A Chef’s Thanksgiving: Full Hearts, Full Bellies.

What does Thanksgiving Day look like for the family of Chef Ouita? Find out here, as reported by her daughter!


Willa Michel

Willa and her mother, Ouita pose for a quick selfie while making up some flaky, buttery, pie dough!

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  • Two beautiful pumpkin pies: we made these the night before! Everything in these puppies is homemade, from the filling to the crust.

  • My Papa’s famous deviled eggs: eggs provided by local Kentucky farmers, paprika sprinkle provided by my gentle touch.

  • My mom turns the stuffing with her gloved hand. Our stuffing goes in the bird, plus some outside the bird. It includes some stale, cubed sourdough and white breads, cubed apples and Asian pear, various herbs and spices, sauteed onions and celery, and some homemade chicken stock.

  • The first angle of our first turkey: we made two 17-pounders this year!

  • The second angle of our beautiful behemoth of a turkey. This bird had sage butter underneath the skin, was stuffed full of fresh stuffing, and was basted with spiced butter throughout its 4 hour bout in the oven.

  • Appetizers galore! Here is my dad’s “famous” chicken liver pate- I do not eat it, but the rest of my family loves it! It’s usually enjoyed on a selection of crackers from our local Kroger.

  • The sad, sad remnants of our sour cream and french onion dip. This sure was a crowd favorite this year, so much so that I couldn’t get a good picture before it was all gobbled up!

  • A quick view of our drink station: pictured here is my Aunt Paige’s spiced non-alcoholic sangria! It was my favorite drink on the table by far!

  • By the beginning of our dinner at 6PM, I was so hungry and ready to eat I forgot to take pictures of our table before it was ransacked by my large family. Sorry! Instead, take a look at the number we did on our Thanksgiving feast; no dish left untouched (except for that second turkey, which was for leftovers only)!

  • Here’s the aftermath of my plate. I wish I had gotten a picture before, but I really dug in straight away. My meal included some stuffed mushrooms, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, creamy spinach casserole, a roll, stuffing (both in and out of the turkey), three types of cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, and, of course, the main dish, a heaping pile of light and dark meat turkey.

  • Here’s the dessert table! We had three pumpkin pies, three chocolate cream pies, a chess pie, a blackberry jam custard pie, and Amish friendship bread. It was much harder to make a dent in the pies after eating such a huge dinner. At least there was a lot of leftover pie to go around!

  • My personal breaking point of the night: a hefty piece of chocolate cream pie. I couldn’t finish it, but, no worries, I gave it to my little cousin.

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