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Culinary Adventures: Thanksgiving with the chefs

"Our Thanksgiving menu highlights childhood favorites, such as sweet potato fluff with marshmallows, and creamed onions.” -- Amy Hagerty of the Housie Market

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and you’re in one of two situations. Either you’re a guest at someone’s dinner table so you’re making a side dish or dessert to bring, or you’re the host so you’re scrambling to juggle all the tasks involved in cooking, cleaning, setting the table, and maybe even sampling the wine just to make sure it’s OK. If either of these descriptions fit, you’re just like the chefs we’ve introduced to you this autumn.

Nick and Birdie Joseph of the Bistro Box
Nick and Birdie Joseph of the Bistro Box

Nick and Birdie Joseph, owners of The Bistro Box, closed until next spring, will be enjoying a potluck dinner with their families, and then on Saturday night they will be catering a late-afternoon mini-cocktail party at the Bidwell House in Monterey. The Josephs will be supplying the soup, and the fish and meat courses.

Scott Cole, owner of the Monterey General Store
Scott Cole, owner of the Monterey General Store

Scott Cole, proprietor of the Monterey General Store, has been taking special orders for pies, baked goods and side dishes for his customer’s Thanksgiving dinners. Today’s the day that he will be baking and distributing dozens and dozens of pumpkin, apple, pecan, cranberry, hazelnut, and raisin tarts and pies before closing until Friday. Cole reports that, as usual, he will spend Thanksgiving at his mother’s home in Albany, N.Y. “I’m the garde manger in her kitchen.” Then he’ll return to Monterey to oversee the holiday weekend crowds.

Amy Hagerty, at the counter of her Housie Market.
Amy Hagerty, at the counter of her Housie Market.

The Housie Market will be closed on Thanksgiving, but as a tribute to this all-American holiday, owner Amy Hagerty will be adding cranberry sauce to the market’s turkey sandwich for a few days. At home, Hagerty will be smoking a turkey in her back yard in preparation for the large potluck she’s hosting for friends. “Our menu highlights childhood favorites, such as sweet potato fluff with marshmallows, and creamed onions.” Oh, those memories!

 

Matt Ruiner of Rubiner's Cheese Shop plans to spend Thanksgiving at The Dreamaway Lodge in Becket.
Matt Rubiner of Rubiner’s Cheese Shop plans to spend Thanksgiving at The Dreamaway Lodge in Becket.

Matt Rubiner, owner of the cheese store that bears his name, is preparing a number of cheese platters for customers, but he sees Thanksgiving more as a gateway to the December holidays. “I’ll spend the day putting out Christmas biscotti,” he says. He, his wife, and his mother-in-law will be dining at Daniel Osman’s legendary Dreamaway Lodge in Becket, which hosts a big Thanksgiving buffet.

Flavio Lichtenthal, overseeing the roasting of coffee at No. Six Depot.
Flavio Lichtenthal, overseeing the roasting of coffee at No. Six Depot.

Add No. Six Depot in West Stockbridge to the list of “closed for the holiday” shops. Flavio Lichtenthal and his family have their Thanksgiving dinner at home. “Our kids love the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce — all that stuff.”

Given the “closed for the holiday” signs that you’ll see most places, it’s nice to know that you can dine out in style if you please. Peter Platt and his crew at The Old Inn on the Green will be serving a prix fixe dinner for $75 each from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The meal begins with an amuse bouche, followed by canapés, soup, salad, turkey and traditional sides, and ends with desserts. (Notice the plural.) Platt and his staff don’t celebrate their holiday until about 11 p.m. when the guests are finished and the dining room is quiet.

As for me, I’m hosting my son and his family from New York, my son’s in-laws and other assorted relatives from Boston. I’m wondering where everyone will sit, and trying to figure out how many times I’ll have to run the dishwasher. But I know that the crowd will be boisterous and cheerful and grateful that once again we can have as many desserts as we want without having to explain. Happy Thanksgiving!

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