Art and Science of Entertaining: Thanksgiving

Los Alamos

I do hope that you are as eager to read this, my second Los Alamos Daily Post column, as I am to share it with each of you.

If I were asked “What is my favorite meal of the day?” without a nano-seconds hesitation I would heartily declare “breakfast.” This response could easily be because oh how I do love the beginning of each new day but also because I love bacon, hot chocolate with whipped cream, toast, ham, eggs poached, scrambled and overeasy, bacon, jams and jellies, pancakes, waffles and bacon!

Actually, as the list of breakfast ‘delights’ grew ever longer I began to realize that there is nary a food I do not like – except anchovies. As perhaps you are gleaning this month’s column was going to extol upon the glories and delights of the day’s first meal when it dawned on me – it’s November and that means it’s almost Thanksgiving.

Now there awaits the meal of all meals of the entire year. No denying that – it’s the “never-ending-best-of-all-delicacies-plus-pies best meal. Thanksgiving brings to each of us, hopefully, memories, gratitudes, traditions, families and friends, times shared, new traditions forged. And how about those smells coming from the kitchen and the oven? Aromas of turkey, posole, ham and papas, pies, fresh bread, tortillas, pies, cakes, and sopa. Ahhh…

What always comes to mind for me is the mouthwatering thoughts of the turkey’s juicy, crispy and bubbling skin. It would have been no hardship for me to be served an entire plate of that skin … with just a ‘side of dark meat, “smashed” potatoes and very few vegetables – very few. Just to make this plate perfect, I would pour on plenty of gravy and make certain the dressing was well “moistened” also.

Perfect, so thankful. Healthy? Not at all, Contented and happy? Oh yah!

I remember my dear dad, Jimbo, Big Jim, as he began to carve and plate “the Bird” … with a wink and a whisper he’d call me over and slip me the juiciest hottest “tear” of that delictable skin. Gross eh – not at all – it was special and I was thankful.

As I share this memory with you my heart and my face are one very full warm and treasured smile.

This is the time of year that we slow down – hopefully – that we take the time to recognize the lives we have, the abundance of these lives of good fortune, families and friends be they near or far. Let us keep uppermost in our hearts and minds that we are thankful for this country we share, the USA, our opportunities, hard won rights and the choices we are free to make.

I can assure you I will be thankful for all of the above and that I will continue the grand tasty and full of happy memories tradition of the skin!

Happy Thanksgiving one and all.

Editor’s note: Peggy Pendergast is a personal chef and caterer. Direct questions about this column to her at