Sister Goes to Market the Day Before Thanksgiving…


Sister had invited some 50 guests to her Thanksgiving dinner. This is not a recommended number for anyone who wants to sleep easy the night before the meal… :) While she had rented a nice nearby hall to hold the event in, she was cooking everything herself and from scratch. Yipes. I went to the Union Square Market with her the day before Thanksgiving and I have to say, I never thought we could manage 150+ pounds of produce and flowers between us, but we did. And there was no crew, no car, and it was during the Thanksgiving rush…


I managed to snap a few shots of what was on offer in the market at this time of year (I have featured posts on Union Square Market in the Spring, Summer and Fall) and it is amazing how the colors of the season, and its produce, are so naturally mirrored in the clothing and other items for sale in stores at the same time… Above, the chartreuse relation of broccoli called broccoflower (a mix between broccoli and cauliflower) — turns out it is not a mix, but rather closer to a cauliflower, with a unique color and shape…


…deep reds/burgundies/purples of cabbage…


…some of the freshest and most ginormous heads of cauliflower…


…brussel sprouts…


…several types of radishes…


…and a plethora of potatoes!


Celeriac, parsnips and greens…


…and of course lots of fresh herbs for the stuffing and other side dishes!


The apple selection was still superb, and the mini-mountain of red fruit at the rear of the photo above are fresh cranberries. There were lots of pies on offer, but sister was making her own. She once one the first prize for her apple pie at the Union Square Market Apple Pie contest, so no pre-made pies for her.


Edible but beautiful cabbage plants in a variety of colors were terrific for table settings or buffet arrangements, but we opted for orange and burgundy mums instead (several dozen pots on advance order).


A little more unusual for me at least, were these wonderfully odd ornamental ears of corn, in terrific fall colors…


…and these almost jurassic looking osage oranges that are good for warding off cockroaches!


But we were there to pick up the free-range, organic turkeys of course. And when they emerged from the truck and the farmer said they were 35 pounds EACH, my jaw just about dropped…


…of course if you weren’t keen on turkey, the same provedore also had pheasant, goose, duck, et al on offer as well. For Sister’s Thanksgiving meal, we picked up oysters, clams, several types of beets, rutabaga, beans, greens, fresh herbs, fresh cider, fruit, flowers, etc. By the end of the shopping trip, I can assure you we looked a bit outrageously laden… :)


44 Responses

  1. Holy cow! I’m amazed at the scale of such an undertaking. Sister must be a kitchen superhero. Hopefully you can detail the menu, the prep, and the cooking of the entire feast in future posts. Did the rented hall have a kitchen for you and Sister to cook in? Did The Teen provide assistance? I’m so curious about how to pull such a feast off without any outside help in the kitchen. Just feeding 8 people at Thanksgiving makes me a stressed-out basket case…

  2. Yeah, sister must be superwoman!Like Fried neurons above, I’m looking forward to the details in the kitchen.I guess sister had a lot of blessings to thank for this year to stage such a big thanksgiving party!At first glance I thought the broccoflowers were chartreuse colored mums.Are they edible?And the osage oranges, are they edible too or for cockroaches only?

  3. welcome back to NYC, MM and teen!! how did the huge undertaking go??? must have been a super delicious meal, looking at all the fresh fowl and produce..i bet sister’s pie crusts are melt-in-the-mouth GOOD!!! pictures…pictures pls.

    watched the parade on TV and got invited to a friend’s home for the holiday celebration..

  4. That sounds like quite an undertaking! I’m sure Sister was glad to have you there to help.

    We had 35 people over for Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t cook, so it was all up to me. Everything was made from scratch. It’s certainly harder to do than to buy pre-made food but the end result is much more delicious and nutritious. I totally understand Sister’s dedication.

  5. your sister never cease to amaze me! when God was handing out talents you and your sister must have been first (& second) in line LOLZ. it must be fun to be a member of your family. that broccoflower (although a sight to behold) scares me though….it looked like something that dropped from an alien’s ship or something. but i love, love, loveee the different offers on the market. there are quite a number of them that i didnt even know existed (halatang i dont go to the fresh market at all). now, after the thanksgiving dinner is over and done with, i cant wait for the post about it.

