• Posted by Califia Suntree on November 24th, 2010, 8:53 AM

    Happy day-before-Thanksgiving, America’s biggest grocery shopping/travel torture day! We should start calling it Black Wednesday, shouldn’t we? For everyone’s mood? Anyway, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays in part because it’s secular and specific to our country—as a nonreligious person, it’s nice to feel part of something—and in part because it’s all about cooking and eating. (OK, and family and gratitude and la la la.) As everyone heads out to shop for tomorrow’s dinner, here are some tips to keep you from breaking the bank and still feed your loved ones to the point of near coma, like the Pilgrims intended:

    * Stick to the basics. Let’s call them “classics,” which everyone loves. No needs or really even wants a complex, gourmet turkey day. And the core dishes are the very definition of thrift: a whole turkey, sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, stuffing, a seasonal veg (try long-cooked greens or a salad with seasonal fruits and nuts), maybe a squash casserole, homemade pie. Keep the porcini gravy, porcetta-wrapped whatever, microgreens, and other fripperies for another day.

    * Avoid storebought anything. The only things you should be buying for the meal are the raw ingredients. Use stale bread for the stuffing, make your own pie crust, and don’t buy premade sides. You are allowed to buy canned pumpkin because it’s usually more economical than buying and roasting whole pumpkins (if you can find ’em!). It’s your time or your money, babe!

    * Stay seasonal. Lucky for our wallets, Thanksgiving classics are not only inherently thrifty, but obviously seasonal. So don’t go spending where you don’t have to on berries, fresh corn or tomatoes, and asparagus. Think winter squash, root vegetables, sturdy greens, mushrooms.

    * Use your leftovers. Before you pass out on Thursday (even if it’s at 6pm), carve the meat off the turkey and give it to guests to take home, refrigerate it, freeze it, whatever you need to do. Then either get the carcass straight in a stock pot with peppercorns, an onion and carrots and start simmering, or break the carcass between a couple freezer bags and freeze for another day. Point is: make broth. Properly store all your leftovers and you will have delicious dishes for days: turkey sandwiches with cranberry and mustard; leftover sweet potato biscuits; a savory leftover-stuffing strata. Just remember to serve the strata for brunch Saturday, not Friday—it can be hard to face stuffing two meals in a row.

Comments

  1. November 24th, 2010 at 6:52 pm
    Marici

    I love Thanksgiving because it reminds me of happy times with you.

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