Thanksgiving: Charcuterie for Two
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.
Thanksgiving for Two: Preparations
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!
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!