Big Joe’s Big Thanksgiving Dinner — Part Two
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love Christmas, but Thanksgiving was always very, very special to me and my family. I’ve always had a big table of family and friends and I always cooked.
It was a four day event to prepare for the big day and then it seemed that once the food was on the table it was gone in ten minutes! I hated that part of the day. I always tried to have as much done in advance so that I could be more social and entertaining to my guests. I tried but I never left the kitchen.
Invariably everyone congregated in the kitchen just to watch me do my thing and to talk. My mom would come over early to help and watch the parade, and then get mad with me because I wouldn’t let her do any of the prep work. When I was younger, mom and I spent so many Thanksgivings at friends and relatives and once I had a place of my own, and nieces and nephews to cook for, it was always at my house.
My favorite memories are making Thanksgiving dinner for my mom and my nieces and nephew, my cousins and friends. One Thanksgiving my cousin Chip and I made dinner for 50 of our friends and family. We held the dinner at the Little Silver Fire House and used their big kitchen. We had over 20 different dishes, we hired a karaoke dj and it was a blast, what a party.
One of my favorite traditions that I enjoyed is being up at 6:00am Thanksgiving morning cooking and prepping for the big day, early in the morning a couple of my friends and cousins would show up for a bloody mary.
My friend Big Bob who has since passed was the best, he would bring this special bloody mary mix and we would toss a few back to get the heart going. My buddy Jimmy would stop by and have a cold one and a bloody mary. It was terrific, but on one certain Thanksgiving morning there was a string of friends and family who all came over to celebrate the tradition at staggered times, and you have to imbibe when sharing a Thanksgiving moment with those you enjoy. Well by the time noon rolled around I started to feel the effects of my tradition, whew, getting that dinner on the table that year was a chore.
I enjoy the whole day, the morning tradition, the work, the smell and then dinner hits the table and it’s gone in world record time. I would sit at the table in disbelief that all this work is gone in such a short time.
The enjoyment after dinner was watching all my guests go into a tryptophan coma spread out in my living room like mustard gas had seeped through the vents. There I would sit by myself with the last glass of wine overlooking the carnage in my living room from filled content bellies watching them drool in their nap and I would smile and say another great Thanksgiving dinner.
Big Joe's Mushy Potatoes With Sour Cream & Chives
This is a great recipe for buttery tasty mashed potatoes that actually come out with a great flavor. The chicken broth lends a rich taste. Serves: 8
3 pounds – Yukon gold potatoes (about 16 medium) unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup – chicken broth, warmed
1 cup – sour cream
4 ½ tablespoons – chopped fresh chives
½ cup – half and half or whole milk
1 stick of butter cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a steamer basket fitted over a large pot of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 22 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Coarsely mash the potatoes and combine the broth, milk, and butter. Stir in the sour cream and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot and enjoy!!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.