Every year, Kris and I host Friend Thanksgiving, a dinner party for a group of our friends. It’s a joint thing; we share in the planning and preparation.
This year, we had decided to have an Asian theme, serving an Asian salad, crab cakes, a Thai soup, and some sort of grilled fish.
Then, a few weeks ago, Kris put the kibosh on the Asian theme. She decided that we ought to do something semi-traditional instead. (Meaning: turkey and the like.) This made me cranky.
Next, she monkeyed with the guest list, deviating from our plan. This made me cranky, too, but I kept repeating this mantra: “Kris Gates is always right. Kris Gates is always right.” (This is what I tell myself every time it turns out I should have heeded Kris’ advice. I say it a lot.)
As the dinner party approached — and even on the day of the event — there were a lot of little things I was unhappy with: I didn’t like the soup she had selected, I didn’t like the acorns and the “snow” (actually some sort of foam) on the table because it used too much space; I didn’t like the assigned seating because it was poorly received last year; I didn’t think she had thawed the turkey long enough, hadn’t brined it long enough, didn’t cook it long enough.
My list of complaints was long and I made myself a little disagreeable, though still, in the back of my mind, I kept telling myself, “Kris Gates is always right.”
We had our dinner party Saturday night, and I’m happy to say that Kris was right again. Of the ten times we’ve hosted Friend Thanksgiving (“Friend Thanksgiving X” we called this one), I feel this was the most successful. Kris’ guest-list and seating arrangement were well-planned; the food was delicious; the conversation raucous. My fears were for naught. My objective for the evening was simply to do as Kris requested, and this proved to be the best possible plan.
- After an hour of cocktails (including Chai-tinis and Midori Sours), we began the meal with wild rice cakes with a chipotle-lime aioli. These served as a replacement for the crab cakes we had originally planned.
- Next we served a spicy bacon and corn chowder, which was much better than I had expected. (While Jeremy and I were supposedly bussing the table, we were actually in the kitchen slurping down second helpings of the soup.)
- Our third course was a salad of mixed herbs with onions and a soy-based dressing (in deference to my abhorrence of oil-based dressings).
- The entr�e was a turkey, brined for a day, and served with acorn squash and a rosemary baguette and a fantastic gravy. I loved the bread and gravy combination so much, that I tried to horde both at my end of the table, sopping up the gravy with the bread. Yum.
- The main course was followed by a small plate of fruit and cheese, including my favorite apple (honeycrisp!) and the always-popular cheddar-like Double Gloucester.
- For dessert, we had a nice cake, the variety of which now escapes me. Update: Kris informs me that the dessert was a honey spice cake with brandied cherries.
Why can’t I remember what we had for dessert? For one, the rest of the food was fantastic. For another, we kept the wine flowing throughout the night. (I particularly liked the Sauvignon Blanc and the Niagra, both fruity whites, though the rest of the company seemed less impressed by them.)
Between the cheese platter and the dessert, most of the men gathered outside in the cold and the damp where they enjoyed fellowship over Jeremy’s fine cigars and my fifteen-year-old single malt Scotch whiskey.
What can I say? It was a fantastic evening, despite my fears. And all of the credit belongs to Kris. Bravo!
Kris Gates is always right.
On 08 December 2003 (04:00 PM),
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On 10 December 2003 (03:31 PM),