Today I spent the day in the kitchen cleaning and cooking up a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for my mother. This is sort of her happy birthday dinner where she got to have a traditional turkey dinner. Since her birthday was last Thursday and Thursdays are her busiest days of her week, I didn't get to see her. And since next Thursday is Thanksgiving and its also my father's birthday, he got to pick what we are going to have for our family meal. And well... he thinks that all turkey is dry and unpleasant to eat so he always asks for beef for any special occasion. Because of this, my mom rarely gets her turkey which she loves, so this year for her birthday I made her the whole spread.
I roasted a bone-in turkey breast which I had brined in a fairly simple brine of brown sugar, kosher salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. I roasted it over a mound of mirepoix and herbs, which made for a very rich and dark pan gravy (almost beef like!). I prepared bourbon candied yams, sour cream mashed potatoes, celery dressing, green beans tossed with bacon, garlic and shallots and a spicy zinfandel apple and cranberry sauce. I also had 2 pies for her to choose from, dutch apple cheesecake pie made with a pecan shortbread crust, and my usual pumpkin pie.
My mom has a rather small appetite so she had a small sampling of each dish and then we packed her up enough left overs to last her a good few days. My father was working while we were eating, but I figured he doesn't care for turkey anyway, so this was her special meal. He'll get his on Thursday.
As we digested our feasts, I washed up all of the dishes so I wouldn't have to deal with them later. Then we played a few hands of Squeek, her favorite card game, which is what our family calls a card game which I've heard also called Nerts, Pounce, and Squeal. We each won a hand, which I find very exciting because I am super competitive with this gave, I had to be if I were to ever stand a chance against my grandmother, mother, and older brother. Head down and serious all the time is the way I play. But a few years ago I begged and begged Eric to play with us as I really valued playing cards with my family. It was our thing. He's not a fan of the cards, but over the last year he has really given it his all, and even will go over to my parents house and play with my mom (isn't he sweet?!). So the fact that he won the last hand was huge (we hardly even helped him this hand).
We ended my mom's special evening with a slice of pumpkin pie and a luxurious dollop of whipped cream.
My mom has been battling some sort of illness which has had doctors baffled (once she finally went back to see them after suffering and getting worse) and has kept her very down and out of things for a good 6 months, so it's been a while since I spent a good afternoon with my mom. She appears to be on the mend, with her team of specialists and her whole slew of inhalers and medications and treatments. She is finally able to sleep laying down without coughing and for a luxurious 5 hours in a row. Finally her body can rest so she can start to heal. Her energy level is so much better and her general well being is greatly improved.
It was great to spend this afternoon with her and to be able to share a special meal with her that was made just for her. This ended up being a very lovely day.
And now... I'm pooped and going to bed. :-)