AFTER ACTION REPORT

My
friend Jae and I supplemented our modest cooking skills with large
doses of improvisation and luck to concoct a truly splendid
Thanksgiving meal.

Jae, in an impulse of reckless ambition, decided he would make mashed
potatoes.  “I'm going French with them,” he said, but would not
explain what he meant by this.

In the end he made stupendously
good mashed potatoes and only after they'd been tasted would he reveal
his ingredients.  Half-and-half for creaminess, a large but not
overpowering amount of finely chopped garlic, one single, large
shallot, a small amount of freshly grated Romano cheese and a pinch of
cayenne pepper.  I can't say
what's French about any of this but I can say that the results were
delicious.

Jae made stuffing but added to it at my request some oysters and, on
his own initiative, as likely to complement the taste of the oysters
well, some crumbled fried bacon.  Again . . . delicious.

Our large turkey for some reason did not produce much in the way of fat
drippings, so that late in the cooking of it we despaired of having
enough liquid in the pan to make gravy.  On another inspired
impulse, Jae poured some pumpkin ale into the pan, which made for a
very fine gravy in the end — an improvisation that could well become a
Thanksgiving tradition.

I confess I couldn't savor the meal as slowly and carefully as I might
have, because I started drinking too early in the day, and too many
different things.  A rosé wine, then some of the pumpkin ale,
which had a cheerful, festive taste to it, then some Chimay ale and finally a
Merlot with the dinner.  I was past consciousness even before I
got to the pumpkin pie, which served as a fine breakfast the next day.

Friday was a bit of a blur, sharply focused only by a turkey sandwich and by a viewing of Vertigo, which still yields up treasures after countless viewings in the past.

And so the time of leftovers begins.  From the look of things this should last quite a while.

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