A good charcuterie plate is the centerpiece of the pre-meal Thanksgiving table as far as I’m concerned. If there is no wooden board with a variety of cheeses both high quality and low, nestled in with mystery sausages and meats, then it’s a bad sign for the actual meal to come. I want to snack on cheese, meat, and crackers while I’m waiting on the whole shabang to hit the table. Mingling with snacks and drinks before the feast is just as important as the actual food.
This year, there won’t be much mingling at my Thanksgiving, but a good charcuterie board is just as important as ever. My husband and I have made plans to play board games and maybe watch some TV while the more time intense food is cooking in the background. Balancing at the end of our game board absolutely should be a spread of delicious snacks to keep us fueled through the course of the long day.
2020 has thrown us all our fair share of curve balls. As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are forced to make the choice of staying home or trying to find ways to continue family traditions safely. I will never judge anyone who decides to see their families during the holiday, but this is the first time in my entire life that I have stayed at home for the Thanksgiving Holiday. There will be no long drive home for an extended weekend, no packing a to go bag for my cat, or even a three hour dinner in my aunt’s garage ten minutes down the road. No part of any Thanksgiving I have ever had in my life will be present for 2020-- except for my husband. This is going to be a Thanksgiving for Two.
How do you cook Thanksgiving for just two people? The holiday is an ode to gluttony at it’s most basic level. Depending on your household, the beer starts to flow as early in the day as you want-- breakfast is ginormous, snacks are out for the entirety of the day, and then the real meal comes to the table so large you can barely see the turkey decorated tablecloth underneath it. Someone--or multiple someones-- are in the kitchen cooking from sun up to sun down. This year, that someone is me, and I am thrilled for the opportunity.
So, what’s my game plan? Am I ruining it for my husband by composing an entire article based around what I want to do for the greatest eating holiday in the American Pantheon? Naaaah. Let’s do it.
There is a lot to consider during shopping for the feast this year as a result of the suffering placed upon our local small businesses. Relief money has ran out, and they can only survive with our business. I have decided to shop for my Thanksgiving needs from as many local stores as possible, which is sometimes difficult to do when it comes to grocery shopping. Luckily, Green Bay is blessed with a number of small specialty vendors to consider during my planning.
If I didn’t make us a charcuterie board (AKA a cheese board, for the non-bougie readers out there), to snack on over countless board games and movies as the day progressed, I would be a horrible wife. Green Bay is home to Nala’s Cheese and Wine in Bellevue. They are currently donating to a local food pantry for every 50 dollars spent in the store. That sounds worth the splurge to me for some goodies.
Previous visits to our local Asian Markets has shown me that I can rely on them to have meats that I won’t regularly find in our major supermarkets, so I’ll be stopping on the east side of downtown in search of duck or pheasant. If I can find neither, I know that the East Side Festival currently has geese. That may be where I land if my fancy bird search goes poorly.
There is also The Original Austin’s Grocery Store on Webster that may need to be a stop. Their meat counter is 100% manned at all hours, and it’s all good quality. If the bird search can’t even land on a goose, then I may be able to find something there to fill the void in the form of a fancy prime rib roast or something.
Multiple food media outlets have written piece after piece about how ‘this Thanksgiving will be unlike any ever celebrated’, but let’s face it, America has suffered pandemics before. We’ve suffered through a lot as a nation that has directly impacted the way we celebrate this holiday. Share it with the people you care about however you can. You won’t get any judgement from me if you decide to find a way to share it with your family. We all need a little something to get us through things right now: celebrating with family may be that for you.
Stay tuned for more Thanksgiving writing!
Thanksgiving is coming! Several places will be closed, and some of them are cooking up whatever you need to make your day special regardless of how you celebrate. Here are some of the highlights across Green Bay:
Plae Bistro - Thanksgiving Dinner, Order by Monday Nov 23rd
Plae Bistro will be hard at work next week whipping up side dishes for anyone who orders from their Thanksgiving menu prior to Monday, November 23rd. The offerings can be found on their facebook page, and I am personally considering just a giant fuckin plate of their house rolls. It says its serves 8, but in this house… it will serve 2.
Copper State Brewing Co. - Bottle Release
Copper State has released their Sugar Plum Elderberry Tart bottles starting today, which sound like they’d be a perfect match for the Thanksgiving table and the beer lover in your family. Will I pick one up while I’m scouring the town for Thanksgiving goodies? Probably.
Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe - Frozen Soup Sale, and Yummy Pie
Uncle Mike’s Bake Shoppe is selling their frozen soups as buy one get one free until further notice to keep you warm. While you’re there, consider getting a pie for the Thanksgiving table and supporting local bakers if you’re not in the biz of making the pie yourself.
Monzu Bakery and Custom Cakes - Virtual Holiday Market Appearance
Monzu will be making an appearance during the American Club’s virtual Holiday market starting today and running through Sunday. More than 70 local vendors will be represented. You can check out those 70 local vendors at this link.
The Original Austin’s Grocery Store - Open Thanksgiving Day
In the interest of supporting local, we’re highlighting the Thanksgiving hours of local market Austin’s from 8 am to 1 pm Thanksgiving Day. Their meat counter can’t be beat if you wake up Thanksgiving morning and want something other than turkey.
Voyageurs Sourdough - Holiday Menu is Live
Voyageurs has their holiday menu live for preorders on their website. A lot of goodies are sold out for pickup or delivery this wednesday, but you can still source some rolls for the table from a local favorite!
Heartland Pizza Co - Reopened
Heartland Pizza Co has reopened after their cautionary COVID-19 closure. The pizza and homemade ice cream must flow, and flow it does. They’re also doing homemade special ice creams for thanksgiving that need to be ordered TONIGHT if you want them at your table. Details on their facebook page.
Stillmank Beer Company - Wassail Holiday Cider is BACK
Stillmank’s Wassail Holiday Cider is back on the menu at their brewery. They have more releases coming for Black Friday next week. We’ll keep you up to date, as their one of our favorites in town.
Toward the end of October, Zambaldi Beer announced their new feature, a community supported brewery box meant to mirror the CSA boxes that have been so popular from local farmers this year. These boxes are to include merchandise, beer, and foodie goodies made by one of the owners that will be made with beer from the brewery. I pre-ordered my November box almost the moment I saw the announcement on Facebook, and I waited for it eagerly until the beautiful weekend of November 7th.
We stopped in, and just by calling the phone number that they email to you when the boxes are ready, the staff can run the box out to your car if you prefer to do pick up. You can also go in and get it yourself, but the crowd there that lovely evening was a bit much to sit and wait through. The box got to us before I could even get my phone put back in my purse, and we took it home straight away. Below is a picture of what we found when we got it home, and after the read break-- our review.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!