Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trying too hard?

I am being deluged with e-mails from Culinary Capers, the catering company responsible for last year's horrendous Thanksgiving Dinner. I assume this means that they're still underwhelmed with bookings with only a couple of days to go. Hardly surprising after last year's fiasco.

I have to say, though, their menu does sound rather nice.

Roasted Beet and Tangerine Salad
With Honey, Spices and Currants


Wild Greens with Merlot Poached Pears, Caramelized Hazelnuts
With Maple Apple Cider Dressing


Oven Roasted Grain-fed Turkey

Rich Turkey Gravy
House-made Spiced Cranberry Chutney
Celery, Apple and Onion Stuffing
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Medley of Roasted Root Vegetables with Maple Butter and Fresh Thyme


Citrus Pumpkin Tart

Delicate pastry filled with a citrus scented pumpkin finished with
Grand Marnier cream and pumpkin seed brittle

Well, nice in theory.

I think, though, this is probably getting a bit over-elaborate for a traditional holiday feed like this: simplicity and quantity are what we want on this occasion - not chevre and cranberry compote and pumpkin seed brittle. Fancy-dan complicated stuff like that is just going to slow down the service out of the kitchen, which is not what you want when there are a few dozen ravening diners impatiently waiting for their holiday meal.

Caramelized hazelnuts (last year, we had one or two each, and they were inedibly hard) do not make a salad sophisticated, I'm afraid. They just make it irritating.

And last year, the medley of roasted root vegetables consisted of one piece of yam and one piece of carrot. Very small pieces, at that.

Wild horses couldn't drag me back there again.

Fortunately, my estimable 'social secretary' has arranged a much more promising venue for us this year. Of course, with a huge holiday like this, there is always the potential for things to go horribly wrong with the food or the service or both - but I am practising comparative optimism: however f***ed up things might get tomorrow, it can't possibly be as bad as last year!

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