Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all

Wild turkeys at Schloss Bodissey, Thanksgiving 2007

A double-barreled gratitude for us at Schloss Bodissey: not only is it Thanksgiving, but today is also the Baron’s and my wedding anniversary. How truly fortunate we are!

Every family has different holiday traditions. Entering into marriage, each of the partners brings ‘the creed, the cult and the code’ of those feast days from their own family of origin and from there the two people begin to negotiate what will constitute their holiday ritual(s). An example: during most of my life, a roast turkey was the main feature of this November feast. As the years wore on it dawned on me how much I truly loathed that bird. Except for the beautifully browned skin and the giblets, there was nothing to love. Thus began my search for a substitute.

Back in the time when there was still a small specialty butcher shop in town, I could order capon (and lots of other meats that have since gone out of style. Sweetbreads, anyone?). With the coming of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods into the area, that store was squeezed out. These two big stores that were responsible for the demise of The Carriage House don’t even know what capon is, much less how to order one. Like other craftsmen, real butchers are disappearing. The only capon I could find was online, in Missouri, and far beyond our budget. Sigh.

Determined to stick with poultry, we moved on to duck. One year I even learned how to spatchcock one and what to do with the lovely rendered fat. Spatchcocking is a nice strategy for almost any kind of poultry. But not for this year’s Thanksgiving supper. Since the future Baron is our only guest, we’ll be having quail, marinated in the fB’s mixture. The fB is always happy to eat, and as accommodating to my peccadilloes as his father has always been.

Time to turn the quail in their marinade again. Not only do I love the flavor but sans stuffing they cook in twenty minutes or so. I’ll probably cover them lightly with buttered parchment paper so they don’t dry out.

Sides? Roasted potatoes, a relish tray, homemade cranberry sauce, and haricots verts with slivered almonds. I had planned on carrots and/or sweet potatoes, but virtue and sloth won out over the carb load those would provide.

Funny how life minimalizes everything as one approaches the gates of infinity. Someday, when I have more energy and there are no quail awaiting their turn in the oven, I will tell you the story of holding my very first brace of quail in one hand and a French cookbook in the other. The latter unveiled the mysteries of plucking feathers, cleaning out the innards, and roasting one of the most memorable meals I ever prepared. I was eleven years old at the time; that experience was to define many years of culinary adventures.

But I forgot: this is a day for gratitude! Besides, my good fortune in finding the Baron, in raising my children, etc. there are particular ones for this year. The main gratias I offer to the universe? That Hillary Clinton isn’t president. Another? That during our Thanksgiving supper there won’t be any smartphones or politics. Just good food, a wine picked out by our sommelier son and lots of laughter.

We will raise our first glass to toast you, the readers of Gates of Vienna. May God bless you all.

35 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all

  1. Thank you.
    You and the Barron are the hope for an undiluted truth.
    All my respect to your dedication and ambition.
    God Bless.

  2. “We will raise our first glass to toast you, the readers of Gates of Vienna. May God bless you all.”

    Thank you!

  3. Hope you all had a delightful Thanksgiving day! Thankful you provide the news and perspectives you contribute, very well.

    The turkeys remind me of nearly tripping over one of a similar but tighter group in the autumn while running along a trail high above Glenwood Springs, many years ago. I had to retrieve a tele lens I had dropped along the trail, not sure if they were lethargic or stupid, but I got so near, I could have rung ones neck, almost like a “dumb hen” grouse. Think I was a body length away before a couple got out of the way. Maybe they were tame, but I doubt it. Happened back in about ’62, or ’63

  4. As very much an outsider, all I might add, is that time and again when I tune in here, I feel welcomed and at home, and that in spite of any differences of opinion.

    All I can say is thank you.

  5. For me it’s cold pizza and cold beer. I did have a frozen turkey tv dinner, but the pizza is easier. Sooo festive.

    I do have things to be thankful for. I thankful my dear old mom is still in reasonably good health for her 86 years. And I’m thankful that we have President Trump and NOT President Hilary. So cold pizza for Thanksgiving isn’t so bad.

    All in all, I’m happy with the day. I just came across an expression the other day, I don’t recall where: “Happiness is a kick in the [privates] that hasn’t happened yet”. So I guess today I’m happy, yet in suspense.

    Happy Thanksgiving and wonderful holidays to come to all of you.

  6. With all the fancy dining taking place today, I’m having…cold pizza. And cold beer! I might make a quesadilla later, I have some left over chicken that would suit.

