Thanksgiving Eve Open Thread

Who's already cooking for tomorrow? Who's going elsewhere and not cooking at all?

The Black Friday shopping deals are already available online. Here's a list of stores open both Thursday and Friday, and one of those taking online orders. More tips here. Supposedly, the stores' twitter feeds and facebook pages are the best places for early notice of new deals.

If you find any great deals online, let us know in comments. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

Update: How about that couple that crashed the White House state dinner? [More..]

The Secret Service is looking into its own security procedures after determining that a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, managed to slip into Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House even though they were not on the guest list, agency spokesman Ed Donovan said.

President Obama was never in any danger because the party crashers went through the same security screening for weapons as the 300-plus people actually invited to the dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Donovan said.

Well, I guess that makes it no big deal. Pretty funny that they posted their photos on Facebook, including a picture with VP Joe Biden.

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    We are doing something we have (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:31:50 PM EST
    never done before, we are going out to eat tomorrow.  I have no spouse home to eat leftovers and nobody else will around here other than the dogs.  I decided I'm not cooking for the dogs tomorrow :)  My yearly litter of puppies arrived today.....7 males and 1 female.  Considering that a female carries with her the extension of all my efforts I'd better keep that one on a heating pad all night long.

    Congrats! (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:45:41 PM EST
    And you know I'm going need pics tomorrow!

    I am cooking for the feline/canine crew here. It's our last 'alone' holiday season for what looks like quite a few years to come. Gonna enjoy the "no drama" day ;) Have a applear maple walnut cobbler in the oven. Turkey is dry-brining. Bread is drying out for stuffing. Thought I would roast up a bunch of winter squash while doing the turkey so I can have it for soups and sauces. Also solves the veggie issue.

    I expect the feline crew to be on their best behavior tomorrow while they watch the oven for a few hours {grin}


    It;'s gonna be a quiet T-Day. (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 06:46:41 AM EST
    The menu:

    5-hour roast duck, with wild cherry glaze
    Wild rice with mushrooms
    Roasted mixed root vegetables
    Candied Sweet potatoes with orange flavor
    Pumpkin pie.

    I may wind up having to tie the dog to the radiator or something....


    You've got some spoilt furkids (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:51:12 PM EST
    Nobody tell my husband, but he buys these horrible vacuum packaged steaks from some door to door huckster.  This is the third time I turned my back and I have a freezer full.  The dogs like them though.

    Spoilt or eating safely? (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:59:34 PM EST
    We have hucksters selling beef here also. Supposedly Kobe beef. Either fake or stolen, take your pick ;) Fine for canines though!

    I actually have 60lbs of frozen pet meat/bones/organs I need to haul up the stairs before bed . . .  3 flights, my workout for the day, lol!~


    So glad you are here, as I have a cooking (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:26:07 PM EST
    question.  The Irish whiskey chocolate cake recipe calls for dried currants, but the only ones I could find are looking not-dried.  They are in a box like raisins.  Should I just put them on a cookie sheet in a low temp oven?  Other suggestions?  



    Hmm. Post google, I think the currants (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:16:59 PM EST
    I bought are actually dried.

    Those are dried. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 06:41:42 AM EST
    Remember, raisins start out as grapes, and then get dried and wrinkled.  The currants in the box are the equivalent of raisins.

    If you want, toss them in a covered cup with some of the Irish whiskey, proportioned about 3/4 cup dried fruit to a tablespoon (or two, or three) of whiskey.  


    And then throw out the currants (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 09:06:06 AM EST
    and enjoy the whiskey.  My kind of recipe. :-)

    No Jameson's on the shelf or in the back (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:10:40 AM EST
    of my grocery store.  So I'm going with Bushmills.

    Wow, what's the rest of your shelf (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:45:30 AM EST
    look like.  I don't like whiskey but I suppose I could choke down some Bushmills and coffee if you are going to put it in a cake and you don't have some top shelf tequila, vodka, or gin :)

    I've never tried vodka, gin, or tequila (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    cake.  Have you?  Possibly a waste of good liquor. A colleague like the Irish whiskey cake so much he asked for the recipe.  But he didn't like the cake he made as much as he like mine.  Turned out he was drinking the Jameson's while making the cake.  

