The Story of a First Thanksgiving

Once upon a time there was a very nice husband who had a very fun wife who loved to cook. The wife dreamed and dreamed of cooking a large holiday meal, but did not ever get the opportunity, seeing as other family traditions had already been established by generations who came before the very nice husband and his very fun wife, as family traditions often do.

One day, the very nice husband received a phone call with a short-term, very great work opportunity very far away from any and all family and friends. This work opportunity spanned several months, including the two most important holiday months, November and December. With no traditions or family or friends to rely on, the very nice husband and his very fun wife decided to make Thanksgiving for two.

Seeing as this was, in some ways, the first Thanksgiving the very nice husband and very fun wife would have, they decided to pull out all the stops. The very fun wife (hereafter referred to as SHE – this very stuff is getting exhausting) wanted to make it an all-day event, full of scrumptious treats and potential new traditions. “What better way to start Thanksgiving than with cinnamon rolls?” she asked herself. Arguably, there is none, and so, while her doting spouse spent hours and hours at his place of work, SHE spent hours on end making a sweet dough for Parker House dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls, so Thanksgiving could begin like this:

As her husband watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and made a couple of phone calls to family (who were all at home, upholding family traditions), the very fun wife started on the main event – a 17 pound bird named Hank. Hank soaked in a brine of brown sugar, water, apple cider, and lots of spices overnight, and come morning was ready to be padded down airport-security style with herb-butter-covered fingers.

He (Hank, not the husband) was promptly stuck into the oven, where he was left for several hours, with occasional peeking and basting by the nice/fun couple. Meanwhile, she began her work on the best part of any Thanksgiving meal – the side dishes and dessert – in this order:

1. Sourdough, bacon, and roasted mushroom stuffing
2. Roasted brussel sprouts with pomegranate
3. Parker House rolls
4. Fresh cranberry sauce
5. Sage turkey gravy
6. Pecan Pie with vanilla bean ice cream

When it was time to remove Hank from the oven (a task fit for a man!) he was placed on the stove to rest for a few minutes. Hank’s skin was a little more “charred” than anticipated, but the carcinogens just made the herb-butter taste that much better.

*please note the very nice husband’s manly potholder*

Before they knew it, everything was ready to eat. An elegant 2006 Oregon Pinot Noir (Erath Estate Collection – try it!) was set on the table, Hank was carved, and the side dishes were ready to go. Husband and wife dug in, savoring every bite! Although they missed their family and friends, it was fun for the very nice husband and his very fun wife to have a Thanksgiving just the two of them, and establish new traditions of their very own.

ps. Is it arrogant to call yourself ‘very fun’ ??

How to Make Friends – A Step by Step Guide

For anyone who may find themselves in a new city, job, school, church, cat-sitter circle, this is for you.

Step 1:  Beg husband to take a night off and text newfound acquaintances to see if they want to hang out.

Step 2.: When said newfound acquaintances invite you over to their house for dinner, leap from the couch and jump up and down all around the house with pure joy.

Step 3: Offer to bring dessert. (Friend-making 101 – people like people who bring them things.)

Step 4: Melt excessive (and I mean EXCESSIVE) amounts of semi-sweet chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate with a pound of butter. Yes I said a pound. 4 sticks. That’s right.

Step 5: Stir together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and instant espresso granules in a separate bowl. When the melted chocolate/butter deliciousness looks like this, add it to the egg and sugar mixture.

Step 6: Add even more chocolate, and walnuts if you are so inclined. (Toss them with a little flour before adding to the mixture to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the brownies.)

Step 7: Mix everything together, and spread onto large baking sheet.

Step 8: Bake, then remove from oven to cool.

Step 9: Buy a bottle of yummy wine for wannabe new friends. If all else fails, hopefully they enjoy a good Cabernet Sauvignon.

Step 10: Bring brownies, favorite ice cream, fudge sauce, and wine to potential friend’s home. Win them over with your wit, charm, and the niceness of your husband… which is probably the reason you got invited over in the first place.

Little Rock – The First Week

Before we left for Arkansas, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE teased us about going to a “redneck” area. They said the people here would be living in trailers, speaking with such a twang we would have a hard time understanding them, that education would be nonexistent, people would be marrying their cousins, roadkill would be everywhere, and the only vegetables we’d see would be fried.

Here’s the deal. Of all of the people who teased us about this move and made jokes about Arkansas — I came to find out that not one of them had actually been here. So I did a little research of my own and found that there was potential. There are Universities right here in town. There are several Starbucks coffee shops (you hear that, Dentt?), I have yet to meet anyone who has married their sister or brother, and I’ve only seen one dead possum on the side of the road.  The two things I AM having a hard time finding (ok, make that three things and add friends to the list… HELLO? People?? Does anyone want to hang out with me???) are a gym and vegetables that are not fried.

For Kimberly’s birthday we found a little Italian restaurant downtown with good reviews.  I ordered the veal scallopine which came with a side of “fresh seasonal vegetables.”

At first I thought maybe the vegetables were coming on a separate plate. Then I realized, no.  No, no, no.

What all those naysayers at home were telling me was true… I have entered into a land where “fresh seasonal vegetables” will very likely mean DEEP FRIED ZUCCHINI.

Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, it’s just making my search for a gym that much more necessary.

Here we go… again!

I have been talking about it for a while, I know.  A new blog. A FANCY new blog. Something to look forward to! It’s been so long since I started working on this with my dear friend Bronson Pate that I honestly don’t remember when it started! I DO know that I could be tweaking and changing and re-shooting things for the rest of my life and at some point I just had to decide – it is done! That point is now.

Do you LOVE my new blog???? Because I do! I am honestly so proud of all the hard work that went into it from so many lovely people. I am so excited to have something I’m this excited about that is ALL MINE! Kristin Eats. It’s me! I eat! I live to tell stories that generally involve eating!

I love getting to share this part of me with friends and family and strangers all over the planet.  Hooray for today! For today is the beginning of a new era in the life of Kristin Murdock.  The official beginning of Kristin Eats.