turkey is that it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which works as a natural sedative. I just had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my stepdaughter, anzzzzzzzzzzzzz