    I wonder if there is a cake out there (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 06:44:41 PM EST
    showcasing any of my favorite alcohol?  I was looking at the new Yule Log cake in the new Martha Stewart.  Since Junior High French and a teacher who challenged us all to bring in something that was traditionally French, I can't wait to butcher the next Yule Log recipe and directions that I find :)  Martha's yule log cake this year is dressed with meringue mushrooms that look real and sugar crusted rosemary branches.  I always make Martha's sugar cookies for Christmas.  More time consuming but I've never screwed them up to the point that they aren't all gone quickly.

    They're better slightly plumped ... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ellie on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:30:15 PM EST
    ... otherwise, during baking, they take moisture away from the 'cake proper'. I'd soak them in a bit of the Uisge Baugh and coffee to bump up the nuance.

    Also, if your rec doesn't have coffee in it, find a way to add some to the chocolate: powdered instant to cocoa (if that's your choc base) or a bit of very strong liquid to your liquid ingredient, adjusting for volume (to your whisky.) Coffee makes chocolate taste choclatier.

    In closing, OMFG that sounds like a helluva cake. Be thankful I'm not anywhere near it.


    Enjoy your turkey day! (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:37:50 PM EST
    We go eat at 1:00 (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:47:50 AM EST
    It has been very restful so far too.  I've mostly been trying to catch up on news reading since the babies aren't here right now.  They are getting ready to move to Charleston.

    Intersting (none / 0) (#57)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:40:40 PM EST
    For my family, Thanksgiving dinner always meant an evening meal. But I've learned since that people often eat much closer to lunchtime.

    Wishing all a terrific holiday (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:40:06 PM EST
    We're all starting with Pumpkin pancakes at my dad's. This is his first without mom...after 63 years together, he's struggling. So, we're creating new traditions this year to try and distract him.

    Those first holidays can be so hard, (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:37:56 PM EST
    so you are smart to blend some new traditions with the old.

    Even though there is pain associated with those old traditions, because someone who was such a big part of them is no longer here to share in them, there is also comfort in knowing that the next generation cares enough about those old traditions to want to carry them on; it's really a tribute and a way to say, "we will never forget."

    The best thing for your dad is that you will be there for him; my heart goes out to you both as you remember your mother.


    That's the trick, Inspector (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:43:33 PM EST
    Invent some new traditions.  My dad died (many years ago now) in the fall, and after a disastrous but well-meaning Thanksgiving at some friends' house, my  mother came up with a whole new and interesting idea for Christmas dinner, which we like so much my sister and I have continued it even after my mother's death a few years ago.

    It worked wonderfully because although that first year especially we missed my dad terribly, we weren't going through the identical traditions just with a big gaping painful hole.  We were doing stuff new which we were able to fully enjoy for its own sake.

    Please give your dad a huge and a smooch for me, OK?


    Thanks to Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by kidneystones on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:44:42 PM EST
    and to all the folks here for providing a place of  civil, informed discussion.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

    Nervously brining a turkey (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:47:27 PM EST
    for the first time.....

    Happy holiday to everyone and may all your turkeys be moist!

    Good luck (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:38:26 PM EST
    Start high temp and the finish low!

    Don't be nervous! (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:26:50 PM EST
    Seriously, once you see how moist and tender your turkey is, you will be thrilled, and will never not brine again.  No more dry white meat!

    Hope you have a wonderful day!


    That pic reminds me (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:47:39 PM EST
    I need to make my cranberries!

    Happy Turkey day to you and TL son!

    The State Dinner crashers (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:52:07 PM EST
    story is absolutely hysterical!!

    I just read it too (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:53:49 PM EST
    Aren't you shocked who took a photo with them?  Joe Biden

    This doesn't encourage me for why (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:27:09 PM EST
    U.S. is in Afghanistan.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by dissenter on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:25:30 PM EST
    But it does explain to me why he thinks Europe is going to give him 10,000 more troops. The White House is totally incompetent!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving all.


    I wish I had that kind of (none / 0) (#14)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:10:09 PM EST
    nerve....they must have quite the list of tales to tell about their adventures in life :)

    And Ron (sic) Emmanuel! (none / 0) (#35)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:43:55 AM EST
    He doesn't look as pleased as the veep!

    It just gets better and better (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Cream City on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:00:39 PM EST
    "The former Redskins cheerleader, is one of the finalists for the upcoming Bravo cable show," something on desperate housewives of Washington, D.C.

    But even better is the caption on Facebook of their photo with "Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel -- who[m] the Salahis improperly identified as 'Ron.'"


