I mean, what else can you possibly write about, the week of Thanksgiving?

It’s not like I’m going to start waxing poetic about green vegetables or anything.


Orange pumpkins, carrots,
sweet potatoes and clementines.
Earth-hued turkey, gravy,
dressing, potatoes.

Ruby cranberries,
golden corn.
is the green?

Not the sage or olive shades
that dot the table in casseroles,
but the bright green of crisp.
The green that makes you feel clean.

A Thanksgiving table,
limited not by the sepia-tones
of depicted scenes
from four hundred years ago.

Like a bride
checking off her list of borrowed, blue, old, new
I am choosing
the thing we will eat that is green.


Or, maybe I will. Just to offset the things at the forefront of my mind: pumpkin, and turkey.

This week I will be roasting my first ever pastured turkey, fresh from a local farm. Our bird was running around, unawares, just 4 days ago. Now, he (she?) is chillin’, shrink-wrapped, in my fridge, waiting for a nice cool bath of salty, herb-infused water. After reading several opinions on the subject, I’ve decided to brine (the main reason being, why not?). The elephant in the room being: outside of the ethical impetus of buying a local bird, will the flavor be worth the price? We’ll know in three days.

Another first: I’ll be making our beloved, classic pumpkin pie with real pumpkin (as opposed to canned). I’ve always heard ho-hum reviews of using real pumpkin, that not only is it not worth the effort, but it actually doesn’t taste as good as a pie made with Libby’s. But — never one to trust much of what I read, I’ve got to try this out for myself. I roasted two pie pumpkins today, and the purée is ready for pie-making early Thursday morning.

And while the poem about greens was in jest, it’s true that no one thinks about them. They are the red-headed stepchild of Thanksgiving day. What do you do to get something fresh and bright into the menu, something that holds its own against a table full of casseroles?

This post is part of the Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS.

16 thoughts on “I mean, what else can you possibly write about, the week of Thanksgiving?

  1. My favorite green at Thanksgiving and Christmas is collards. I look forward to them just as much as the sweet potato casserole and will be making a big pot this week although I am not cooking for turkey-day. I know they aren’t “bright” but they are fresh and green this time of year.

    1. Actually, kale is high on my list. I also made some incredible garlic-sautéed green beans a few years ago, from Cook’s Illustrated. Then there’s a good ol’ green salad — but how to make it special, and/or Thanksgiving-like?

  2. Well turnip greens or collard greens do well on any table! I grew both in my garden in Clinton. I have a neighbor who is growing both now! Hmmmm. Actually I wish I had grown turnips in my tomato bed for fall/winter.

  3. Thanksgiving dinner
    Too much flavor for me when
    I prefer the bland.

    – a confessional haiku in response to Katy’s free-verse food poetry

  4. I do believe I am making the same CI green beans for this year’s table. I’ll admit it, I do love the green-bean casserole with the scary ingredients, but I love having a vegetable with some color and snap to it as well. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the bird. I’ve always been tempted, but afraid the expense would be wasted on certain taste buds in my family. Not that I’d name any names.

    I roasted pumpkins for the first time last year and I swore I could taste a difference, in a good way. Then again, sometimes I like to lead myself down certain belief paths when I’ve spent an inordinate time doing something that most people spend 30 seconds with a can opener on.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. My pie test won’t be totally fair: I’m using a new recipe in addition to using the real pumpkin. I just can’t resist trying a recipe that uses creme fraiche instead of evaporated milk. A can-less pie!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  5. My dad made a comment many years ago in response to another heavy green bean casserole made by my aunt: “why can’t we just have regular green beans?” Our green will probably come from green beans sauteed in butter with some garlic (my favorite. Not the CI recipe, but I bet that one’s awesome). Maybe we’ll have a salad, too. Mmm, lettuce!

    Love the red-headed stepchild comment. 🙂

  6. as my entire kitchen is in boxes, thanks for the opportunity to fantasize about the things i would be cooking this week… last year i roasted pumpkins and made a pumpkin ginger cheesecake instead of pie, and it was delicious–def. better than canned, and such a pretty color. and as for the green, what about a simple green salad with a light vinaigrette incorporating some autumnal spice, with dried cranberries? says the person who feels cranberries must appear somewhere, put pref. not in a gelatinous relish…

    1. Awwww… but you WILL be having a feast, right? Just not at your own house?

      I’m with you on the salad. A classic fall salad, with apples and cranberries and balsamic? And yes, we’re doing cranberry sauce, but it’s not jello-d ; )

  7. Has no one mentioned brussel sprouts? I know I saw a good recipe for roasted ones somewhere. I had a talk with mom today and she asked that I be responsible for the green on the table. As we brainstormed she, like your mom, mentioned the roasted asparagus which was inspired by you.
    That recipe is so good and so simple. Asparagus just reminds me of spring, I’d rather keep the green in season for Thanksgiving.

  8. Looking forward to hearing how the pie with real pumpkin goes. Just had some yummy pie at my mom’s tonight in which she used canned. But she said for Christmas, she’ll be using real pumpkins. I wonder which one I’ll like better… (Though, I cover it in enough Cool Whip, I probably won’t even notice…)

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