Every time I tell someone that we stay in town and have Thanksgiving with friends they make a peculiar moaning sound and say, “Ohhh, that sounds so nice.” And as much as we miss our families, it really is nice. On the somehow-guaranteed-to-be-dreary weekend in November when intrepid travelers are trekking to far-flung locations and, if sitcoms, movies, and the current New Yorker cover are to be believed, be driven crazy by their relatives, we’re here in Park Slope enjoying the ample parking and lack of lines at the swingset.
Plus, Thanksgiving with friends is really fun. Raphe was gracious enough to host us this year in his Dumbo loft. Harper had a great time drawing on their chalkboard wall, terrorizing a borrowed Chihuahua, and reprogramming the cable. Everyone laughed a lot. As is traditional for a Friendsgiving, there were all the necessary dishes (some with a kick, like Doug’s famous hot-sauce-spiked green bean casserole), a lot more booze than usual, and no one ever understands how long the turkey will take but it turned out delicious (and hello, covered in bacon!). We ate until we moaned and had to use pain-management techniques I learned in labor. A success, all around.
I’m happy to report that nothing I made was a complete disaster. Every time I cook for actual people (er, I mean, not Adam and Harper) I get very nervous. I have that terrible habit of making totally untested recipes for dinner parties and things. This is compounded with a nerve-wracking genetic predisposition for starting kitchen fires (a specialty of my maternal grandmother’s), difficulty paying attention while cooking, and my recent reading of Anne of Green Gables, in which she is perpetually doing things like accidentally spiking the cake with liniment oil. Add all these to my tiny, amenity-poor, unventilated kitchen and possessed oven, and, well, it’s basically a Thanksgiving miracle that the cranberries, stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake were edible.
A note: should you ever attempt this pumpkin cheesecake, please know that springform pans can be leaky so you need to put a baking sheet underneath unless you want cheese-drippings to smoke in your oven and terrify your husband, and also that there is apparently a whole cheesecake rigamarole that you’re supposed to know about, like letting it cool slowly and whatever else. And how the hell are you supposed to get the crust to stop from sticking to the pan? But even should you not know about these things, chances are it will still be delicious and pumpkiny and that your friends will be nice about its sad appearance.