    I missed that last night (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 09:08:42 AM EST
    It's just too damn funny.  They crash the White House but they have no idea who Rahm Emanuel is and then label him "Ron" on facebook.

    Oops...typed before I read your (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:45:28 AM EST

    I wonder if the Secret Service (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Radiowalla on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:07:07 PM EST
    finds it hysterical?  It's a very, very bad security breach.  

    They downplayed it with (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:08:47 PM EST
    the explanation they went through all the metal detectors and safety checks....just got missed on the guest list.

    Not good enough. (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:28:09 PM EST
    Reeks of balloon boy story.

    Reminds me of the brass (none / 0) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:46:46 PM EST
    of chorus crashers, who make a whole hobby out of dressing up like choristers and marching on stage to sing with major orchestras.

    Hadn't heard of chorus crashers. Do (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:04:11 AM EST
    they lip sync or sing?

    There is a fellow who prides himself on crashing the Oscars each year.  


    Oh, they sing! (none / 0) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 01:23:46 PM EST
    Unfortunately.  If they just lip-synched, they wouldn't be such a huge PITA.  They figure, rightly in too many cases, that choristers are so anonymous, even in major orchestra choruses, that nobody will even notice unfamiliar faces.  They just insert themselves into the group and march right up on stage, sit down and start chatting with the singers around them.  There's apparently a whole subculture of them, like trainspotters, who compete to see who can crash how many big-time performances.

    There are also people who find costumes and crash opera performances as supernumeraries.  In heavy make-up and wigs, oftentimes you can't even recognize your best friend on stage in an opera cast.


    My sister sang in the Westminster choral (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 01:27:02 PM EST
    group when she was in grad school.  Must ask her.

    And the White House Social Secretary (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Cream City on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:27:52 PM EST
    according to a CNN report.  When there are questions, the Social Secretary resolves whether someone not on the list ought to be allowed in.  If involved in letting the cheerleader and her hubby through the checkpoint, then expect some changes in that office, too.

    There are many, many questions on this one.  And if I were the next head of state heading here, I'd be having my security staff ask a lot of those questions before allowing a visit to go forward.


    The Social Secretary has to have that kind of (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:46:45 PM EST
    power though. I mean, can you imagine the embarrassment if something important were left off the list by accident?

    Sure. But with power (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:07:58 AM EST
    comes responsibility.  And if you can't show you can be responsible for preventing a Redskins cheerleader in a sari from faking her way into the first dinner for a head of state that your boss ever has hosted . . . well, you're probably not supposed to get a second chance to get it right.

    Instead, you get a new Social Secretary who can do the job of figuring out who -- or what -- is "something important."

    But -- I would rather that the boss focus on replacing Geithner and Emanuel first.  They threaten my security, and I have decided that it it time for a paradigm shift, and mine matters more.


    I'm sure it wasn't rocket science (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:35:42 PM EST
    This is why if some foreign intelligence agency wanted to. . .

    Humans are very bad at security.


    I can see that all it takes is a sari (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Cream City on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:24:53 PM EST
    to get in to see the prime minister of India.



    Well, it probably wouldn't be very hard (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by andgarden on Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 11:48:49 PM EST
    to get into Blair House.

    I'd hate to imagine... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 10:34:58 AM EST
    our world if we were flawless at security...people like the crashers restore my faith in the human race, they really do. Free human will in action...the impossibility of crushing it completely with rules, checkpoints, fences, and armed guards.  Where there is will there is a way...I take heart in it, it can be the most beautiful of things.

    Yeah, it means bad guys do bad things in spite of security sometimes...but it also means good guys can do good things in spite of security, and harmless guys doing harmless things to pursue some hapiness in spite of security...and there are more good and harmless than bad in this world.  

    I hope they had a real good time...they earned it.


    So, in the M H Hawkeye/k dog admins. (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:07:09 AM EST
    anybody and everybody is welcome at any state dinner.

    It is the People's House... (none / 0) (#58)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:43:47 PM EST
    ...afterall.  Why should the elites get to have all the fun?  

    Great. I've always hoped to attend a (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:56:12 PM EST
    state dinner at the WH.  

    Have you read Calvin Trillin's piece about he and his wife going to such a dinner.  Very funny.  As always. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate the piece on line.


    Be sure to bring... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 01:17:24 PM EST
    ...a nice covered dish to share!

    In college, my friends and I got dressed up in our finest and crashed a formal party at the President's house.  We had a blast--a most memorable night...


