I’m jut going to put this out there: I started Friendsgiving.
I mean, I think I did – this year will be my 10th annual consecutively hosted event! I started in college (Friendsgiving 2005), and as I’ve moved from Lancaster, to DC, to Philly, to Gettysburg, back to DC…I haven’t missed a single one. It seems to me that the phenomenon started getting really popular 3-5 years ago (the first Urban dictionary listing of the word appears in 2009), so if you know of anyone else who predates 2005, I want to hear about it!
Mine is always held the weekend before the real Thanksgiving, which is strategic: everyone is pretty much chomping (pun intended) at the bit for the holidays, are still in town, and no one is yet sick of turkey. Or turkey sandwiches. Or turkey casserole. Or turkey curry. Or turkey mousse (it’s a thing). At the first one, in my row house next to the F&M campus, there were about 15 guests, and our oven stopped working halfway through cooking the turkey. I had to call my friend EJ to come pick it up, take it to his house, finish roasting, and bring it back…he was dubious that he could make the quintessential Thanksgiving dish, and worried he would mess it up, but the secret is this: the turkey is the easiest, yet most impressive, part of the meal. (To be fair, I “cheat” and use a roasting bag…but those suckers WORK. Get some.) Every year, it’s just a great gathering of awesome people who I love and am so thankful for, and the perfect start to my holiday season.
Over the years, it’s grown – last year’s event had 45+ guests, and now it’s a potluck, which makes having enough food for that many possible. Today we had around 40 guests, over 15 dishes, and plenty of wine. The company changes, the food trends shift, but I always end the day with a full stomach and heart.
Cauliflower, the new kale:
I was excited to experiment with an alternative gravy this year. Knowing there would be some vegetarians, I wanted to have an option for them even though my usual go-to is to make a quick gravy with the turkey drippings (which I also still did, it’s too good not to). I was gifted a beautiful cauliflower by Gracy of Beautiful Life Self Care and decided this was the perfect use for it. (By the way, she’s amazing, and leads groups to balance and wellness online; if your life feels out of control you should check her out!) Silky, rich, and fortified with olive oil (gravy’s gotta have some fat!), you will swear this is as good as the real thing. And if you can boil water, you can make it.
It fits perfectly with the RecipeRedux theme this month: a food memory I’m thankful for, healthified. My family’s Thanksgiving meal always includes homemade turkey gravy, with neck meat and giblets. If you don’t pour it on everything, you’re doing it wrong, scrape the plate, lick the spoon, really great gravy. This cauliflower version is delish and has the benefit of containing a vegetable! Click the blue frog below to see the other Redux member’s recipes :)
Cauliflower herb gravy
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into small florets
- 3 c vegetable broth (low sodium, or don’t add the salt)
- 1 Tbsp tahini (I like Soom)
- 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1 tsp Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning (or some garlic and onion powder)
- 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning (or a blend of oregano, rosemary, and sage)
- 1/2 tsp salt
In a medium pot on the stovetop, bring broth and cauliflower to a simmer. Cook with lid on until soft to a fork, ~10 minutes. Pour cauliflower and broth into a blender and add all other ingredients. Puree until smooth (I let mine run for ~3 minutes; be careful, it’s hot – hold a tea towel on top of the blender or allow to cool for a few minutes). Makes 5 cups.