Hey, how ’bout having a professional chef from a high-end restaurant do your Thanksgiving dinner? He arrived at 1 am on Thursday and we spent an hour going over menu and supplies and timing and plans. He had a brined turkey and I had pumpkin pies, so we were covered. Whatever else on the menu happened or didn’t, with pies and turkey, we were good. It was easy to laugh at his snark about the bottle of Noir on the counter. “That’s what I use to cook with,” he said. The next day, he made a supply run to come back with Moscato for our glasses.
He’s our oldest grandson and loves doing his chef thing at family get-togethers. He offered for me to check out his knife kit, a high honor which I politely declined. Serious knives are no joke. People were taking videos as his knife zinged across the steel before carving the perfectly golden-brown turkey. When you see those folks on Top Chef chopping at the speed of light, that is really and truly how they do it. He carries bandaids in the pockets of those chef-cargo pants at all times and travels with plastic sleeves of recipe cards and food magazine pages with the look of being well used. Should I feel guilty for copying one of them while they were sleeping in Friday morning?
Years ago, when the elder generation left the family farm for the last time, I was the one to inherit grandma’s cookbooks and recipe box. Cookbooks I have plenty of, so this was the perfect time to pass the family cookbook to the young chef, her great-grandson, who loves making the best food he can. At the restaurant, he uses her family recipe for pumpkin pie and it has the reputation for being the best in town. We created a new cream cheese bacon dip on Thursday that he wrote down to take back and use, too. The secret ingredient is Worcestershire sauce, but I didn’t tell you that.
Then, our daughter and youngest grandson arrived Thursday morning. Grandson chef’s mom also works at the same restaurant, so it was lovely to turn the kitchen over to the professional crew and let them do their thing. Only once was there a disagreement over the roux for the gravy and a towel hit the floor. The end result was a fabulous meal and there was plenty to take home for everybody. The kitchen dance of a professional restaurant crew is impressive, especially when it happens in your own kitchen.
A family member’s medical procedure the day before had thrown a wrench into plans. The medical center called and lit a fire under the primary doctor and between them, filled our phones with messages and voicemails, required a return visit and more tests and additional medication and planning of more follow-ups. So, all the food prepping that usually happens on Wednesday didn’t even start until after 8 pm and the frazzle factor was pegged. But waiting up for the chef to arrive, I at least got pumpkin pies done and the furry leftovers pitched from the fridge.
I was totally nervous until we served the pies, hoping they measured up to the reputation of the restaurant and the recipe. (Update: they were.)
When the kids arrived Thursday morning, their car was discovered to have a significant radiator leak and lack of coolant and fluid. An early morning trip to the auto parts store Friday was in order so they could get back home. (Friday Update: they made it.)
Overall, Thursday was a fun, happy day with family together and nice travel weather. Everyone departed with loads of leftover food. We’ll take the upcoming medical procedures, tests and follow-ups one day at a time. Grandson chef, his fiancee and four-year-old definitely reminded us why you have kids when you are young.
Updated Saturday to add:
The cheese-bacon dip recipe:
8 oz. box of original cream cheese, softened
2 strips of cooked bacon, finely diced
1/8 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
Mix all ingredients well, shape into a ball or log and serve with assorted crackers. It will need a small frosting spatula to serve, since it will be too stiff to use as dip.