What I Learned This Week: #220

Monday, November 22 – Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Week in Logistics: I love Thanksgiving, but as a list maker, I really love the run up to the big day. Me and my Mom eat at a Friendsgiving made up of a bunch of little families that come together to make one, large family and one large family dinner. I’m not the host, but I have many tasks, some assigned, and some, like fresh sweet potatoes, I do because I like to. But the number of dishes and the serving capacity is a lot more than I’m used to making. I have to really concentrate. I make a list of what food (side dishes) I’m making and (obviously, in my mind) another list of what I need (ingredients) to make the food I’m making. Then I make a list of what I’m bringing, a totally separate list, by the way. What I bring, not make, is serving dishes, an extra frying pan, my good potato masher, etc. And finally, I make a list of when I’m doing the shopping and the making and the loading of the car.

It’s heaven.

The Week in Side Dishes and Losing My Groove: Despite my lists, skipping a year of traditional T-Day threw my off my groove. Like, my pumpkin log was fine, but could have used another minute in the oven to be bit less moist. And the rolls turned out great, but I bought regular instead of instant yeast which added an hour to my very regimented prep time. I forgot to make the topping for the green bean casserole until the last minute. I forgot that I normally load some items in the car on the night before. There was a lot of forgetting and last minute saves.

By the time I left to go to the host house, I was getting back into the swing. And when I stood at the stove making the green been casserole, from scratch, thank you very much, with everyone standing around me, I was back in the Thanksgiving zone.

As expected, I was a little emotional seeing everyone gathered, I did not expect that emotion to hit me as I was loading freshly mashed potatoes into the crockpot. No tears made it into the final product, but it was close!

The Week in Reaching for Balls: For my second Thanksgiving, a late morning Saturday Friendsgiving that, traditionally, does not include any traditional Thanksgiving food, we settled on a meatball, but not Italian meatball, theme. I’m not sure how we got there, but I remember it being hilarious.

Anyway, I cook meatballs a lot. They are easy to make, and for a single person, they are way more efficient than making burgers. (Meaning, I don’t have to buy buns and condiments and meatballs are easier to snack on than burgers.) So, I was all in to cook simple chicken meatballs with dipping sauce, and also some Hoisin pork meatballs.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I walked to Findlay Market. I bought hoisin sauce and panko crumbs, then walked to the place that sells the cheese I needed for the chicken meatballs. They were closed. Also closed, any of the places where I would buy meat. Since I only buy meat from real, local butchers, I sadly realized my plans were falling apart. A logistics fail!

Since I had to work on Saturday morning at 6 am (and had plans Friday night), I’d run out of time to make food for Saturday. I went to Friendsgiving Ball-less, but not empty handed. I did bring a grocery store platter or sushi, which was very welcomed by the two teenage girls in attendance. Something for everyone!

The Week in New Sauce and Balls on my Mind: So yeah, I have meatballs on my mind. I completed my ingredient shopping and my Sunday meal prep will include what would have been Friendsgiving balls.

Just a note, because I had planned to cook hoisin meatballs for friends and not just for myself, I decided to throw away the last third of my last bottle that expired a few months ago. I cannot remember buying the bottle, and the expiration date on my current bottle is three years away. I think I’ve said this before, but whenever I buy fermented sauces at the Asian Store at Findlay I ask the owner how long the product will last. He usually shrugs and says it will last a very long time because “it’s rotten already.” And, believe or not, that’s a sell point.

The Week in Music: On Friday I went to the Southgate House Revival to watch Lionheart play. Lionheart is my friend’s kid, Nick, who I’ve known since he was born. Also on tap was the opening act Anonymous Club, and the headliner Austin Stirling. Lionheart and Anonymous Club are very young acts, with not enough original music for a long set, but they make up for it with great energy and enthusiasm. And, they each brought Thanksgiving weekend fans, i.e.: their parents.

Three things about older people at a show. 1) Southgate House Revival used to be just Southgate House located down the street. Several folks went to the old location. 2) This is crowd that still thinks it’s funny and appropriate to yell out “Freebird” at the band. (It’s not either, you old farts!) 3) They don’t stay out past 11.

Even though many of the folks who I was with for Lionheart really like the 10 pm performer, they were gone by 11. At that point, there were two members from each of the two opening acts, two staff members, and me. I gotta give the guy credit. He and his fiddle player played like the room was full. It was great. I stayed to the end, bought a cd, and was happy to be tired at work the next day.

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