Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I am currently persona non grata in my corner of Steubenville. Not because of any advice I’ve been dishing out as of late, but rather because of what I won’t be dishing out next week: Thanksgiving Dinner.

For years, mostly because of the hassle of traveling 1280 miles, roundtrip, on Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve stayed in Steubenville for the holiday and opened my home to whomever didn’t have one that day. One year, that number was as large as 25. Another year, it was as small as four.

A few special friends, however, have always been around the table, and those are the ones  less than pleased about Chris and I going to my parents this Thanksgiving. (His family gets us for Christmas).

I’m looking forward to being with all my nieces and nephews next week, but I have to admit, I’m a little sad too. There’s no holiday I like better than Thanksgiving, and (in all humility) there’s also no meal I cook better than Thanksgiving Dinner. People have flown across the country for my mashed potatoes and stuffing. Some of those people also are under the impression that my gravy is a beverage. (“Just because something has brandy in it,” I tell them, “doesn’t  mean you can drink it.” They never listen.)

It’s not only the company or food that makes Thanksgiving special for me,  though. It’s also the chance to pull out all the decorating stops and set the most elegant table I can muster. In grad school, that wasn’t much. But here’s what we did last year.

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Roasted Potato, Bacon, and Kale Salad

It was supposed to be a simple dinner. It was supposed to be quick, easy, and nothing about which I had to fret my little head…which is full up with fret these days because, as usual, I’ve taken on too much work. Supposed to be, supposed to be, supposed to be.

Actually, in one way, it was simple. It was simply a disaster.

Here’s what happened.

Last week, my boyfriend Chris came over for dinner. The original plan was pizza margarita, with some kind of warm side salad. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using a frozen pizza dough I’d never tried before. Yes, I know I could have made my own dough. Yes, I know that would have been easier and healthier and yada, yada, yada. But I’ve been trying to cook from the overflowing freezer this month, and my roommate had purchased the dough a while back. It needed to be used.

Anyhow, the dough was apparently made with superglue, as it stuck to everything it touched: the counter, the pizza paddle, my hands. I couldn’t move it off the counter in one piece, let alone get it on the pizza stone. It was your basic kitchen nightmare, with sauce and cheese flying and the oven smoking and me crying. Poor Chris.

In the end, after employing a few choice words, I just folded the stupid thing in half, threw it in the oven, and called it strombolli. It was…fine.

But the salad?

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