There is an unavoidable tension between the desire to manipulate a carrot into uniform, rectangular shapes (including every culinary knife cut in the parallelepiped family, from the batonnet soldier awaiting its Ranch dressing destiny to the microscopically perfect brunoise at the bottom of a bowl of consomme), and the desire to keep one's digits unbloodied and persistently attached to one's hand without surgical assistance.
With less than 36-hours until the feast hits the table, I'm sure we all have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it, so today's is a post with a purpose: Fast, easy, small little things you can do to elevate some of your Thanksgiving Day standards - mashed potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, stuffing - from the delicious but possibly tired to a more lively yet still traditional level.
As usual, my keyboard is running several days back of my knife and fork, but at least you know where my priorities lie: Worry first about the cooking and the eating. Having spent two months watching the Giants' thrillingly improbable championship run like a little boy in the bleachers, here is what I served when the Giants brought home the Commissioner's Trophy on Halloween, a plate of black and orange food that didn't require an above-ground nuclear weapon test in order to occur in nature, and still tasted good.
Respect for ingredients. Appreciation of taste. Legalized child labor. I can think of any number of reasons to engage your kids in the kitchen, but chief amongst them must surely be the joy of creating the food itself, of working side by side with your littles, of watching small hands learn to cut, whisk, and measure.