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We had discussed spending Thanksgiving with our friends Steve and Lena, also recently moved to Austin. Then Lena suggested we join them at her roommate’s potluck. Although I love doing Thanksgiving on my own, for the sake of meeting new people I was willing to do it. But then we didn’t hear back from Lena about what to bring or where to go. So I waited, trying to be patient, remembering that not everyone thinks about Thanksgiving as far in advance as October, and that a couple days before Thursday is still enough time to adjust our plans. Finally, on Tuesday, not having heard anything, I told Ian “Screw it. We’ll just have it here for the two of us.” And I went to Sprouts (as close to TJ’s as we can get right now) on Wednesday to get what we still needed. 
Then, after a quick trip to Target; Bed, Bath & Beyond and World Market in search of a roasting rack that would fit the dutch oven I planned to use, I got a call from Steve. The potluck they’d been told was happening turned out to be the roommate’s mom cooking for everyone, and the party had grown. Steve and Lena decided to change their plans to give the roommate’s mom a break, and also because they had intended to spend it with us, regardless of where. I happily asked them over to our place, and told them to bring either wine or more dessert. Despite the surprise of the changed plans, it was lovely having guests for Thanksgiving, and made it so much more festive than if it were only Ian and me. 

 I picked up a pumpkin pie, since with only two of us (originally) it makes sense to not both pecan and pumpkin. When Steve joined us, I was happy that pumpkin was Ian’s preferred choice, as I was already worrying about some inadvertent nut contamination. This pie was really, really good. I am totally glad we went with it. Sometimes it seems that store bought pumpkin has a soapy taste to it, but this was just warm pumpkin and spice.

In this shot you can see we decided against the sweet potato with marshmallows, but they were missed. I think next year, we’ll have to include them, despite my snobbish heart’s protest. I did make the green bean casserole, but I fried shallots to go on top. I think next time I’d wait to put them on at the last few minutes of baking because they got a little blackened. Frying shallots was so easy, and tasty, that I don’t think I could go back to the fried onions in a can. But I did cause two oil fires because I heated the vegetable oil for too long. Luckily, I was doing this a day ahead and nothing was ruined, except my lungs and pride. Those both got back to normal after a short break from cooking.

 Here you can see the table set for dinner, though everyone is still watching South Park. Steve and Lena are in the background.

The “turkey”. I had decided that since it was just going to be Ian and me, we shouldn’t get one of the 20 lb. turkeys I saw at the market. I was going to do chicken, but we have that often, so it didn’t seem celebratory enough for my favorite holiday. Then I saw the duck in another freezer bin. I’ve had duck breast before, but never a whole one, so it was exotic. And at 5 lbs., small enough for two of us. Luckily, this also fed Steve and Lena and there was enough left over that I now have a quart of duck stock in my fridge, waiting to be added to dishes to give it an awesome flavor. The duck was awesome. All dark meat, which all of us prefer anyway, it cooked quickly and tasted amazing. Really rich and flavorful, unlike turkey sometimes. I think that it will become a go to bird for other holidays as well. If we have another small scale Thanksgiving again, I’d definitely use it. But if not, maybe it will become our Christmas bird. Although I did also see a goose at the market, and that is traditionally an English Christmas bird… so who knows, maybe after Christmas I’ll be writing about my adventures with geese.

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