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Karen/NoCA

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Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:14 pm

When I host Thanksgiving, I rate the food in a folder I keep. I started in 2008 keeping track because I was not liking the birds for one reason or another and playing around with different dressings, cranberry sauces, gravy, etc. I am still playing with different birds. Some have tasted old, or had a chemical taste, or were too dry even when cooked to precise suggested temps and times. I think I have settled on a dressing, made a day ahead and cooked in a Crockpot. Saves oven room, and attention time. I have several excellent cranberry recipes but still rate them every year. Mashed potatoes are a no brainer ever since I learned to rice them and not put them into a mixer, years ago.
I like to do my gravy ahead and add turkey drippings after the bird is resting. Still working on a salad, that would be a "must have" by everyone.

How about you, do you just wing it and know it all will be excellent and who cares anyway, or do you keep notes each year and try to improve next year?
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Hoke

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Hoke » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:18 pm

Guess I'm more of a "trust in the memory" kinda guy. Don't write down any ratings, but I trust I will remember what was good and what wasn't. On the other hand, I have a good 'sensory" memory (where the rest of my memory is extremely fallible.) :D
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:36 pm

Good for you, I don't seem to remember unless it was really bad or really good. I do the same with my veggie/herb garden. Now I have neighbors calling me asking what grows good here. Crazy, because some of my biggest failures are my fault. :(
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Redwinger

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Redwinger » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:41 pm

NJ keeps a "food journal" and a "garden journal" and makes regular entries to each. They do get used quite a bit and I'm glad we have them although I'd never be focused or disciplined enough to diligently keep them updated. Sort of like my undisciplined tasting notes back when I drank.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:29 pm

My wife also keeps a food journal in which she logs everything she makes. I'm much sloppier and just hope that I remember if I've made something that has not been up to snuff.
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Carrie L.

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carrie L. » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm like Hoke. Mostly remember stuff, but I think I'll start keeping a folder with recipes so I don't have to waste paper by printing the same ones each year.
This year, Karen, I made a new salad and everyone seemed to love it. I was kind of surprised actually, since no one at Thanksgiving (in our house anyway) really cares about salad, and I only decided to do it because I had the ingredients on hand and had the extra time. One of the Marines we had over said he "didn't even care for celery, but was loving this!".
The only changes I made was using Blueberry Cheese (that's what I had in the fridge already) and toasted pine nuts for the same reason. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/celery-salad-with-walnuts-dates-and-pecorino Next time I would just leave the cheese out completely. It don't think it needed it.
We also made this for the first time and it was outstanding. It may be going into the keeper file. -Butternut Squash Souffle http://go.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/show/313
Last edited by Carrie L. on Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carl Eppig » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:34 pm

The only problem we had was that the stuffing (cooked outside the turkey) got a little too dried out in the oven. Nothing that a little gravy couldn't cure. Everything else was spot on!
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Carrie L.

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carrie L. » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:37 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:The only problem we had was that the stuffing (cooked outside the turkey) got a little too dried out in the oven. Nothing that a little gravy couldn't cure. Everything else was spot on!


You know what I did this year for the first time Carl? I usually have that same problem since I make much more stuffing than will fit in the bird...
I had made stock a few days ahead using turkey backs. I put the stock in the fridge until I needed it for gravy and of course a nice layer of turkey fat rose to the top and solidified. I peeled that off and laced my pan stuffing with it. Worked like a charm.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Jenise » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:24 pm

Carrie, how was the experience of having the Marines over?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Carrie L.

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carrie L. » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:16 am

Jenise wrote:Carrie, how was the experience of having the Marines over?


It was wonderful. They were such nice young men and so appreciative, but I'm sure we got a lot more out of it than they did.
We signed up for two but they gave us one more at the last minute. We got them little gifts and I made them pumpkin bread, and two kinds of cookies to take back to the base with them. I had everything packaged up for two, so when we suddenly had three at our door, we scrambled for a minute but got a third gift, pulled more cookies from the freezer and set an extra place at the table.
It was such a joy to see them eat, and eat, and eat. They were starved for home cooking. All of them were first year, PFC with wildly diverse backgrounds. We enjoyed it so much we asked them to come back for Christmas dinner.
Thanks for asking. :)
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:34 am

Not sure about breadcrumbs in the souffle? What did you think at first Carrie?
Is it a tradition to invite the Marines over, nice thought eh.
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Carrie L.

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carrie L. » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:50 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Not sure about breadcrumbs in the souffle? What did you think at first Carrie?
Is it a tradition to invite the Marines over, nice thought eh.


Funny about the breadcrumbs, Bob. We have a gluten-free person in our group, so we made the souffle with gluten free flour and left the breadcrumbs off completely. It did have a light sprinkling of the Parmesan though. It was delicious. A really nice savory souffle.

Regarding the Marines...I'm not sure what's done in other areas of the country, but we are about a 90 minute drive from the Marine Base, Twenty Nine Palms (Southern CA). Somemone from a local Country Club initiated an "Adopt a Marine" program several years ago, so the participating clubs (I think there are five in our valley) look to their members to host the Marines. Last year by the time we signed up it was too late and they were all taken. This year we signed up as soon as we got word and were thrilled to get them. The clubs send buses to pick up the Marines and bring them to each participating club. They are greeted with great fanfare. Members come to the "bus stop" at the club and provide a huge patriotic welcome, then individual hosts pick them up and bring them back to their homes for the day. We get them back to the bus at the designated time and they are taken back to the base. The buses are nice and we heard they watched movies to and from the base. If they come back for Christmas we will go pick them up since there is not a formalized program in place at that time.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Howie Hart

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Howie Hart » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:53 pm

Regarding the Marines, that's a great thing you do Carrie. I was in the Marines many years ago, 3 of my sons served in Iraq (Army) and a 4th is now in the Navy, so I can appreciate what you do. Thank you for your generosity.
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Carrie L.

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Carrie L. » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:33 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Regarding the Marines, that's a great thing you do Carrie. I was in the Marines many years ago, 3 of my sons served in Iraq (Army) and a 4th is now in the Navy, so I can appreciate what you do. Thank you for your generosity.


Howie, THANK YOU, and your sons for your service. We have so much admiration and appreciation for our military and their families.
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
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Jenise

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Re: Do you rate your Thanksgiving dinners?

by Jenise » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:58 pm

It's a really neat thing to do. If we were near a base we'd love to help out in the same way.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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