Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Needless to say, I love the cooking part, especially as my sister-in-law and mother-in-law are also fantastic cooks. Since one is Hungarian and the other Chinese, and I’m Greek, we have some very very interesting family dinners under our belts. But apparently, you don’t mess with Thanksgiving traditions, especially among the converted (i.e. non native-born).
In typical Xan fashion, I was going to single-handedly bring the family into creative holiday meal making, and instead of a turkey, I made pastitio.
The thing about Greek meals is, you can pack a lot of calories into a single dish. I made two huge pans of lovely, fluffy, custard-, meat-, and noodle-filled pastitio, with a Greek salad of tomatoes, parsley and onions dribbled with olive oil, and rice dolmades. Trust me, it was a LOT of food.
A typical Thanksgiving dinner has what– a main dish, turkey, that’s 1. With stuffing, 2. Mashed potatoes for 3. Maybe carrots, and peas. 4 and 5. Cranberry sauce or apple sauce 6.
My thinking was that pastitio covers three of those– meat and two starches. The salad and dolma stood in for the veggies. The only thing missing was a cranberry sauce analog, and no one actually eats the cranberry sauce, am I right?
My mother-in-law was beside her self. “Not enough food,” she kept insisting. “You should have told me, I would have brought something.”
For the next several years, no matter what was on the menu, she never showed up for a family dinner without a pot roast in hand, “just in case.”