My family has really mastered the art of the conventionally unconventional holiday season. We’ve more or less embraced the idea of going back to the basics – and we really focus on being together and just enjoying each others company. Seeing as how we’re thoroughly spread out all over the country (if you include extended family, we’re in Virginia, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Washington DC and Ohio) the short moments that we actually get to spend together are priceless and wonderful.
This year for Thanksgiving, my parents came to Chicago. Now, you must understand that I was giddy about having them join me for a variety of reasons (I mean – my parents DO rule, after all). But there is one particular reason that stands out more than the rest. Ever since I moved out here in 2006, it has become a tradition that I spend the holiday with my aunt and uncle—who happen to throw the most kick a$$ Thanksgiving brunch on the face of the Earth. My Uncle Bobby (who is my mom’s brother and my biggest inspiration/mentor in the food world) and my Aunt Deborah decided a few years back that the whole idea of a massive and stressful Thanksgiving dinner was a bunch of ka-ka poo-poo. Instead, they wanted to throw a kickin’ brunch party where all of their friends could come and go as they pleased, eat some incredible eats, drink some incredible drinks, relax on the couch and have a great time being together. So, that’s exactly what they made happen. What can I say? This is how my family rolls.
Somewhere in the midst of this brunch planning process, Bobby and Deborah created and tested a recipe for a cornmeal and sage waffle, with the idea that the waffle would become a new twist on stuffing. This waffle would be topped with a thick slice of house-smoked turkey… and then the whole thing gets smothered in giblet gravy and fresh cranberry sauce. So basically, it’s like the coolest, most creative and best tasting Turkey Day meal on a plate. Pair that little bombshell of a breakfast with an off-dry Pinot Blanc or perhaps a glass (or five) of Gamay, and you can look forward to one hell of a tryptophan-filled coma on the couch. Gravy dreams, my friends. Gravy dreams.
My parents hadn’t experienced the Thanksgiving Brunch extravaganza. This year was their very first time. It’s difficult to put into words how awesome and proud I felt to introduce them to my favorite (and fairly new) unconventional tradition.
Does your family have any unconventional traditions? Share them with me here.