When we were young, both Lisa's family and mine used to go all out, serving essentially two meals--the Italian and the American Thanksgiving spread. When arriving at the family home, we'd dig into antipasto. Then after a couple of hours of food prep, teasing each other and watching the parade on TV, we'd sit down for the Italian meal: Lasagna or home made ravioli served with meatballs, brasciole, and sausage. After this, we'd all need couch time to digest--a couple of hours.
Then would come Turkey Time. Turkey, stuffing, gravy (the brown American kind, not the Sunday Gravy red type), sweet potatoes and marshmallows, cranberries--the jellied, canned type for my family. Then later on, my Dad would roast the chestnuts in the oven, Mom would pour the coffee and tea and we'd head back to the table to dig into the spread of Italian pastries: Cannoli, Babà al Rhum, Eclairs, Napoleone, Sfogliatelle, Tricolori (Rainbow cookies), Amaretti (macaroons) and my favorite, Pasticiotti (we called them "Passa-Chutt"... little custard filled pies).
The chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, tangerines and pomegranates would finish off the day of feasting with sips of almond flavored Amaretto (almond) or Sambuca (anise) liquors.
I have no idea how we ate so much damned food back then.
For We Three nowadays, the meal is still abundant, but trimmed back a lot--yet still we have tons of leftovers for other meals). We start with an antipasto to honor our Italian roots, but we really have that as our lunch around 1pm. Provolone, salami, imported olives, pepperoni and slices of crusty bread are more than enough to hold us over while the turkey roasts in the oven in the afternoon.
Some of the sides we prepared the day before just so we could have time to relax with each other, play a board game, watch the Macy's Parade, the Dog Show and March of the Wooden Soldiers on TV (we love Laurel and Hardy). In the last few years, due to the odd marathon programming of cable channels, tuning in for our favorite parts of the Godfather trilogy is also something that Lisa and I enjoy, though I must admit, watching guys getting whacked on Thanksgiving Day strikes me as very odd.
As for the leftovers: Perhaps a second turkey dinner, turkey panini, turkey pasta, turkey barley soup, and our special, once-a-year pizza, which I call Thanksgiving Day Pizza. The turkey gravy (the brown stuff, not Sunday Gravy red) becomes the pizza sauce, the turkey and all the trimmings (cheese potatoes, cranberries, stuffing, etc.) become the toppings, all topped off with grated fontina cheese. Hey... I just looked at the time as I'm writing this on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I've got to get my dough started for the pizza tonight! I've been waiting all year for this...
Happy Thanksgiving to all our Grand Voyage Italy friends!
--Jerry, Lisa and Lucas