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21 November 2008 @ 12:59 pm
Questions for Americans and keen cooks.  
My sister-in-law is American (Texan to be precise) and I offered to do Thanksgiving this year. However, she had now arranged to go back to the States to see her family but is, nevertheless, sending her husband and children to me. The upside of this is that I do not have to recreate an authentic Thanksgiving only one which conforms, more-or-less to the children's memories. The downside, of course, is that I won't have an authentic American around to help out.

Turkey I can manage.

Should I buy cranberry sauce or try to make it? I'm not a jam or chutney maker and I'm appalling at gravy but I can manage simple sauces. My in-laws always have mashed sweet potato for Thanksgiving - would it be sacrilege if I roasted the sweet potatos? Is there anything else I need to include?
philmophlegm: Yamamayaaphilmophlegm on November 21st, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Sweet potatos are very easy to mash. They are easier to delumpify than potatos.
louisedennislouisedennis on November 21st, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
I happen to be fond of them roast, and its a no-brainer to do. But I'm being informed elsewhere that the mashing is integral to Thanksgiving so it looks like mashing it is.

I'm guessing just a straight mash, without the sneaky addition of cream which I might be tempted to do if it were normal potatoes.
Tsixgun45lc on November 21st, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
For sweet potato, I've typically heard of it being roasted with little marshmallows on top, although my wife doesn't do them that way. For mashed we typically use plain old potatos. For cranberries, the vast majority of folks I know that like them at all will just buy a can of cranberry sauce and call it good. My mom did make her own one year, though, and my wife did two years ago. It was tasty but a bit of a hassle. The only other thing I think would be necessary is stuffing/dressing. That and turkey are the defining bits for Thanksgiving to me. Good luck. :D
louisedennislouisedennis on November 22nd, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)
The turkey and stuffing aren't too scary since we do those for Christmas. At the moment I'm planning regular roast potatoes (the way my Mum and Grandmother do them) and mashed sweet potatoes. Mashing them with Maple syrup has been suggested which sounds good assuming I can source any decent maple syrup round here.
rodlox: Helenrodlox on November 21st, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
so long as there's something vaguely potatoe-ish, it's okay.
(some just have sliced radishes - hey, its a root crop too) ;)
louisedennislouisedennis on November 22nd, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)
*contemplates trying to get four children to eat radishes*

I think, maybe, I'll stick with sweet potatoes :-)

At the moment my plan is to roast some normal potatoes, and mash some sweet ones with maple syrup (assuming I can get hold of decent maple syrup anywhere in the UK).
skordhskordh on November 21st, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Definitely buy the cranberry sauce.

Mmmmm... roast sweet potatoes ...
louisedennislouisedennis on November 22nd, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much in favour of them roast, but it sounds like mashing is the traditional thing. I shall probably roast some regular potatoes to console myself.
philmophlegm: NFL draftphilmophlegm on November 22nd, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
I don't know if this is relevant to your in-laws or not, but one Thanksgiving tradition is watching one of the two NFL games. One game always features Detroit and the other always features Dallas, and since you said your sister-in-law was Texan...

(Sky will be showing the games in this country.)
louisedennislouisedennis on November 22nd, 2008 10:59 am (UTC)
We don't have Sky, which solves that one. I don't think they are particularly NFL fans though I will ask. B. and M. between them can almost certainly find a way to view the games if they really put their minds to it.
Delia: Mailchainmailmaiden on November 23rd, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
Cranberry sauce is dead easy to make and keeps in the fridge for ages, plus you can freeze it too, so if you didn't use it all at Thanksgiving, it can be kept till Christmas. I use Delia Smiths cranberry and orange relish recipe as a starting point. But I don’t bother processing the cranberries first as they burst during cooking and I use 2 cloves instead of 4 as I think too many make it taste medicinal.

1 lb/450g fresh cranberries (I’ve used frozen and it makes no difference)
Grated or zested rind & juice of a large orange
A small cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 heaped teaspoon of finely chopped or grated ginger or ½ tsp of ground ginger
3oz/75g caster sugar – but any sugar will be fine
3 tblsp of port (optional but nice)

Put all the ingredients except the port into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins or until the cranberries have softened and most of them have popped. Fish out the cinnamon stick and cloves (if you can find them) and stir in the port and that's it. All done in about 15 minutes. Once it's cool, keep in the fridge until needed or freeze it down. That quantity is supposed to serve 8, but I think it makes loads and would do double that number.
sophievdennis on November 25th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
As an totally unauthentic non-american, I'd just thought I'd add that for mashed sweet potatoes I always just bake them in the oven for about an hour (doesn't really seem to matter much exactly how long), then slit them open, scoop out all the flesh, dump it in a bowl and vaguely mash it up a bit with a fork (possibly with some butter. Hadn't considered the maple syrup options). By that stage they're so soft they pretty much mash themselves and you're more 'stirring' with the fork than anything that could be reasonably described as mashing.

Possibly this method may be considered sacriligeous in thanksgiving terms...

louisedennislouisedennis on November 26th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
Since I'm rapidly getting the impression that Thanksgiving is a minimal effort, maximal tin-usage affair, I'm sure it isn't sacriligeous (which LJ tells me neither of us can spell).

B. has purchased pumpkins. They are sitting in the kitchen looking at me. I've told him he has to peel them.