A few years ago I traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana for Thanksgiving. At that time, my Aunt Michele was a new mom and had just found out that her husband had to travel abroad for work over the holiday. My family sent me up there and Michele and I decided to make it as much of a girls’ weekend as possible having a one year old in tow. We packed up the car Thanksgiving morning and headed to Dallas for a shopping adventure, stopping at Cracker Barrel on the way for Thanksgiving dinner. I cried.
I cried serious tears. Michele looked at me with inquiring eyes. I couldn’t believe that the baby’s first Thanksgiving was at Cracker Barrel, away from our family, away from our food, away from Gramma’s pie crust. We called the family so everyone could tease me, thoroughly, and I dried my eyes. We hopped back in the car and headed to Dallas. It ended up not being a big deal, but in that wink of a moment, it felt like the biggest deal.
When I heard the Lawson brothers, my friends turned neighbors, might not be able to make it back to Wichita Falls for Thanksgiving this year, that same big deal feeling came over me. I immediately made plans to make a mini holiday meal and drop it off before my flight to Florida. I kept portions of each dish aside for my roommate, who is also staying in Austin this week, and quickly realized how not-mini this meal was going to be. A little embarrassing, but what can ya do.
I made classic mashed potatoes, The Pioneer Woman’s green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie with Savory Spice Shop’s Chinese Five Spice. Everything was darn good. The green bean casserole was like bacon macaroni and cheese meets green beans. And even though the pie looked a bit funkier than usual, I suspect the addition of the Chinese five spice in lieu of pumpkin pie spice was a killer trade (I also made this substitution with the Pumpkin Roll Cake).
Happy Thanksgiving Eve!