My favorite holiday

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, even if I never get any presents.  So simple: fantastic food, the company of family and friends, and the enforced focus on all those things for which you can be thankful, always a much longer list than you could have imagined when you first started.  We should do it more often, but Thanksgiving is a good start.  Thank God and George Washington, and thank God for our blessings.

I hope you all had a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving.  I’d have invited you all over, but if a number anywhere near the readers WordPress says I have had showed up, I’d actually be over Governor Gretchen’s limit.  We invited my Vicksburg High ’70 classmate, retired Alaskan bush pilot Tim, who’s come into the ‘burg from his home in Healy, near Denali National Park, to escape the early winter for a while and also to look after his dad’s property.  But Tim chose to stay home, so it was just the two of us.  We ate well, as you can see by the menu below, tho’ it wasn’t Turkey Day for us.  After an afternoon of chopping, jockeying for oven space, and drinking (of course) (plenty of time to watch our Lions lose, another TG tradition), our target of a 4 P.M. dinner slid to about 7:30.  Fortunately, Kathy didn’t complain.  After all, she was helping in the preparation.

Here’s how it went:    


Pumpkin seeds roasted in garlic olive oil


Golden Harvest Squash Soup (“explodey soup”)*

Main course

Steam-roasted duck

            (raised on EMMA Acres Farm, Ann Arbor)**


Roasted Harvest Vegetables in a Baked Pumpkin

            carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips

Ragout of Pearl Onions and Brussels Sprouts

Stinking Rose Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  Featuring purple potatoes from Kathy’s garden, grown from seed potatoes from EMMA .  If you want to know how to make this for a crowd, check out

sourdough bread and sausage stuffing

Bob’s cranberry sauce


Mini Apple Pies w/ice cream or whipped cream

Roos Roast Finca El Jutal (Western Honduras) coffee



sparkling water (thanks to SodaStream)


Chateau Canadel.  Bandol, 2015 (Le Plan du Castellet, France)

La Temenda.  Monastrell, 2017.  Alicante (Spain)

Juan Gill.  Jumilla, Monastrell, 2018. (Spain)

And plenty of Pinots in the cellar if we need them


Cabernet franc Icewine, Jackson-Triggs (Niagara Falls, Ontario)

Beer: Founder’s Harvest Ale, Founder’s Moon Rambler IPA


Tomatin, Highland Single Malt (12, 15, 18 years old)

Traverse City Whiskey Co. – Straight Bourbon

Here’s what it looked like before we messed it all up by devouring everything:

As I write this, we’ve put away everything, either into our guts or into the refrigerators.   What’s left of the bird went into the big pot for tomorrow’s project: making duck soup!  I don’t know if it’ll make enough after feeding us for Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo, but if they were still alive, I’d find a way.


* Golden Harvest Squash soup has been know as “explodey soup” in my family ever since the Thanksgiving many years ago when I first made it.  It was to be the first course for our feast and the last item to come out of the kitchen.  I had made it to the last step, where everything gets pureed in a blender.  The action was going too slow for my likes, and I decided to help things along with a rubber spatula.  The blades of the blender caught that spatula and exploded the contents all over my face, chest, and the kitchen ceiling.  There was about a thimbleful for each left, which they devoured eagerly between sniggers and pronounced delicious.  It was.  I’ve made it many times since, with a food processor.

** EMMA Acres is a small farm west of town owned and operated by Mark Skowronski and Michelle Kahlenberg.  Michelle was a colleague of mine. Before she was an ace rheumatologist and superstar researcher (, she was an Ohio farm girl.  Mark also grew up on a farm.  When they moved to Ann Arbor, they decided to pursue their dream of returning to the soil.  Mark is the full time farmer, but Michelle gets her hands dirty plenty.  These two nice articles describe their situation in detail, the latter written by a patient of Michelle’s.  This poster of them hangs in Biercamp, which sells a lot of their meats:

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “My favorite holiday

  1. An extraordinary meal!! A great smile from Bob, and a menu that never stops, especially the potables!Thanks for some good menu ideas for the future, for sharing your joy of cooking, and for reminding us that we like roast duck!Maybe next year…Glad you had an A-1 holiday even if there were no gifts.Best to You Both, Mrs. & CaptainSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


  2. E-mail me if you would like any of the recipes. Cooking a duck is a lot fussier than cooking a turkey, at least the way Julia Child told me to do it. We only drank one of the bottles of wine. We might have had a few nips of other stuff in the kitchen.


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