Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WE’RE STILL SAVORING leftovers from our Thanksgiving Day feast, admittedly practiced this year in our bubble. Back in the old days, Wife Dottie and I have hosted as many as 24. What with sheltering-in and all, it was just the two of us being thankful for a great many things, even in our solitude. 

Our Thanksgiving Dinner 2020

We enjoyed our dinner while watching The Wizard of Oz on the telly. For the curious, here’s a brief description of this mini-feast.

Mashed Potatoes. Wife Dottie’s family worships the potato, and I readily converted to this faith. There’s a post-World War II family tale when her older brothers returned from the service, one having been stationed in Iceland as a communications specialist. Wife Dottie recalls how eagerly Willard added extra butter to his mashed potatoes before pouring on the gravy. We continue to follow this family practice.

Stuffing. Even sans roast turkey, stuffing is part of our Thanksgiving dinner. I start with a packaged stuffing mix, then jazz it up with celery, carrots, and peas. Knorr chicken-cube broth replaces the stuffing recipe’s added water. 

Butter is optional beneath the stuffing’s gravy.

Gravy. In times of old, gravy involved a two-version process, one with, the other without what are euphemistically called “turkey parts.” I much prefer my gravy partless.

In more recent times, Heinz Homestyle Roasted Turkey Gravy is fine, thanks. I must remember to buy more than one jar of it.

Cornbread. Marie Callender provides the cornbread mix for our family. I enhance it with a couple cans of Ortega Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles, the Mild variety out of deference to Wife Dottie’s tastebuds, which are much more sophisticated than mine.

Marie is legendary here in southern California for her pies. Though the tins are returnable for credit, I keep them for recipes from Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin Around the World: Global One Dish Dinners.

Cranberry Sauce. The purple mound in the center of the plate is canned cranberry sauce. I prefer the kind with whole berries.

This sauce is in lieu of a family tradition for what’s called Cranberry Fiasco. The name derives from its preparation involving freezer time—and our invariably forgetting to defrost it properly for dinner. We simply got used to ice-tinged Cranberry Fiasco.

Asparagus Rollups. We are essentially vegetarian/pescatarians; Wife Dottie more so than me; me except for sausage and the occasional Bacon Butty. In any event, our Asparagus Rollups consist of briefly simmered spears, trios of them wrapped in thinly sliced Cajun Turkey (from our Von’s supermarket deli), topped with Mexican Style Cheese Blend, and popped into the oven.

One year, in lieu of roast turkey, we had Pork Wings (individual pork ribs slathered in Habanero sauce). Alas, in these troubled times, Von’s has yet to offer these delicacies among its Driveup & Go selections. 

We hope you too had a good Thanksgiving Dinner, enjoyed its leftovers, and still savor its reasons to be especially thankful this year. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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