The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

Thirteen Days ’til Thanksgiving November 14, 2010

TowerGirl @ 1:27 pm
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I’ve spent the week perusing recipes and putting together a menu. It looks like we will have between 8-10 people for the big meal. This is less than I like to have, I believe in a big Thanksgiving, but it’s probably all I can accommodate. I think we’ll have a nice mix of family and friends, and I am pleased because we’ll get to spend the holiday this year with people we don’t usually get to share the celebration with. Of course, I am particularly excited that my family is flying out to join us. That means so much to me.

So here’s what I’ve come up with for dinner. I am trying to balance flavors. I don’t want too much sweet or too much savory. The only course I am not 100% happy with is dessert. I am afraid the two options are rather similar, but they both look so amazing I can’t choose!

I’ve created a prep schedule and I’ll share that later. I want to do all that I can ahead of time so I can enjoy my guests.


Time to Plan November 2, 2010

TowerGirl @ 10:22 am
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It’s November. This means it is time to start planning and prepping for Thanksgiving. I take Thanksgiving very seriously. Thanksgiving is all about food and that is celebration whose aims I wholeheartedly support.

This year my parents and brother are flying west to celebrate with us. We are also fortunate that my husband’s sister is local so she will join us for the festivities, which never happened when we lived back east. Our good friends from Santa Cruz will also be present. I like a big Thanksgiving. I’d invite more, but I’m not sure they’d fit in our small apartment.

The most pressing matter at this time is planning the menu. I have a basic menu I’ve followed for years, but I’m feeling the need to spice things up a bit this year. I will still do a salt roasted turkey, it’s too good not to repeat. You cover the turkey in salt and let it sit for 24 hours, before roasting you rinse of the salt and pat it dry before all the usual basting. I tried this a couple years ago after many years of brining. It is easier and the resulting bird is so incredibly juicy and flavorful.

I traveled over the weekend so I purchased the Thanksgiving issues of Real Simple and Bon Appetite to keep me company on the plane. I am thinking of adding the “Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro and Chiles” from Bon Appetite to the menu and the “Honeyed Carrots and Oranges” from Real Simple. I having been making a salad of mixed greens, tart granny smith apples, and shaved parmesan that I serve with homemade lemon vinaigrette. It’s a tasty and light starter. I think that will be my salad. There will, of course, be mashed potatoes. I like a little roasted garlic and lots of butter in my mashed potatoes.

What I still need to choose is a soup, a green vegetable, a stuffing, a squash recipe, and desserts. I also should have some pre-bird nibbles. I think I need to nail down a menu this week. Then it’s about figuring out what I can make ahead and freeze and what needs to be done the day of. I also need to figure out seating and table decor. Let the holidays begin.


Donna Reed and Me September 6, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:44 am
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Sandee in 1950s Kitchen

If you check my blog regularly you will observe that I have assigned myself a bit of a writing project. Perhaps I am having teaching withdrawal and because I do not currently have students to give assignments to I feel the need to give assignments to myself. The project is to harness the power of Hulu and study the two seasons of The Donna Reed Show they have posted on the site. My aim is to distill the lesson in each and apply the lesson to own my life. It’s part cultural exploration and part therapy. I am having a good time doing it.

I have decided to give this project its own space and keep the The Feathered Nest for my more general musings on food and home. If the Donna project interests you at all you can follow it on its sassy new page. The pink and black on the site are the same as my bathroom in SF. This is quickly becoming a favorite color scheme.

Read about how we all need to be reminded that we are valued and loved, the lesson in episode four, now.


Season 1: Episode 3 – The Hike September 4, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:32 am
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The Hike


The episode opens with living room rug strewn with camping gear. Alex and Jeff are preparing for an overnight hike. Alex gets a call and it is clear that a medical emergency will prevent him from taking Jeff hiking. He tells Jeff and Jeff is devastated. Alex talks to Donna about how terrible he feels. They try to see if any other fathers are available to take the boys camping but none are. Donna decides she will take the boys camping. This plan is met with skepticism by both Alex and Jeff who make it clear that hiking and camping are impossible tasks for a woman.

(don’t stop, there’s more…)


Season 1: Episode 2 – Pardon My Gloves September 3, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:42 am
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Pardon My Gloves


The episode opens with Donna rehearsing lines from the play A Doll’s House by Ibsen. She is not very good and is prone to overly grandiose gestures and phrasing. She stops when the family appears. The kids and Alex badger her to perform for them and she demures. They persist and she acquiesces. She performs a bit and the family struggles find a compliment. She is really a very poor actress.

(don’t stop, there’s more…)