I made my first Thanksgiving meal at the age of 22. A couple friends and I moved to Vail, Colorado to ski for a season after graduating from college. Of course heading home for the holidays was not an option as I had no money, just got a job and had no time off. This would be my first Thanksgiving not surrounded by my family in Ohio. That year there were four us who would be without family and in need of a Thanksgiving meal. My friend and I got to work planning our meal not thinking what bakeware we would need to accomplish this feat. Our "furnished" apartment was not only small but overpriced, overcrowded and light on the kitchen utensils...I mean really, what twenty something ski bum was really going to attempt to cook a Thanksgiving feast. As we came together over a bottle of Ravenswood Red Zinfandel and a perfectly cooked meal we were thankful to have each other...and a fresh layer of powder for which to launch our snowboarding careers the next day. Needless to say, I can't remember how the meal tasted or what we had besides turkey, asparagus and some sort of casserole, but that launched the first of many Thanksgivings that I spent with close friends. That also spurred my appreciation for the proper cooking utensils, bakeware and of course wine.
Since that year, I have spent many years making Thanksgiving dinner for close friends. I always keep it simple and somewhat traditional. My favorite recipe is from my good friend Carol in Snowshoe, WV, with whom I have shared several meals over the years. Her Sweet Potato Casserole is the very best and is cooked perfectly in my Polish pottery baking dish. I have come to appreciate the way with which the Ceramika Artystycnza bakes, presents and cleans. There is virtually no effort with the clean up. As with age comes the appreciation for a good wine as well. Fortunately I have come a long way from my days drinking the Ravenswood Red Zinfandel and like to pair my Turkey with a good Pinot Noir from Sokol Blosser.
Each year I am so grateful for the friends and memories I have made since my first Thanksgiving on my own. Now with my own family I am ever so thankful to be back in Ohio. Especially this year since I only have to bring wine, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce...my sister is cooking!Happy Thanksgiving!
PKO (Polish Kitchen Online)
Carol's Sweet Potato Casserole
4-5 medium size potatoesPeel, boil and mash with 1tbsp butter and 2 cups mini marshmallows. Pour into Polish pottery baking dish (about 8x8)
Topping:1 stick butter2 packages instant plain oatmeal1/2C brown sugarMelt butter in saucepan and add oatmeal and brown sugar. Heat until gooey and spread over potatos. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. I usually double the recipe and make in a 9x13 pan.