Today is October 1st and you know what that means… Only 57 days until Thanksgiving!
It’s time to start getting ready, ladies and Stephen! The OCD, control freak, and spaz in me is already preparing. The guests are invited and will remain the same depending on their behavior, the tablecloth has been thought out, the platters are organized and because I live in Paris, the land of no Thanksgiving, I will have to make my pilgrimage over to The Thanksgiving Store in the 4th arrondissement of Paris over the weekend to order/purchase everything I need. And yes I realize it’s only October 1 but you can never be too prepared.
20 Rue Saint Paul 75004 Paris
And that, my friends, is why I am reintroducing my Thanksgiving cookbook, Surviving Thanksgiving, today! I want all of you to have plenty of time to order it, receive it, read it and prepare before the big day.
If you weren’t around last year for the inaugural Surviving Thanksgiving blog posting, CLICK HERE.
Surviving Thanksgiving is a humorous look at Thanksgiving, a guide and most importantly, a cookbook. All of the recipes are generational O’Connell family secrets.
Here is a little excerpt from the book:
Ahhh, Thanksgiving dinner. The holiday where emotions run high. My family has at least two fights on Thanksgiving …pre-dinner. It could be about ironing the napkins, it can be about why I invited every Tom Dick and Harry in the neighborhood, it could be about my sister hogging her new baby, it could be about my brother eating all of the appetizers before the guests arrive, it could be about my former sister-in-law acting like a guest and not lifting a finger but usually the fight is always about my siblings and me “not helping in the kitchen enough.” The funny part is that if we attempt to help in the kitchen, my mother always tells us that we are doing it wrong and pushes us aside. We are either chopping the onions incorrectly, we are stirring the gravy too fast or not fast enough, we are not basting the turkey with love, we are being too dangerous with the Cuisinart blade, we are not watching the pies in the oven closely enough, etc. We decided that the best thing to do is just to leave my idiot savant mother in the kitchen to work her magic by herself. And she has, for 44 years. We have never helped her. To this day I have never made a Thanksgiving dinner on my own because she has never taught me. This is the first time she has ever even written the recipes down.
My mother was born cooking. She had no choice because it’s what my family does. My mother’s home when she was growing up was a big Carthage stone house that was always filled with tons of family. My grandmother, her housekeeper, Parthenia, my mother and her two sisters, Judy and Becky, ruled that house with an iron spatula. Everything revolved around food and the holidays. Sunday dinners complete with formal dinnerware and chafing dishes on the buffet were de rigueur. Even if we had my grandmother’s famous green pepper steak Chinese dinner, it was going to be on porcelain with linen napkins and crystal glasses. All of the children, including all of the cousins never really helped in the kitchen. We were only allowed to watch. Our job was to help set the table. I’ve been setting the table since I could walk. The good news is that I don’t ever remember anyone asking us to do the dishes.
I don’t want you to think that this Thanksgiving dinner recipe cookbook was put together lightly. This is an accumulation of years of testing, experimenting, and fine-tuning. My mother has been the teacher of private cooking classes, the chairman of the Los Angeles Junior League cookbook committee, has had 2 successful gourmet cookware/gourmet food shops, and has thrown more cocktail parties, dinner parties, birthday parties, weddings and holiday parties than Martha Stewart could even dream of. She is the dyslexic Martha Stewart… Which brings me to another subject.
As much as we love my mother, she is definitely…how can I say this nicely? Well, I’m just going to say it… She is cuckoo. I know this may sound mean but my mother has self-diagnosed dyslexia and the things that come out of her mouth are downright hysterical. She has no filter, spells everything incorrectly and sometimes backwards, never gives a clear explanation, and gets frustrated if you don’t know how to brown pork chops because, as she says, “It’s obvious.” However, she is pretty and can cook the pants off of anyone. So, as a warning, I have left all of her recipes nearly exactly as she has written them. I did have to edit a few things otherwise you would be offended by her tone and most likely would not have been able to completely understand the recipe because the words are out of order due to her dyslexia.
But what you will get with this Thanksgiving cookbook is a set of recipes that you can use for a lifetime and that you can add your own touch to as well. The recipes are easy, approachable and the ingredients are readily available at the supermarket. And, as an added bonus, I’m going to give you my mother’s email address so you to email her with any questions you might have. She loves helping people out and always has little secret cooking ideas to share. But I warn you, her emails back to you will be cryptic and possibly rude, but not intentionally. She will treat you as she treats her children…with love, humor, and a lack of social skills.
I would say bon appétit but my fancy Parisian friend, Sally Perrin, told me that is tacky and if you say bon appétit it is as if you are saying, “chow time.” So, obviously, I will never say bon appétit again… Yes I will.
The book guides you through the perils of Thanksgiving from setting the table, flower arrangements, cooking timeline, supply list, the recipes and most importantly how to keep your cool on the big day.
This is the first year that I will be (with my handy dandy caregiver, Joel) cooking Thanksgiving dinner by myself. As you know last year we were lucky enough to enjoy a very special Thanksgiving at the Ralph Lauren restaurant, Ralph’s, in Paris. Thank you Rex and the Lauren family. If you missed that blog, you can read it HERE. This year I decided to have Thanksgiving at our apartment using all of my family’s recipes from the cookbook. I’m sure I will be calling my mother four thousand times to ask her for advice and guess what, you can too! I have included my mother’s Thanksgiving cookbook email in the cookbook for all of you to use if you have any questions. She is eagerly anticipating your emails because she loves to give cooking advice. Remember, my mother used to be a cooking teacher and this is definitely her forte, so ask away! If you want to have the most delicious, home-cooked, authentic Thanksgiving of your entire life, Surviving Thanksgiving is the cookbook for you! Also, a portion of the proceeds will go to ALS research so it’s a win-win!
To purchase the Surviving Thanksgiving cookbook CLICK HERE. The book is available in softback and as an Ebook. Surviving Thanksgiving is also continuously available on the homepage of my blog on the right sidebar.
*Something you don’t know about me? I have curated the October antique sale all around entertaining for the fall holidays. There are lots of goodies that I think you will all love. The sale starts in a few days but I will give you all a heads up via blog postings but in the meantime follow me on Instagram HERE for updates on the sale and sneak peeks!