I have overcompensated slightly.
As many of you know, Dammit Boy has abandoned me. He has selfishly decided to pursue his own life and is now living and studying in Moscow. Not Moscow, Idaho. Moscow, Russia.
Is this horrifying or what? This picture is from a couple of days ago. Early November.
So this is the first year he won’t be home for Thanksgiving. I briefly contemplated going Chinese this year and spurning all the traditions we’ve cultivated for generations. And then these things happened:
- My board at CRC agreed to a service day in the warehouse putting together piles of Christmas gifts for our nonprofit partners. One of the board members, Preston Bailey, cheerfully offered to fry turkeys. And what’s a turkey without gravy and sides? I’m doing the gravy and sides.
- My mother-in-law, Bunny, also took pity on me. She organized a Thanksgiving the Saturday before the official day for 30 of her closest friends and family. I am in charge of the cornbread dressing and gravy. There are already three half pans in the freezer and I’m making about a gallon of chicken stock for gravy.
- The Millennial decided that it would be a swell idea to get a sheriff’s department inmate crew out to CRC the day before Thanksgiving and feed them a real meal. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing is more depressing than processed turkey roll. And those guys help us out with everything from mowing the lawn to unloading shipments. Jay is doing the turkey. You guessed it. I’m doing the sides and gravy.
- And then Blue Apron, the meal service that I’ve come to depend on during busy weeks, is sending a mini Thanksgiving meal for two.
So the day of Thanksgiving I am making one side. It’s my deepest felt Thanksgiving memory, the dressing that has been handed down on the Chapin side of the family for generations. I can remember like it was yesterday the year my father allowed me to assist him in making it. He was an accountant and to say his knife cuts were precise is an enormous understatement.
Noah will fend for himself this year. I don’t know if there is a traditional American Thanksgiving meal to be found in all of the Russian Federation. I hope he has a great day but that he feels a slight tug of warm familiarity that will be missing for him this year. He has access to a kitchen at the university. I hope he makes the dressing. And weeps openly. Kidding.
Chapin Family Dressing
16 cups soft bread cubes, including crusts
1 cup diced onion
2 cups diced celery
½ cup chopped parsley
1 cup melted butter
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons crushed sage leaves
½ teaspoon pepper
Put bread cubes in large bowl. Mix the diced onion, celery and parsley together in a separate bowl. Mix the salt, poultry seasoning, sage and pepper together in a small bowl. Add the seasonings to the vegetables and mix well. Add the melted butter to the bread cubes and distribute evenly. Add the chicken stock and then the vegetable/seasoning mixture.
Spoon into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.