I didn't grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. I've never roasted a turkey or manhandled one. The prospect of doing so terrifies me a little. Being a cultural assimilator, I feel that the proper thing to do would be to take part in the full process even if it's only making dinner for two. When I broached the idea of cooking the turkey, the beau hesitantly nodded and hinted with a smile that like anything in life, we should have a back up plan. I was just as hesitant about my skills.
For a couple of weeks, I ruminated on menus and different turkey options from Williams Sonoma, Zabar's, The Fresh Market, Dean and Deluca and Chef Charles Catering . No time for experimentation, it was going to be a toss among the last three options since the first two would rack up a higher carbon footprint. While at Dean and Deluca, a li'l birdie told me about the delicious Bojangles turkey. A chicken and biscuit fast food chain, it is an unlikely, un-Norman Rockwell place to get the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Like my fashion or interior design sense, I wanted to do a high-low approach with the menu but the beau said, the founding fathers wouldn't have approved of the Bojangles fried turkey. Issue was solved when we decided to finally accept an invitation and drove to Greenville, South Carolina with some sweet potato casserole and a case of wine. It turned out to be an intimate celebration with two other couples and their three children. A tasty candlelit meal peppered with brilliant humor and interesting conversation.
While making the casserole, I got the idea to wear this special vintage dress. Thankfully, my extended closet/storage is only two miles away. The dress was my grand aunt, Mama Isabel's, and Ronald Villavelez reworked it with meringue-like asymmetrical hem and sleeves that make me want to merengue!
With a deep neckline, I thought the necklace I made in August using rice pearls, copper chains and balls, carved wooden and jade balls would make the dress more apropos for the dinner table. It looks like it was made to match the Garnier Thiebaut table linens I bought in Strasbourg in 2007. I am a big fan of theirs and these gorgeous linens in vivid colors were my holiday gifts for family and friends that year. They had every color that matched all personalities and homes.
I walked out the door sashaying in these fabulous peep toe platforms from Costume National. Needless to say, fashion inspired by the sweet potato casserole ruled over function. Looking like a well dressed turkey, I had to eat like a bird.
Sweet Potato Casserole
by Bernadette Gallego*
5 cups sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
Mix the wet ingredients together. Add to the mashed sweet potato and mix well.
Pour into a greased oven proof baking dish.
Then mix the following together:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped slightly toasted pecans(toast over low flame, stir so they wont burn)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup flour
1 cup butter, melted
Mixture will be crumbly. Spread over the top of the sweet potato mixture and bake at
375F for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
*Bernadette is a dear dear friend who is a domestic goddess in every way. One of those charming hostesses who can whip up an amazing multi course dinner pronto for 20, without batting an eyelash. Her famous pastry shop, La Marea, in Cebu makes a TDF brownie cup. Before I moved here, she was so gracious to teach me some standby recipes so I can at least do some elementary entertaining.