moules frites, redux

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In the comments of yesterday’s post, someone asked why she feels a need to make so many dishes for Thanksgiving when she’s only feeding a few people and always ends up with leftovers that end up getting thrown out four days later. Now, I’m sure the question was rhetorical yet I can’t help but chime in because I’ve been mulling this over a lot lately: Why is it that hosts feel so compelled to over-feed? Why is it that I feel bad when I only have served just enough food?

Yes, I know these are first world problems, but they’re not bad things to consider in this season of indulgence. The average American’s Thanksgiving intake measures about 4,500 calories, or over twice the recommended daily allowance of a full-grown adult. Our tables flow with an amount of food that would feed most families in the world for a week, many longer. We stumble away from them drunk, stuffed, our waistbands snug. We actually think that what the potatoes might benefit from another stick of butter.

I’m not trying to be a pill. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, and always has been. But when friends came over for dinner last Friday, the thought of one of those typical, multi-course, showy heavy meals was appalling. (Also, we only had about an hour to put the whole thing together.) As always, Julia Child’s mussels steamed in white wine and my baked pommes frites–along with a big salad and that tart I’d baked the night before–saved the day, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I hadn’t cooked enough. Even though everyone left here full. Even though nobody really enjoys leaving a meal feeling like they put on 10 pounds. How ridiculous have we become?

What I should have been more concerned about was excess of the wine variety. I mean, seriously people. When in the history of Ever has Alex and friend running out to the liquor store for more bourbon and, oh, a bottle of prosecco at 11:15 p.m. ever been a good idea? Is it any wonder that I “broke” NaBloPoMo that night? I feel exhausted just thinking about it.

Ah well. At least one dinner this week wasn’t over-the-top.

[Recipes for Moules a la Mariniére and Baked Pommes Frites from the archives]

Thanksgiving Q&A: Between now and Thursday, I’m still answering, or trying to answer, as many Thanksgiving-related cooking questions you can throw out at me in yesterday’s entry. Keep ‘em coming!

One year ago: Mom’s Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake


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