Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 at Casa de Slick

Eric Slick, Thanksgiving, 2007, thinking to himself "Now listen, I know I am a vegetarian but surely my dinner will consist of more than string beans, right? Right?

Gary getting ready to carve our $10,000.00 (ha) organic, free range turkey breast (with a nod to Julie who insisted that if we are going to eat meat in her presence, it had to, erm, "meat" with her approval) while Julie (not seen in the photo because she was such a blur of activity) bombards the table with additional magnificent side dishes she has spent two days preparing in both our kitchen and boyfriend Matt's.

There's the string beans up close, which were flash fried with wild mushrooms and walnuts in healthy olive oil for dear old Mom. In fact, every single side dish, as rich and decadent as they were, contained no fat or sugar or anything else which would add to my hasty demise as per my doctor's strict instructions of last week and my reluctant but necessary willingness to listen.

There's Eric again, still waiting for more than string beans to be delivered to his plate, but in the meantime, we've started our annual go around the table where we all say what we are thankful for.

I wish I could remember exactly what each of us said, but Julie made me something called mulled wine except she made it with brandy and after two drinks all I could get out of my mouth was "I am thankful I have such a schweet fammy". Actually, we all said how thankful we are for how close our family is and how much we love each other and what an incredible year it's been; naturally we mentioned how thankful we are to Adrian and Martha Belew and the opportunities and experiences they've afforded all of us and oh my god, Side Four Live...

The first course arrives - Julie's legendary pumpkin soup with carmelized onions, mushrooms, wine, evaporated fat free milk which made it rich and creamy, and even a couple of golden raisins thrown in. Unfreakingbelievable! And next to that, a fresh cranberry chutney which she garnished with a lemon twist and sprig of thyme. One day I really have to post some of Julie's artwork here -- she's an accomplished portraitist who can sketch a person so lifelike it looks like a photograph or even more eerily, you half expect her drawings to talk to you they are so realistic.

There's the finished product - we all had the same plateful of food minus the turkey for Julie and Eric...there's Yukon gold mashed potatoes which Julie whipped with buttermilk as opposed to the heavy cream and pound of butter this family traditionally uses in that dish - she literally knocked the calorie count in half and the fat count to practically zero. Can I tell you that they were the absolute richest and most delicious mashed potatoes I ever had? Oh, she added carmelized shallots and fresh herbs as well, and garnished it with fresh cracked black pepper, so honestly, I didn't even realize the butter was missing. In fact, I doubt I'll ever eat them the "old" way again. Also on the plate was Gary's incredible, legendary stuffing, this year made with multi-grain baguettes from Metropolitan Bakery combined with celery, carrots, onions, fresh herbs and topped with an orange, rosemary gravy - the same gravy he made for our turkey - and he was able to duplicate it using vegetable broth instead of turkey "drippings" for Julie and coud have fooled me -- it was every bit as delicious as ours.

Finally, we ended the meal with a completely invented by Julie fat free apple pie, which she made with her own whole wheat crust and topped with no fat (ha) ice cream.

So yeah, you can get through Thanksgiving and eat like a King/Queen without butter and sugar and still moan and groan and honestly say "This was the best Thanksgiving ever."

Well, it was. Not just the food and company, but it was absolutely the most stress free meal ever. Julie and Gary now run the kitchen like a well oiled machine and in the couple of years Julie has worked in restaurants and thrown parties at Matt's house, she has totally learned how to properly budget her time in the kitchen. I remember 3-4 years ago when she first got interested in cooking -- and when Julie gets interested in something, it's never half way -- a year later she was a gourmet chef with cookbooks from all over the world and a collection of knives and pots and pans which cost more than my house -- anyway, 3-4 years ago it was a wrestling match in our tiny townhouse kitchen (the price you pay for wanting live near the Art Museum har har) with Gary and Julie bumping into each other and a lot of "When will you be done with the oven?" and "Oh man, you are using the pot I wanted to use" etc. etc.

But not yesterday. Gary prepared the stuffing and turkey, put it in the oven, and his work was done. He went upstairs to watch football and listen to Side Four Live (ha...yep...but it was at my request because I have not been able to stop singing Of Bow and Drum and Three of a Perfect Pair, among others)...Julie bustled about in the kitchen, Eric sat with headphones on at his laptop writing music and at one point while stuff was cooking I heard music coming from downstairs and it was Julie and Eric working on a new composition together, heart be still - crap - I hope I remembered to say I was thankful for that at dinner but now that I think about it, Gary probably covered that one -- and since I was totally off the hook to do anything, I sat here and worked on my new book for National Novel Writing Month...arghh...eight more days of writing left...but I am now up to 40,588 words and if you don't believe me, here's the excerpt. In a perfect world, I want to hit 50,000 words and "win" by Sunday night, which is hardly impossible given the fact that it computes to less than 3,400 words per day...of course that's barring any family emergencies or my not feeling well again but so far, so good...

Anyway, more music news tomorrow...I like to keep the holiday posts separate and what a blast we had yesterday going into my archives here...I read my written accounts of Thanksgiving 2006 and 2005 out loud and we all laughed at how many things have changed since this blog first started. I had inadvertently erased Thanksgiving 2004, darn it, because when I first began my journal, I used it as a vehicle to write a novel and then as soon as I realized it was crap I deleted it, not realizing that by deleting months worth of writing that book I also deleted months worth of other stuff, too, but oh well, what can you do.

Now. It's Black Friday so go out and shop! But please - support your local mom and pop store, or what's left of them, anyway Stay out of the evil corporate conglomerates - they all gave campaign contributions to that madman Bush so that he and his fellow demon administration could run this country right into the ground and are now responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of Americans and people in the mideast and all over the world. Corporate conglomerates underpay their workers and spy on them and they are the real reason this country is in the deplorable shape it is in -- both morally and financially.

And err, by the way, have you all had a chance to read this?

Can anyone explain to me why the Madman and his Vice-Madman have not been arrested under charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity? Why are we so docile and accepting of what these people have done? I the only one (other than Gary) who worries we are headed for a civil war in this country as the middle class disappears and the rich have gotten richer while there are people homeless and starving...starving! the so-called greatest country in the world?

Anyway, listen, I know money is really tight right now so if you absolutely have no choice but to shop at a corporate chain for financial reasons, just do me one small favor. Please, please, please don't ever set foot in a Wal-Mart. Don't give that bastard one cent of your hard earned money. Okay? Okay!