into the black

I ate a cold slice of apple pie while standing in front of the refrigerator this morning.  I felt like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, in my robe, leaning against the fridge, tired but hungry.  I dug through containers, deciding.  Ultimately, I piled up another plate, bigger even than last night’s.   Ribbons of giblet gravy.  Creamed spinach.  Cubes of acorn squash.  Truffled Mac ‘n’ Cheese.  Now I’m full again.  It was one of those magazine dinners, where you examine the menu thinking, who needs eight side dishes?  I have too many leftovers and need to do the whole thing again, this time in Turkey Shepherd’s Pie format.  But I’m too tired to do it again.  Thankfully Philip took some photos >>

I got a taste for what motherhood is like with a three and four year old running around.  There was twirling upstairs.  Toy Story.  “Playing nicely together” with trains.  Harper, the adorable little girl, was excited there’d be someone her own age.  “When is the boy coming?” she kept asking.  And I rubbed my belly and thought, not until January or February.  Not that I know if there’s a boy in there or not.  Her mother, Wendy, is pregnant too, due in a month.  We’re about the same size.  There’s a photo of our bellies kissing.  Wendy is having another girl.
“You never know, one of my boys in here can end up marrying your girl.”
“Or they could have a menage,” Wendy said.  Then she thought about what she said and covered her mouth in mock-shock apology.
“For now, let’s leave incest out of things.”  We’re not even drunk.  We both have pregnant brain, which means we go slightly stupid and blame it on our pregnancies.

There’s no excuse though for the slightly stupid who shop today.  Lea is here and wants to.  I need to stay home and write MOOSE.  I also don’t understand what the draw is to shopping on Black Friday.  You burn calories, certainly.  But there will be other sales; there always are.  There’s online shopping.  Walking into a store on Black Friday is like running with the bulls in Pamplona.  I’m all about the movie theater.  Movie hopping is what Black Friday is for.  Forget about getting stores back into the black.  Get yourself into a black movie theater, then emerge when it’s still dark out for more leftovers.  I feel slothful, and I’m okay with that.

Stephanie & Philip’s First Homemade Thanksgiving

spiced pumpkin soup with acorn squash

deep fried organic turkey
porcini mushroom gravy & turkey giblet gravy
fruit-laced cranberry sauce
bourbon candied sweet potatoes
horseradish-sour cream whipped potatoes with chives
traditonal mashed potatoes
truffle-baked macaroni & cheese
gruyere and aged cheddar macaroni & cheese
creamed spinach gratin
parsnip pear puree
pureed maple carrots
steamed green beans
grilled herbed brussel sprouts
sausage, apple, and sage cornbread stuffing with pine nuts and golden raisins
wild rice cranberry pecan stuffing
gina’s pumpkin bread
gina’s cucumber salad

deep dish pecan pie
jen’s baked apple pie
pumpkin dessert bars



  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Glad to hear you had a wonderful feast. Left overs are great. A big lunch, a movie and maybe a nice walk, that would be a nice day off.
    Take care,

  2. It's fun to see the pics paying off all the planning that went into it! It's a gorgeous day in Austin – go for a walk. :)

  3. I'm glad to hear you had a woderful time, I too don't go shopping on black friday being 5 ft tall and all I don't feel like being pushed around by cranky tired folks. I'm just gonna do what I do best…eat and enjoy the rest of my day.

  4. Delightful! Glad the day went well. I'm totally with you when it comes to shopping today – I did it a few years ago, and as I was standing in the check-out line, I felt every ounce of holiday spirit leak out of me and form a sticky puddle that I couldn't escape from. That started a hatred of all things holiday that only now, all these years later, I'm recovering from.

    Now to the movies!

  5. (Having all those dishes, as delicious as some sound, on the table would drive me nuts. I am all about the sideboard.)

    Those pictures… the overwhelming sense I get is exhaustion. On all of your faces, not just yours. Not so much A Celebration as An Obligation.

    Maybe it's the lack of flowers. Maybe it's the cool color tones in everything save the food. I'm not sure what it is, but you just look beat. Lovely, but beat.

    May I suggest you scale back for Christmukkah?

  6. I had the same breakfast. And almost followed in Lea's footsteps. I was so ready for those early bird specials…until this morning.

    I found my plasma online.

    Now I'm going back to bed.

