Silly me. Thought I had an original idea recently while viewing a cable television show on glass blowing.
The presentation was a contest with participants judged on creativity, technique and realism in their finished products.
During the semifinals, one competitor produced a glass charcuterie board adorned with glass blown-food on display. I focused on the simplicity of loading up a board with snacks, a sure way to skip the traditional hassle of Thanksgiving cooking.
It’s not like any family member will miss or be miffed if I skip the holiday cooking. Long ago, I faced the fact that my family didn’t really care what I planned for special days. Holiday cooking sends me into a panic. I now understand after years of pretending to be mommie, the cook, it’s just not going to work out.
Instead, I will WOW everyone with my new cooking trick — a charcuterie board loaded with all the holiday fixings. … This will be easy.
Boy, was I wrong. Charcuterie cooking and presentation are considered arts, and I was clearly not ready to prepare a work of art out of food.
My online research produced page after page of tips on preparing and presenting charcuterie boards. There’s even a charcuterie Facebook page. Dozens of designs focused on holiday fare. Hmm. I was not the first to think of this.
In one sense, I was lucky. Now, I understand what that long, narrow black board is that mother had hanging on the kitchen wall for decades. It has an attached small cutting knife and an inlaid ceramic plate with a design in the middle. Mother never touched the thing, but I dug it out of the closet and started the meal planning.
First, I purchased a supply of those cute turkey design paper plates, cups and napkins. We want it to be festive, right?
The meal will be cold sliced smoked turkey purchased at the deli; individual mini-servings of sweet potatoes dished up in the smaller paper cups and each topped with one small mini-marshmallow. Cranberry ice like my granny used to make. I know, it’s messy, but it’s a tradition. I’ll scoop the ice into matching turkey paper cups, as well. Of course, we will have a family favorite — cheese grits, baked to toasty brown on the top and served in, you got it, those individual matching paper cups.
A salad of spinach and kale, tossed with sliced almonds and an oil dressing. The salad will be served on matching turkey paper plates. Melba crisp rounds will decorate one end of the charcuterie board and everyone will be served a spicy dip in matching turkey paper cups. Various cheeses will be added and, to top it all off, if the charcuterie board still has some room on it, several slices of buffalo jerky will be strewn atop the board.
For dessert, I’m thinking candy corn served in individual matching turkey cups.
I suppose to make it somewhat fancy, I will use my grandmother’s fancy knives, forks and spoons. No plastic tableware for my family! We won’t sit at the table, so there’s no need for paper turkey decorations.
We’ll stand at the kitchen counter and snack. Bottled water will be available in the cooler in the laundry room.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Andrea Chancellor has more than 20 years in newspaper and magazine journalism and 20 years in public relations.