Thanksgiving Dinner: The Dress Rehearsal

Thanksgiving is ten days away. I’m fixing to do something completely unprecedented in preparation for the Great Day.

Yes, I am going to prepare possible dishes for the big meal ahead of time, a dress rehearsal if you will.

And to make it that much crazier that I, the non-domestic one, am doing this at all, I am going to cook something that I’ve never cooked before at all.

That’s right. I’m going to make Brussels sprouts. Here. Tonight. In this very house.

I went to Publix yesterday, with my little list of ingredients clutched optimistically in my hand. I hit a minor snag when I looked at the list and it read “shallots.” I, um, didn’t know what shallots looked like. So I drifted around the produce section for awhile, peering at the names of the various items to see if maybe I was somehow mistaking shallots for leeks or shallots for endive. I looked around for other shoppers who might give me a clue. Nothing. Finally, I gave up and approached one of the produce clerks.

“Um,” I whispered. “I don’t know where the shallots are.”


“Or what they are.”

She smiled and led me right over to the potato aisle. She plucked up a little mesh bag with these oval-shaped things that look like oversized cloves of garlic.

“Here you go, darlin’,” she said (of course she did!). “They’re like a cross between potatoes and garlic, you see?”

Yes, yes, I did see.

I took a package and tossed it into my cart, along with two pounds of fresh Brussels sprouts. I’ll be diving into that bag in just a few short hours to prepare a lovely Brussels sprouts au gratin dish that appeared in the November issue of Cooking Light.

My husband has cautioned me that he does not like Brussels sprouts, he does not like them Sam I am, and it would take a whole lot of something to make them taste good enough for him to eat them. Perhaps the pound of hickory smoked bacon that I also bought will accomplish that goal. If not, well…I wonder how long it will take me to eat two pounds of Brussels sprouts? Especially two pounds of Brussels sprouts that I cook myself?


About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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5 Responses to Thanksgiving Dinner: The Dress Rehearsal

  1. Molly says:

    Brussels Sprouts cooked the right way are AMAZING. I don’t even like vegetables all that much. The trick is to peel off the outermost layers (they are the most bitter), then cut them up–in quarters or even in thin slices. Then, caramelize them with shallots (I think they are more onion/garlic than potato/garlic) to bring out the sweetness. The bacon will also be a big boost.

    You and your husband will not be able to resist!

  2. Diane says:

    Remember that Aaron loves brussel sprouts. I’m sure he’ll help you eat them! They’re not my favorite, but your recipe sounds really good and I’m willing to try them. Maybe I wasn’t preparing them the right way. Be sure David doesn’t mention his dislike in front of William.

  3. So glad you are trying that recipe out! I hated Brussels sprouts too until I had them cooked properly and now they are one of my favorite vegetables. And of course bacon. I had the same experience when buying a celery root for the first time!

  4. Natalie says:

    Oh, how we love shallots so. They are wonderfully flavorful and make everything better. Seriously, you will love them so much more than onions!

    And we love brussels sprouts, too. Saute them in some butter with a bit of salt and you will love them. You can roast them in the oven and they are tasty! Good luck!

  5. Jeb Hoge says:

    There is a fancy restaurant in Richmond that makes Brussells Sprouts that everyone raves about, so it CAN be done. I haven’t tried them, though.

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