  7. I'm so glad you posted pictures! I agree with Sallie's comment, "not so much A Celebration but An Obligation." I was obligated to try it all last night and I'm obligated to eat the leftovers and it is all So. Damn. Good. If I buy anything today it will be some truffle oil for my next batch of mac'n'cheese… some OJ concentrate for my next sweet potato dish… but I'm getting tired thinking of all of that. It was a wonderful holiday – thank you.

  8. Looked gorgeous and yummy, Stephanie! Congratulations on your first at home Thanksgiving with your new husband, and babies on the way. So much for you to be thankful for! Hope you had a wonderful time.


  9. there is no "black friday" here in canada, thank goodness … i hate the mall on a quiet day in may, much less the insanity that today and boxing day seem to inspire! however, one of my coworkers in in new york state at the moment to enjoy the craziness!

    your dinner looks gorgeous, but could feed my family until christmas! i hope that you sent lots of doggy bags home with your friends … and have just enough leftovers to enjoy before you start planning your next big dinner!

    by the way … your belly looks beautiful. :)

  10. Here's a great reason why you had a beautiful and hip (under 70 years old only) Thanksgiving, and not to say we don't love our older relatives, but, they can be so, well, not thinking sometimes (or at least mine can be…this is sooo funny, Stephanie! Thanks for the great writings, always, I give thanks to that!)

    Dear Aunt Fugly,

    I'm at a loss. I hosted Thanksgiving for my in-laws, and when we asked if they wanted any leftovers to take home, my mother-in-law said yes… and then took everything. The turkey carcass, the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, even the leftover pies. She packed it all up in shopping bags and sailed out the door promising to bring the dishes back washed. I was shocked! We cooked the meal, paid for everything, and then didn't get to have any of it the next day. Worse, my husband doesn't understand why I'm so annoyed and thinks I'm overreacting and being selfish. And that's why he really wasn't impressed when he had to come bail me out because I TP'd my mother-in-law's front lawn that night and got booked by the Beverly Hills PD. But seriously… she deserved it, right? What should I do? Who's right?


    My Turkey Done Left Me

    Yo, Turkey,

    Sounds like you GOT PLAYED, Playa. Some people might call your mother-in-law a freeloader, but I call her a hero. Is she single? Tell that bitch to hit me up: 1-800-FOR-KFED. I will be all over her popozao.

    But tell your husband to shut his damn mouth: chicks with records are hot, and you sound feisty. Maybe you and your mother-in-law and me can all get together sometime, if you know what I mean. You know, just the three of us and some PBR, chilling at my studio in Van Nuys. The dude next door has a hot tub. We can totally hop the fence. It'll be SWEET. Blow up my cellie, girl! Holla!

    –Just thought this was funny thinking about you indulging in your leftovers!

    All the best,


  11. Happy Thanksgiving! What a feast you served up. Looks delicious! And I'm with you 100% — I'll never understand the Black Friday shoppers. Why add such undue stress to your life?!?

  12. You outdid yourself! You make my TG dinners look sparse by comparison.

    But do yourself a favor. Get invited to someone elses house for the next big holiday meal. You deserve it!

  13. By Moose do you mean your next book?
    And which one is Leah? I want to see what she looks like. I still am crossing my fingers for that one super-long, super-touching entry about you and your sister. (not to mention wedding photos?)
    the husband of one of the ladies there- is a hottie!

  14. i usually enjoy reading your blog, and although i know most of it discusses your personal life…it is obviously available to the public for a reason, and so with that in mind..

    why is your writing getting SO pretensious? if this is truly how you are, then yuck.

    come on, cook a turkey make some mashed potatoes and corn, have some friends bring a salad etc…i highly doubt anyone is that impressed by your ridiculous concoctions.

  15. It looks great. What a spread. There must have been a lot of preparation work go into that. I don't understand the 'everyone looks miserable' comment because there are many pictures of people smiling and even Phil is acting the fool – weird! The dining room looks lovely too.

  16. I agree that this (and other posts, esp the sheet ironing one!) read as pretentious. But…Who cares???? Being the day after Thanksgiving for a VERY pregnant woman with twins who still sits down to post an entry and pictures because she knows that her people want to know (clearly) how her holiday went–you deserve more than just a pass. Besides, I have to ask myself: if I find your writing to be not-so-substantive, than isn't it "shame on me" for continuing to read? Regardless of the content, I admire that you continue to write (and well). That is truly an accomplishment. Have you ever taken a break? Do you worry about running out of things to say in a public forum? Maybe that's why we get the lsit of your 8 side dishes and every last detail of your guest bedroom. I wonder if it's not the inherent nature of a blog that makes some of these posts dissatisfying? Or is that just stating the obvious? At any rate, I have enjoyed some of your recent posts and do not mean to only cast light on what I see as lacking, because that would not be the whole picture. Thank you, Stephanie.

