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.
We started preparing for this charcuterie board with a visit to Nala’s Cheese and Wine Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t been there in awhile, and my husband had never come with me. We spent a good ten minutes just staring into the case wondering what to get. One thing that has always been on the cheese board for Thanksgiving since we got together is a wheel of brie. Rather than a wheel, we bought a wedge of triple creme brie made in France. To keep with our desire to eat and shop as local as possible, the last two items we purchased were Wisconsin made: Wildfire Bleu Cheese and a Black Garlic Salami.
These three items together didn’t get us to the $50.00 threshold for Nala’s donation program to Paul’s Pantry, but this exists if you’re looking to both make a charcuterie board of your own and put some good into the community. It’s very likely I’ll be stopping in again to get some goodies to take to my family at Christmas, so that donation will come through eventually.
I’m normally happy with some triscuits, cheese, and meat. I could stop my preparations right here and have a very good cheese board to keep myself satiated while my husband and I play boardgames between my mad dashes to check on my duck and my stuffing. This board is going to be as much the veggie board as the meat and cheese board for us since my husband isn’t much of a raw veggies kind of person, but I am. Carrots, peppers, and dip will be well within reach.
The question is: How hard in the paint do we go when no one is going to be eating this but my husband and I? Is it worth doing homemade crackers? Do I try to make a pepper jam? The answers to all of these questions remain yes. I thrive off the sense of success I feel when a new recipe comes together, when I put out a delicious meal of any kind. Creating a good Thanksgiving for my husband and I amid this pandemic will be the ultimate serotonin delivery service for me when my serotonin reserves are at an all time low.
I did not, however, do any of these things. I put much of my attention into other fun accoutrements for the entire meal. The charcuterie board pictured above kept us satiated throughout the day while we played games and watched weird documentaries between cooking tasks. The local cheese and salami were easily a highlight of the whole day, and will be on the front of my mind for any gatherings we might have in our home when the pandemic is over. This is cheese country, right?
This was the beginning of the day, and one of my favorite parts. My husband, however, heralded my new dressing/stuffing recipe as one of the best he’s ever had. Stay tuned for that one!
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!