I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Sam Sifton: Emergency Answer Man Thanksgiving Morning

Sam Sifton is the 911-blogger for Thanksgiving tomorrow morning at the NY Times food blog.  Here’s what he’s offering:

The New York Times Thanksgiving Help Desk will open for business tomorrow morning at 7. I will be sitting at its w, armed with coffee, reference books, source lists, phone lists and all that the World Wide Web provides, prepared to answer your emergency questions about the bird, the stuffing, the sides, the gravy, the wine, how to say grace (whether to say grace!), the timing, the desserts, the fact that you said you’d make butternut squash and now you’re looking at the things and realize you have no idea how to make butternut squash, whatever you need.

You may submit a question, as a comment, below this post right now. I’ll grab it in the morning. And you may read the responses I’ve already given here. Check in with me tomorrow at Diner’s Journal, early and often, or follow me on Twitter @samsifton.

So what are you folks doing for Thanksgiving? How far are you along?

Tonight I decided to do a headstart on the cooking–

Cranberry relish (lifted from Paul Prudhomme’s first book):  blend 24 oz cranberry, 2 1/4 c sugar, 3 tbs Mexican vanilla (the recipe calls for plain vanilla. The Mexican makes it more special)  in a food processor.  Add 3 sliced, peeled oranges plus the juice and pulp from a lemon and a half.  Blend for 8 sec or so.  Refrigeratefor at least 8 hours.  As an aside, you’ll never have a better relish for a turkey sandwich.

I made chicken stock that I’ll use for both moistening the dressing and then to cook with turkey parts (the wing tips, neck, giblets) for a double-rich stock for gravy tomorrow, and cooked to tender some chicken giblets to grind and made cornbread, both for the cornbread dressing.

My family expects for a holiday dinner:  Turkey stuffed on one end with mushroom/sausage/sage/pecan/white bread dressing, on the other with conrbread/giblet/Tabasco dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes in some form, English peas, green olives, cranberry relish (see above), and creamed onions.  Some of this comes from my mother’s Connecticut Yankee roots, some from my dad’s Mississippi roots.  I’m doing roast Brussels sprouts, too, and my wife is cooking a plum spice cake.  Basically, there would be open revolt among my children without turkey, the two dressings, the two potatoes, gravy, peas, and the cranberry relish.  I’m curious what other folks’ families view as the essential, irreducible minimums.  So this is an open food thread to discuss that.

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