With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it was time to talk turkey for a few minutes. Well–not literally turkey. (In our house, we tend to have seafood during Thanksgiving). Rather, the subject of what tried and true dishes we HAVE to have every Thanksgiving. The ones that we treasure, the ones that tie us in some way to our past and we can’t imagine being without next Thursday, no matter what.
Now for me, there are two: The first is my mother’s date nut bread, which I have never, NEVER, been able to duplicate (and I suspect there’s some sort of mystical aid during the last part of its cooking wherein a fairy slips through the oven door and glosses down the top, because my top always remained as matte as Madonna’s lipstick during her Blonde Ambition days.)
The other dish is a Cranberry-Pear relish that I got out of a Fine Cooking years ago. I start to think about making it in mid-September, run out of saliva anticipating it in October, and finally get to assemble the ingredients in Novemebr (yes, I’ve got most of them already).
For my husband Ian, it’s mirliton dressing. One of his most distinct memories of growing up in New Orleans was that his great-grandfather had mirlitons growing along his chain-link fence, so the family would have the dressing every Thanksgiving.
Now in all my years in New Orleans, I knew of mirliton, knew there was even a Mirliton Fesitval, but I had never had any prepared. Well, that is all about to change. This year, Ian is finally making us mirliton dressing. He picked up a pair of mirlitons from the store today. Now I haven’t the vaguest idea of how or what is involved in this dish, all I know is this:
First of all, just look at these things. How can you not love a food that looks like an old man’s mouth after he’s taken out his teeth and then sucked the pulp out of ten lemons?
Are you as excited as I am? More? Hmm, I thought so.
Now tell me–what dish HAS to be on your table at Thanksgiving–and how did it first get there?