Field Notes: Hosting Thanksgiving

This past weekend, I did something very adult and very domestic: I hosted Thanksgiving at my apartment.

Hosting a dinner party has been my goal for the better part of 2015, and it finally happened. I finally found an apartment large enough to comfortably hold more than three people at a time, and my kitchen is now big enough to handle my cooking. (If that last part makes it seem like I put on a production every time I cook, I don't. I just like to spread out my mess.)

To be honest, my Thanksgiving dinner was really a Thanksgiving lunch. My mom prefers to celebrate in the afternoon so she can slip into her food coma at night. And since she, my stepdad, and their dog were my only guests, I chose not to roast a whole turkey. Instead, I decided to make Gravy-Braised Turkey Legs with Cipolline Onions and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes with Paprika. This is the end result:

For the sake of convenience (and making up for poor judgment on my part), I made some modifications to the turkey recipe:

  1. Whole Foods ran out of turkey legs, but the produce guy found me some giant thighs
  2. There were no cipolline onions at the market, so I used pearl onions instead
  3. Because the celery didn't look fresh--and I hate them--they got nixed
  4. Your girl didn't buy enough chicken stock and had to use extra white wine and water to make up for it
  5. I couldn't find any bay leaves, so I subbed in some sage

Not to brag, but homegirl impressed the shit out of the parents that day. My stepdad went back for seconds, and my mom had no comments. My cooking rendered an Asian mom speechless, y'all. All the hours I spent the day before frantically buying ingredients and cooking tools were so worth it. 

By the end of Thanksgiving, I was exhausted and had done the dishes probably six or seven times. Major props to anyone who does this on a larger scale year after year. I get it now: making your friends and family happy by feeding them delicious food is so satisfying.