Home for the holiday.
12 hours until check-in time! I haven't been home for Thanksgiving since 2009, so I am reeeeally looking forward to this. Turkey, pumpkin pie, family time, Ann Arbor, and maybe only the most important football game of the year on Saturday. Some people might think it's a long way to travel for a 24 hour holiday, but those people have never been to Thanksgiving. Essentially, for all of you non-Americans, it is about food. People will try to convince you otherwise. They will tell you that it is a day about giving thanks for all that you have and reflecting upon the good things in your life. Now, I am not saying that this 'giving of thanks' does not happen. I am saying that when most people think about Thanksgiving, they are almost immediately confronted with intense visualizations of the copious amounts of highly delicious food that they know they will get to eat on this day. Therefore, it is about food, and it is wonderful.
The general layout of the day for my family goes something like this: wake-up, eat small or no breakfast, travel to house of Thanksgiving host, fill small plate with pre-dinner snacks, chat with family, watch football, more snacks, help with dinner preparation, more snacks, get scolded by grandma for eating too much before dinner, dinner, chat with family whilst enjoying several helpings of turkey and other traditional side dishes, pretend to stop eating and continue chatting, take one last helping, help clear up, complain loudly about unbearable fullness, promise to never eat again, relax, watch a film, stop film after half-an-hour to fill up dessert plate, continue with film, chat, relax, snack on leftovers, etc., etc., etc.
Obviously relaxing is a big part of the day. Some families actually build in a communal nap time just after the main meal. My family does not do this. Other families schedule a long walk to make room for desserts. My family does not do this either. We don't have to. The consuming of large amounts of food comes naturally to us. Maybe it's genetic. Or a talent, if you prefer.
Having always attended Thanksgiving, as opposed to throwing it, I have never really had the chance to explore the world of possible Thanksgiving recipes. I did put on a small party last year, but considering the fact that we ate chicken and I was just trying to re-create my own family's traditional dishes, it didn't really count. I am excited about the prospect of trying out a variety of recipes in the future, although negotiating a day off on a non-English holiday is going to be a little tricky. But, who knows. It could make my dinners all that much more interesting. As in, turkey cooked in three hours or less....interesting.
For those of you who are embarking on the adventure that is Thanksgiving dinner this year (especially if it's your first year), here's a link to some recipes by one of my favorite bakers, http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2012/11/05/70-thanksgiving-recipes/, including Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip! What?! She's listed that under 'desserts', but it looks like perfect snacking material to me ;) Good luck!