    We'd put Jackson's... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 08:59:38 AM EST
    inauguration party to shame...wouldn't we pal?

    Indeed! (none / 0) (#68)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 11:17:27 AM EST
    The weekly Friday concert series would be legendary too!  And instead of playing football with Drew Brees on the lawn, you'd finally be able to chuck the frisbee with Levon...

    Of course, somebody will get fired (none / 0) (#51)
    by Cream City on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:10:09 AM EST
    for it, but no harm done in kdog world.  Be happy.

    But there was no harm done... (none / 0) (#67)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 09:01:34 AM EST
    unless you count a blow to secret service pride as harm.

    I'd hate to see somebody get fired over something so stupid...if someone is their boss is an arsehole and needs to lighten up.


    You've got to be kidding (none / 0) (#69)
    by Cream City on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 07:33:55 PM EST
    -- but then, that's so often the response to you!

    This is the Secret Service.  And this is only their doorman duty.  Do you really think there will be no consequences when these carefully selected and highly trained people cannot even do doorman duty?


    They did their duty... (none / 0) (#70)
    by kdog on Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 02:43:27 PM EST
    no harm was done to the pres...so whats the problem again?  Individual will trumped collective security concerns?  The authorities got some egg on their face?

    I guess you can call that bad news, but I wouldn't.  Rejoice CC...there is hope for us all yet:)


    Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by MikeDitto on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:08:56 AM EST
    • 3 cups peeled, chopped firm fuyu persimmons
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 2/3 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 3/4 cup raisins

    1. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
    2. Preheat oven to 350.
    3. Blend baking soda with chopped fuyus. Set aside.
    4. In a large bowl beat butter with sugar. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
    5. Stir in fuyu mix.
    6. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    7. Stir flour mixture into fuyu mixture until just blended.
    8. Stir in walnuts and raisins.
    9. Pour (Spoon, it will be thick) into prepared bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick tests clean.
    10. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn onto rack.

    First time I've made it, but it sounds good.

    Sounds great, but (none / 0) (#34)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:20:31 AM EST
    what the heck is a fuyu persimmon, and where do you get them??

    Costco had crates and crates of them (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by MikeDitto on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:46:14 AM EST
    But you can get them just about anywhere this time of year.

    They look like tomatoes but the taste like a cross between and apple, a pear, and a yam.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 09:24:22 AM EST
    Sounds interesting.  I'll keep an eye out for them just in case, but in rural VT, I have my doubts...

    We've resolved the (5.00 / 5) (#38)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:59:26 AM EST
    Thanksgiving without Dad issue by starting a new tradition...my son and I each drive halfway to meetup at a nearby casino to celebrate a la tradition with the First Americans.  They have a fabulous buffet - all the usual turkey and trimmings plus the native Puget Sound seafood specialties...Dungeness crab, alder-smoked salmon, Quilcene oysters, steamed clams and mussels...my mouth is watering already! Yum!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    That's excellent (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 01:55:19 AM EST
    We're doing nothing (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by SOS on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 08:41:21 AM EST
    Just relaxing. No elaborate meals, no shopping, no TV. No pressure.

    For many reasons that sounds (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 09:11:04 AM EST
    wonderful. All the food bingeing, all that driving force going into Christmas beginning to crank up.  Tomorrow is decorating day.

    Palin Doesn't Rule Out 2012 Run With Glenn Beck (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 09:00:42 AM EST
    What a scary headline! If these two could somehow manage to win the WH, I think I would have to consider seriously a major move. I can't believe that there are enough whackos in this country to elect this pair. And if there are, maybe I'm in the wrong place.

    I'm dying to watch a Glenn Beck (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 11:52:26 AM EST
    VP candidate debate with Joe Biden.  That would almost be like a comedy special.  Would Glenn's zaniness lead Biden down the zany paths he works so hard to publicly avoid verbally taking?  We all know Biden goes off on some wild tangents sometimes. Will Beck cry?

    The good news is ... (none / 0) (#63)
    by FreakyBeaky on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 02:40:28 PM EST
    ... there are not enough wackos in this country to elect Palin/Beck or Beck/Palin.

    The bad news is, 30% is a pretty good sized working nut to get started with, and leaves you having to get only just over 2 of every remaining 7 votes (by popular vote - EC is obviously different).

    Happy Thanksgiving. :-)


    My new recent fave movie (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 06:46:30 PM EST
    is 'Mozart and the Whale'.  I just watched it for the second time this week and it is still delightful.