The holiday season is officially here. Thanksgiving is less than one week away and planning your dinner is becoming a to-do-list topper. Let's take today and discuss the possibilities of your plan.
I am a big traditionalist when it comes to the main course, I like turkey. But how much turkey do you need? They say that 1lb of uncooked turkey should be enough for each person, 12 people = 12 pound bird. But I have never been one for professional advice (and besides, who are "they" anyway) so I say go bigger, leftovers are the best part. This photo (borrowed from 1000words.com) is a good indication of the type of bird I would plan on buying, enough to feed the foreign legion and still make sandwiches all weekend.
Then comes the stuffing. Lots of folks put their stuffing into the bird (hence the name "stuffing") and others like to cook the bready goodness in it's own pan. I say stuff the bird, then make another separate pan (left over stuffing is an awesome sandwich topper as well). But what kind of stuffing? This is a very personal decision that the cooker of dinner must face. Do you go traditional? extra sausage? oyster based? chopped up White Castle burgers? Get creative, maybe consider soft pretzel based stuffing (I just thought of that (patent pending)). Another Thanksgiving necessity is cranberries. I like to offer fresh cranberry sauce, it's easy to make and way better than the stuff in a can (try this recipe from cooks.com). But if my mother shows up then we have to serve the canned stuff, she loves it (she likes to open the can and shake the cranberry contents out onto a small plate leaving a shaky, ribbed cylinder of maroon weirdness right atop the saucer). I say offer both, go big, it's the holidays.
Having a few other side dishes like mashed potatoes and salad (of the leafy and macaroni verity) is important but should be looked at as an after thought. People have come over for the bird, stuffing and cranberries. But something that should not be looked over is the gravy. Make it right and make it good (and maybe consider serving it in a fountain) because everyone is going to smother everything they eat in it.
And lastly, the beer. A Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without frosty cold beers evenly space throughout your home in several strategically placed coolers. Lots of people means lots of beer (consider the above image in regards to the beer as well as the bird). But why just buy any beer, you have so carefully planned this meal out why would you want to skimp out on the bubbles? You want a beer that is good, rich, and pairs well with your offering. I suggest Frambozen! This is the perfect beer for your celebration and a perfect beer for all of your holiday swing. It is a raspberry brown ale that is so awesomely matched with turkey dinners that there should be a turkey in the middle of that wreath. It's great. Every year a New Belgium brewer heads out to the Pacific Northwest to find just the right raspberry crop, they taste berries all day and decide what is going to mix best with the wonderful (and kinda strong) brown ale. The beer is brewed, the berries are juiced and just after fermentation the two are married together for a loving maturation. It brings out a sweetness in the beer, not a candy sweetness, this is a straight-up fruit sweetness, natural. The berries are in the forefront and the nice, gentle carbonation brings just the right tickle to your nose. This beer is made for the holidays and holiday dinners (available early November through New Years). The rich and savory tastes that come with a properly prepared holiday feast are contrasted well with the sweet-wonderment of raspberries. The sweet-salty fusion in this beer-food pairing is one for the ages.
So grab that piece of scrap paper and make your list, add Frambozen to that list, and start cooking. You and your guests will be really happy in the end (and that is what the Holidays are all about).