    I do have things to be thankful for though. I’m thankful that my mom is still relatively healthy for her 86 years. I’m thankful we have President Trump and not President Hilary.

    Still, I’m happy. I’ll eat far too well soon enough when I make my holiday visit for Christmas, far too well. And I like Pizza, I have a couple of frozen turkey dinners but I reached for the pizza. What was I supposed to do, argue with myself?

  7. “…today is also the Baron’s and my wedding anniversary…”

    May the best of the past so many years be the worst you can expect in the coming so many years 🙂

    “…We will raise our first glass to toast you, the readers of Gates of Vienna. May God bless you all.”

    A Tard by the name of Haroun
    Ate whiskey by means of a spoon
    To one who asked why
    This tard made reply:
    “To drink is forbidden, you loon.”

  8. Happy Thanksgiving and many Happy Returns of your wedding anniversary.
    Beautiful post , I particularly enjoyed the pic of the wild turkeys in your yard. How lucky you are to wake up to that in the morning. God bless, and a big Thank You for this site.

  9. Here in Sderot we gathered together, 3 Californians, 2 Brits and a Canuk, we massacred 2 Large Chickens (the Turkey hunt was unsuccessful this year and none of us has a big enough pven anyway). Sweet Pots with spiced rum! mash and beans…..

    Tonight we meet again for Shabbat and leftovers…

    Thank-you all, readers, editors and proprietors, may next year bring further enlightenment to all!

  10. This Thanksgiving , tho’ not being a U.S. citizen, I’m thankful I have Gates of Vienna as a trustworthy alternative source of news. I’m also thankful you have Trump as President, rather than that harridan Lady Macbeth.

    If we in Canada can’t get rid of Trudeau on our own, hopefully The Donald can put him back in his playpen for us!

    And congratulations on your anniversary.

  11. Happy Thanksgiving! It is called “Erntedank” (= thanking for the harvest) in German and the tradition much older than Christianity. The traditional bird for the occasion here is goose. For those following a Christian calendar there is both the “Martinsgans” (“St. Martin’s goose”) which is consumed around St. Martin’s day on 11-11, and the “Weihnachtsgans” (“Christmas goose”). There is no unified opinion on which tradition to follow, but the styles of celebrating are pretty much the same save for different regional recipes.

    Goose meat has a nice taste of its own, unlike turkey which imo is about the definition of bland. Sides of potato dumplings and cooked red cabbage often round it off, stuffing e.g. with course-cut pieces of apple, pear and onion. Alternatively, the recipe for Bavarian/Austrian bread dumplings makes a wonderful stuffing, too, in which case ofc you’d omit the extra dumplings. Since the goose has a thick natural layer of fat which melts off during cooking, it produces plenty of sauce you just can’t stop gorging on. Leftover sauce just soaked up in white bread makes another meal days after the bird is gone. I’ma getting hungry…

  12. Dear Baroness (Dymphna) and Baron!
    I wish you all the happiness on your wedding anniversary and have a very pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. I hope I can fight with you for many years to come, shoulders to shoulder for a better world!

    Isten éltessen soká, jó egészségben! (The Good Lord keep you for long in good health!)

  13. I was reminded of the existence of sweetbread, hard to find in any butcher shop. Long time ago, I went to one in the centre of a big and wealthy city and asked if they had it. ” Well of corse we do. You are in a real butcher shop” .
    What about sweetbread in a morel madeira cream sauce? Does that sound fingerlicking good? You are welcome to come over and do the skinning of that matter while I watch.

  14. You guys are loving quality folks bringing us important European news that is truthful and difficult to get anywhere else. I am thankful for you.

  15. Many happy returns of the day and happy anniversary to both of you! The breadth of your knowledge and the erudite way of your discourse does not cease to amaze me. What fine people you are!

    My Old Glory flies as proudly as yours – and “O long may it wave …”.

  16. A belated Thanksgiving missive from this poor sod whose Internet connection has been active for all of 4 hours over the past three days.

    May the pair of you enjoy BOTH celebrations for years to come. I cannot imagine something more challenging to the imagination than a huge wishbone to tug on during one’s wedding anniversary.

    Grin … grin … wink … wink … say-no-more.

  17. A belated congratulations on your anniversary and for Thanksgiving. I can’t stand tasteless turkey. Give me a good old capon or pheasant any time.

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