Happy Black Friday!

If you are American, you obviously know that yesterday was Thanksgiving. Its the holiday full of turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and awkward family engagements. Its where we force people around us and food in our bellies. If I’m sounding cynical, sorry. Its habit for me to question the line between traditions and social slavery.

Really though, Thanksgiving can be great. I loved being able to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents on a chilly November afternoon every year. We ate a lot, played cards, and talked about what was going on in our lives. It was fun.

Thanksgiving with the Cooks & Chungs

This year, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my girlfriend’s family because I couldn’t fly to Nevada or Sacramento. I liked this year’s Thanksgiving, though it was a bit different. First off, because Kristina’s aunt cooked the dinner so early, we basically showed up and ate. No waiting: Hurray! Plus, because it was more of a Thanksgiving lunch, we were able to go to Kristina’s other side of the family to have an actual Thanksgiving dinner. What does that mean? Extra food!

Kristina’s Auntie Jane made some delicious food. No doubt about it. Nevertheless, the deep fried turkey that her Auntie Kathy and Uncle Ronnie made was perfection in a bird. They also had Chinese food served, which fulfilled my appetite’s preferences. I actually want to make a family tradition when I have my own family to replace all the boring Thanksgiving food with Chinese or Mexican food. Mmmm.

Shelby Cookin’

Directions on how to make Thanksgiving treat

Probably the highlight of this year though was that I actually cooked this year. Alright, so I did cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for my dad and sister one year but that’s a little different. You see, when I went to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving, or any household for that matter, I never brought anything. Either my mom did it or its just not what you did.

Its always funny to me that in Kristina’s family, you bring something to everything. You bring salad to a picnic, cookies to a sleepover, yams to dinner, and so on and so on. I’m pretty sure that’s super common in Asian families and maybe most families in general; however, in my family we just didn’t do that too much at all. Maybe its because my mom’s not the best cook. She’s definitely getting better. When I left for college she started cooking like crazy. Maybe its because we’re white. A lot of white families I know don’t bring food to festivities; however, I also know plenty who do. Maybe its just my family.

No matter what the reason for me never bringing anything to a party, this year, my first year on my own, I did. First, at work, I made simple cornbread for our Thanksgiving celebration. The cornbread wasn’t anything special, though I was told it was the best cornbread someone had ever tasted! :) Then yesterday I made something special for Kristina’s family.

I got a recipe from the Food Network (how awesome is it that they have video instructions for their recipes) for these mozzarella and fig thingies. They sounded delicious and not too complicated to make.

When I got to Ralphs though, I could not find any of the ingredients. The mozzarella was in the Italian cheese section but it was all white cheese. The video showed an orange cheese. What’s up with that? Then where do you find figs? Not the fruit area. How about black sesame seeds? Not the spice area. And how about phyllo dough? Heck, what the crap is phyllo dough? Well, white mozzarella tastes just fine, figs are in the dry fruit section next to the cereals, black sesame seeds are in the Oriental section, and the Ralphs on Western does not carry phyllo dough, nor do they know what it is. Instead, I just used Pillsbury Crescent rolls. I guess phyllo dough is this light, flaky Greek stuff that tastes really good. I bet it would have been better than the crescents (its fried rather than stupid baked), but you have to deal with what you got.

When I got home, I figured out how I wanted to tweak the recipe for all my substitutions. The recipe, I hope you realized, is to the right. It was a lot of fun to make the treats, though I could only bake 4 at a time because I had to use my toaster oven instead of my real oven. My real oven currently doesn’t light. :( Either way, I made enough and on time. I even got a bunch of compliments. I did get one complaint that they were kind of sticky, but that’s only because they were drizzled with honey, which I think makes them better.

If nothing else, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and don’t get hurt out there on Black Friday. Happy Holidays!

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