Monday, November 23, 2009

Butter-Roasted Brussel Sprouts: The Thanksgiving Boycott

I was going to give you my secret recipe for what I believe are simply the best brussel sprouts in all of the whole free world, but I am boycotting Thanksgiving.

Okay, I'm not really boycotting Thanksgiving. But I am a food writer and this year, I am not cooking for the holiday. We are going out for dinner at a local German restaurant in the country where the schnitzel is hot and the waitresses wear lederhosen. I kid you not.

And that is as good as boycotting the holiday.

I love to cook, to be in the kitchen with a ladle in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, flour in my hair and a smear of creme fraiche down the front of me...but not this year. This is the last year that Lucy will be four, the first year she spends all day at school and comes home with ideas so curious and wondrous and amazing that I barely recognize her and everything that comes out of her mouth.

It is the last year Edie will be home with me before she is off to a full day of school. And with two houses that simultaneously look as if bombs were dropped on each, my writing, and all the jobs and obligations that keep me bouncing around the house unable to sit for just a couple minutes, I want to give her my real attention. I want to give her eye contact, hand holding, impromptu hugs and more of that look I get on my face when she says, "Mommy, I love you so much I have to fall down".

I believe she will like this more than turkey. Even a deep fried one.

I want to not fret over the gravy or the new cranberry dish that no one will eat anyway because two people actually like cranberry, and sit for hours with my kids and my husband just being and not worrying about things that need to get done and lists that need to be checked off for me to feel better. I want to watch my mother teach Lucy to knit and do one of those really boring, impossible-to-finish 1000 piece puzzles laid out on a card table in the middle of the living room.

I want to just listen to them, to their laughing, their knock-knock jokes that make zero sense, their long-winded explanations about why they shouldn't go to bed. I want to hear it all and with the solid resolution that I don't need to be anywhere else, do anything else, pay attention to anything else in the world, unless we decide to do that together.

These past few months, I've been really missing my kids. Their babyhood is slipping away from me. I can feel it. I don't want to stop them from moving ahead, I just want to relish what I have right now for a few days. And a single dinner seems a small price to pay for such a luxury.

That's what I want for Thanksgiving. I hope you get what you want from yours...Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

xo YM

P.S: If you get a chance, be sure to visit Liz Weiss at Meal Makeover Moms. I did an interview over there for her "No Whine with Dinner" column. Liz makes me sound nearly coherent when discussing food. I appreciate that.

PPS: Oh all right, here's the best brussel sprouts on the planet...You won't want to eat them any other way.

Butter-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil a pan of salted water.

Peel off outer layer of the sprout, trim off the ends and cut into quarters.

Throw them in the pan of boiling water. Par boil them for 3-4 minutes. They should be a bright mossy green. Scoop them out of the water and lay them out in a baking pan.

Melt 1/2 to 3/4 stick of unsalted butter depending on how many sprouts you have and how soon you want to keel over from heart failure. Douse the sprouts in butter. Really roll them around. Add salt and pepper - be generous. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You really want them over-roasted, so the ends are brown and crinkly and starting to turn up. If they don't look brown and crispy, leave 'em in a little longer. You can add a little more salt if they need it.

Stand at the stove and just eat the buttery nuggets with your fingers.



Cal Orey, Author-Intuitive said...

I tried the anti-turkey day feast protest, too. But the newspaper I'm writing for didn't go for it. Today, at the store: pumpkin, cranberries, and so it goes.
The Writing Gourmet

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

One year we did go to a resturant, but there were only three of us. We are back to 13, none of them ours, but the wife's nieces and nephews.

Then there was the year my wife put her foot down and said 'I'm not moving my kitchen good to Pleasantville for a weekend so you can host Thanksgiving, come to my house or starve' and meant it. Everybody caved, but some not until Tuesday. Her father was pissed, you don't do that to 90 year old patriarchs.

Rita said...

Brussel Sprouts are my favorite veggie - will definitely try that recipe.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know your mom is really looking forward to seeing all of you. xxRita

life insurance in Canada said...

Brussel Sprouts are the best. I can't imagine Thanksgiving dinner without them. But I think that Thanksgiving shouldn't be only about delicious food. I love Thanksgiving because our family meet after long time and we can enjoy time spent together. However, delicious meals just make the atmosphere perfect. Despite the fact that Canadian Thanksgiving was few weeks ago I wish you Happy Thanksgiving.

Have a nice day,

kate said...

Enjoy your day, your family and your sanity. I've read way too much lately about crazy over the top preparations for Thanksgiving that are making ME crazy. It's just food. It's just a day. Chill the F--- out.

I love seeing you grab your priorities with both fists. You rock, lil' mama.

Unplanned Cooking said...

That card is so funny.

And good for you for knowing your limits and sticking to them. Sometimes it's so hard to draw boundaries, especially given others' expectations.

Lara said...

I can vouch for the sprouts.

Although I use olive oil at home and they are JUST AS GOOD, minus the heart failure.

Love you, ym!!!

Kristen In London said...

Oooh, I just realized something about my Thanksgiving efforts... my daughter HAS escaped from my clutches, her life is happening so much more out of my reach, on a daily basis. She's just turned 13, and every week, it seems, some milestone disappears without my taking proper notice. Last hand-holding crossing the street? Check. Last reading-aloud before she goes to sleep? Check.

So I'm cooking my elaborate Thanksgiving dinner as an antidote to losing those moments, to pretend I have a life of my own, even if it's only chopping and sauteeing.

So Bravo to you, to seize the moment. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.

The Mulligan Family said...

I think you have it right, Kim. Enjoy those precious moments while they last. Cherish each and every one of them. Dinners come and go - even Thanksgiving dinners. But our babies are only babies for a short time. They grow up all too quickly. (Says the mother of an almost 15 year old boy! Impossible!)

Oh, and the sprouts recipe sounds DE-lish!

Cheers - and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

mamster said...

I want to go to a restaurant where the waitresses are hot and the wienerschnitzel wears lederhosen.

Lauren said...

One of my favorite thanksgivings was when my mom and sister and me went to see a double feature at the movies and gorged on popcorn.