Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Takes a Village (of Bloggers) to Get Thanksgiving on the Table

A few weeks ago, the members of Food Bloggers, Los Angeles (FBLA) met in an Ocean Park member's home to plan an assault.

With Thanksgiving approaching, a battle plan is needed. In our home, some years, as many as 26 hungry souls have filled our very modest dining room to over flowing. This year we will have 15 friends and family join us around the table.

To quote an oft-quoted book, Thanksgiving is the "best of times, the worst of times."

We look forward to seeing family who live far enough away that we can't see them as often as we like. And there are friends who we happily include in our family circle so they can join us in our celebration.

That celebration is of one another and of favorite dishes. Those responsible for the cooking have many fears.

First and foremost, there won't be enough food.

Next on the fear index, the turkey won't be cooked when every one wants to eat.

Then there are people who promised to bring key elements of the meal who are no-shows or they show but what they promised to bring didn't.

And last but possibly worst, the distracted cook who instead of sugar mixed salt in the pumpkin puree turning a dessert into a side-dish (of sorts).

So a battle plan is needed. To feed a large number of people takes planning and lists, many lists.

Happily, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays when pot-luck is very much a part of the celebration.

When the door bell rings, the door will be opened to greet friends and family who will arrive, bearing gifts of side dishes and desserts. Many of those dishes are the result of years and, in some cases, generations of kitchen-tested cooking for the holiday.

We have a cousin who brings her signature pumpkin pie. Another cousin comes from San Francisco carrying his ice cream maker in the trunk of his car so he can prepare fresh ice cream that he tops with his home made hot fudge sauce. I make an apple pie with crystalized ginger in the crust. My wife cooks her corn bread stuffing with shiitake mushrooms, dried apricots and Italian sausage.

Belonging to a group of food bloggers has many advantages, not the least of which is many more experienced hands and great minds are brought to bear on the seasonal opportunities (end of summer tomatoes was one meeting's topic) and holiday favorites (pumpkin for side dishes and desserts).
At the last meeting the topic, appropriately, the topic was Thanksgiving. I made Moroccan preserved vegetables and charmoula, perfect to accompany a roast turkey, which, unfortunately, did not make an appearance at the gathering. My bad.
What arrived fresh from our kitchens was an amazing assortment of savory side dishes and appetizers and some of the most beautiful looking desserts I have ever seen.
As you can see, part of the fun of such gatherings is to socialize, eat and take photographs of food. Because to a food blogger, there is no eating until there has been much photo-taking.

No comments:

Post a Comment