We had a Moment in the household this afternoon as Roy informed me that 1) we will be attending his mother in Manhattan this year, for Thanksgiving…only to immediately crush my soul with part 2) no, we will not be going to The Parade.
Je suis desolee. Making a special trip to Manhattan for Thanksgiving Day and not going to see The Parade?!?!?! How can one endure this?
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on my long-term bucket list. As a child, I would roll out of bed on Thanksgiving, awakened by the sound of my mother wrestling the turkey in the kitchen, and I’d cadge a small breakfast to eat in front of the TV. I’m not really much of a TV fan in general – I’m one of the few people in the northern hemisphere who has never seen a single episode of Lost, Survivor, So You Think You Can Dance, or the Real [insert noun] of [insert locale]. The closest I come to regular TV watching is recording episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on the DVR just so I can watch them without Roy, which always makes him furious. Knowing his mom and brothers as I do, I would never have expected him to be a Communal TV Watcher, but he is. And boy, oh boy, does he get lit when we record Grey’s Anatomy and I don’t wait for him to watch it with me.
Anyway, I’m not a big TV watcher, but an exception to that rule is, without a question, The Parade. I’m a parade junkie in any event – I love a parade. Marching bands, baton twirlers, people with horses, and floats. I adore floats. I know, in my secret heart of hearts, that I was born to ride on a float in a huge spangled dress, and wave graciously at everyone on the sidelines. Then, with The Parade, there’s the balloons. Who doesn’t love those?? As soon as Despicable Me 2 came out, I started daydreaming about a 40-foot-tall Minion Balloon, with Special Effects like a turning head, or an eye that glows.
So every Thanksgiving Day in my memory found me parked in front of the TV, glued to the Action. My earliest memories involve Shari Lewis and Lambchop narrating the show. I knew of Columbus Circle before I know what the heck a traffic circle was, and I wasn’t too sure about Columbus either. And Macy’s? How could The Parade be any better than TV? If not for…Maureen O’Hara, and Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood? The first time I ever saw Macy’s I thought “So this is it!!” I wanted to go see their Santa for myself, but the line was unbelievably long, and Roy – while generally indulgent of these whims – Has His Limits.
I have wanted to be one of the freezing, stamping, slugging cocoa out of a themos, insulated millions lining the streets of Manhattan for as long as I have known of Manhattan. Actually, before, since back in the day it was just “New York”.
Be in Manhattan on Thanksgiving and not go see The Parade?!?!? Yes, I know about having to schlep Family Members along, and get the train and all, but really?!?!?
There is No Joy In Mudville tonight. Or any night for the foreseeable future, I’m thinking. Be In New York on Thanksgiving and not see The Parade. harrrummph.
I consoled myself, sort of, with some Fine New England Fall Cooking tonight. Which I will now share, having made the necessary edits to these recipes.
Chicken and Apples
3 Granny Smith apples (no substitutions. I don’t care how tart your apples are, if they aren’t rock hard to start with, they won’t hold up to this dish)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 T butter
1 T demerara sugar (brown sugar or raw sugar will work)
2 whole boneless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion, sliced (Vidalia sweet onions are best)
¼ C apple cider vinegar
½ C chicken stock
Peel, core and and slice the apples into ½” thick slices. Toss apple slices with lemon juice. Melt 2 T butter in skillet on medium-high and add apples. Sauté 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar. Raised to high heat and caramelize. If you used anything but Granny Smiths, they won’t caramelize, they’ll melt. What will caramelize is the pan. This is not exactly catastrophic, but the prep and cleanup are easier if it is the apples that caramelize, not the pan. Remove apples to bowl and keep warm.
Flatten chicken breasts to a uniform thickness with a mallet. Melt remaining butter in skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes each side. Remove to plate. Add onion and cook until tender and caramelized. Raise heat to high, add vinegar, and cook down to a syrup. Add stock and stir. Return chicken to pan and cook 5 minutes. Place chicken on a warm platter. Return apples to skillet to warm up, then spoon onto chicken with juices.
Maple Walnut Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash, quartered and seeds removed
2 T olive oil
3 T butter
3 T maple syrup
3 T chopped walnuts
Take a tiny slice off the top and bottom of the squash halves so that they will sit up like cups. Preheat oven to 400. Place squash, skin side down, on baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. Thinner squash will cook in a shorter time.
In small saucepan, melt butter and maple syrup. Turn over to broil. Brush squash with mixture and place a few walnuts on top. Place under broiler until deeply browned, about 2 minutes.