My favorite of the year-end holidays is Thanksgiving. I love the Hallmark-ness of everyone thinking about and giving thanks for the things in our lives. I love that it is the beginning of the runway toward the end of the year. It is still early enough in the holiday season that most people still like their relatives and don’t mind being with them. And I love the food: real cranberry sauce, stuffing, yams, asparagus, and pumpkin pie… I feel full just thinking about all the yummy goodness. I always wanted to cook the big Thanksgiving meal, but always ended up at someone else’s … usually by crook but in the last few years by delight.
However, this year was my Thanksgiving. There were two people who would eat at my house, and we decided to do it small… and non-traditional. Since the first time I saw the film Big Night, I have been mesmerized by the amazing meal served on the film’s Big Night. Specifically the timpano – a baked dish only described by Tony Shalhoub‘s character, Primo, as “all the good things in life”. How tantalizing can a description of a meal be? What an incredible Valentine it seemed to put all the good things in life into one dish and serve it. I have always wanted to make a timpano… and for Thanksgiving 2011, it was to be done!
My partner in crime and I quickly decided to make two – which seemed an obscene amount of food. Which for Thanksgiving also seemed par for the course. We made what would be called a “Traditional Timpano” with pasta, homemade meatballs and sauce, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese. But, being that we were in Austin, Texas… the second would be all the good things in life from Texas. The “Texas Timpano” had roasted poblano peppers, brisket, potatoes au gratin, BBQ sauce, sausage, tamales, pickles, and onions. They were amazing.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with the people you love, cook big, eat big and revel in all the good things in life. In other words, it’s the perfect time for making timpano!