  17. Hello – I just wrote a comment which was not shown even though there were no trollish comments in it. Why is that?

  18. Looks lovely! Glad you were able to enjoy your first thanksgiving in Austin. The food looks fabulous and you have so much to be thankful for! ;-)

  19. My husband just left to take the kids out for dinner so I could have time alone to shower and get ready to go out tonight. Honestly, after seeing pix of the amazing food you served, I'd be happier staying home, eating leftovers and just getting in bed and watching a movie. Your table looks like it's out of a magazine. Hope everyone enjoyed and that you rested afterwards. You must've needed it.

  20. wow! it looks soo good. how did you cook for so many?? i got tired cooking for 2! to previous posters, where is the pretention in this entry? she should be proud of all her hard work and is wanting to document every detail of her first thanksgiving with her husband.

  21. Hey Stephanie!
    First off, congratulations! I am not a faithful reader but just click on you every once in a very blue moon…and you're pregnant (with twins!) and married!, so many many congrats!!!
    Secondly, your feast looked wonderful. Will you or can you share any of your recipes, especially for the truffle-baked and the 2 cheese mac-and-cheeses? Yum! I'm all for non-traditional fare.
    I can't wait to read your book. Yay!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Stephanie, great dinner pic! I’m kinda miffed that the bottle of wine is on your table that is turned around. I’d love to know what it was, always looking for good wine. As for one of the comments that called your post pretentious, how can that be pretentious, it was a report on what you did on Thanksgiving! Perhaps he/she is confusing a post that is written well, with pretentious. Keep it up, and I’m glad to see a popular blog actually about the person and not trying to dissect TV or celebrities or make pop culture generalizations!


  23. I laughed when I saw the photo of Phil frying a turkey and thought – welcome to Texas.

    – Jersey to HOuston

  24. i just read the comment from "a reader" and ya know what… we say back north – f'it, can't please everyone

    kudos to your first thanksgiving together ….and leftovers

  25. I'm still trying to figure out what is pretentious about macaroni & cheese! While your menu was abundant to say the least…….& isn't Thanksgiving all about the abundance of the harvest……it's far from pretentious, just a bit over the top in terms of the number of dishes. But each to his/her own. You have that many more leftovers to enjoy. Aren't you exhausted though?

  26. I was utterly exhausted. My brain kept insisting I was fine and enjoying myself, but my body was wiped out. I couldn't take photos, couldn't really smile, even. I collapsed on the sofa after dinner and watched Ugly Betty. The look on my face, in that photo, shows it all. I was too exhausted to do anything about the frizz, about anything. But I am glad we did it. It was way too much food. Next year will be much more intimate (with far fewer sides!). However, the one thing I surprisingly LOVED: parsnip pear puree! It is by far my new favorite thing.

  27. What? Good gourmet food is not about being pretentious– but you know that. Instead of bothering you for a recipe I've got to ask for info on the light greenish paint color I see in the background. We're moving to a new house and I think that will look wonderful in the living area.

  28. Stephanie,
    We had a wonderful time! I am still thinking about the sweet potatoes, so tasty! And wished I had a third helping of the creamed spinach. Thank you for the invite, we were so blessed to have spent Thanksgiving at your lovely home, with such a great group.

  29. I guess I've never had or been to a Thanksgiving that didn't have that much food. The leftovers are the best. Heck, besides all the baked eclairs, bars, mini-cheesecakes my sis in law makes for dessert, we had 8 pies and a Birthday cake to boot! It's always a lot of work but everyone helps.

  30. ok everybody, i obviously read the blog because i like stephanie's writing, she is talented and brave for being so forward about personal things


    i am allowed to form an opinion & post it in the COMMENTS section.

    you people are strangely aggressive and protective of a person who you don't even know.

    some of you truly need to step away from your computers and live a more satisfying life in the real world- not vicariously through a blogger.

    ps mac&cheese—velveeta is unpretentious.

  31. Looks yummy! I am pretty sure that was Lea in those pics, she is gorgeous!!! Boy your parents sure did a great job!
    Is she taking Linus home yet? Just curious, with the twins and all!
    Glad you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

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