  6. gorgeous pics of produce! agree with mardie, the broccoflower looks alien but fascinating. how does sister manage all that cooking? i would nominate her for iron chef awards lol.

    She once one the first prize (i think you mean “won”)

  7. oh wow! I have no idea how you manage to carry all those home! I’m a huge huge fan of thanksgiving even though we don’t practice it. All that food preparations, stuffing yourself…yum! And it kinda reminds people that Christmas is HERE! wow have to finish my christmas shopping though :P

  8. Amazing bro and sis. Wow 150+lbs between the two of you, and no car.. must be NYC train or bus (more efficient than SF hehehe and definitely more than LA – Cali is a car/SUV state hehehe but now it’s the hybrid car state hehehehe)

    and definitely your sis is amazing, 50+ people heheheh. for me anything over 20 I’d call somebody else, pick-up or delivery hehehehe. Thanksgiving is the only American holiday I get to enjoy and relax.. the most I’d do is cook the bird for 4-6 hours but I think I can do that with my eyes closed as I’ve been doing this since I was in my late teens.

    Kudos to your sis!

  9. Kung ako, wala akong lakas ng loob na mag-imbita ng 10 katao, let alone 50? It’s a recipe for panic! Kudos to you and your sister, Marketman.

  10. Welcome back to NYC! This may come in late and you’ve probably already left…but kudos to your sister for hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 50 people. Pics at the Union Square as usual is lovely…and can’t wait for the pics from the dinner. I can understand your Sister’s plight on making everything from scratch…I have become one of them too. But this year we opted out of cooking Thanksgiving and went away…none of my family was around…Anyway, Christmas is fast approaching and have to gear up for the noche buena feast…

  11. I liked the broccoflower, very interesting… I learned and saw something new again today MM. Thanks! I can’t wait for your feature on Sister’s Thanskgiving Feast…..parang ala Babette’s Feast siguro :)

  12. Hi MM,

    i am a new reader of your blog:) i am enjoying it very much — the photos and the stories you share relax me, and yes, most of the time, make me hungry, too. pardon my ignorance but do you sell your kalamansi marmalade? can i order? it sounds like something i can eat straight from the jar like ice cream, with a spoon, and with lots of happy wishes for anyone and everyone……
    do let me know please?:)

  13. Your “broccoflower” is not a “mix” of cauliflower and broccoli, it is more commonly known at least in my gardening circles as romanesco broccoli (a confusing name since it is really in the cauliflower group and not the broccoli group of brassicas) and is just one of the wide range of brassicas. In other words it is its own variety and not a hybrid or mix.

    We are seeing a nice range of apples now in markets. Many apples (pears too) don’t taste their best right off the tree, and need cool storage to come to their best (so right about now is a great time for apples and pears).

  14. Waiting to see photos of the feast! It sounds like they would be terrific! 50 people! And to do all the cooking – from scratch – for a crowd that big! I am awed by Sister’s prowess!

  15. Hi! Marketman , You are in new York I heard theres quite a population of Filipinos in New York. How would you like to review a Filipino-NewYorker Resto for us named PURPLE YAM -1314 Cortelyou Road between Rugby & Argyll in Brooklyn NY. Former Cendrillon resto (owner amy Besa & Romy Dorotan) 718- 9408188. Maybe you can give us a review of Filipino resto abroad & how it fares foodwise. Filipino Restaurant Destination. We are planning to visit New York City ( summer 2010) Would be kind enough to give us some tips of where to eat. Thanks . I love your site because theres is always fresh info. and you really have a fan(community)& some are quite a character & some are funny. Thanks again

  16. Wow, very impressive market! Kudos to your sister MM. To think that your sister is very elegant and glamorous. You wouldn’t think she knows a thing about markets, much less, would dirty her hands in the kitchen.

  17. Hats off to Sister for single handedly cooking a storm and of course for getting a much sought after marketing, cooking assistant which is MM :) . I’m sure it is a success which of course we will be waiting with much enthusiasm for more details from MM later on.

  18. Nowadays, one is so lucky to have a friend or loved one who cooks well and invites you over (at least in the Phils…don’t know about other countries). Eating out can be frustrating with the high prices and lower quality of food. I’ll be interested on Sister’s strategy and process for having 50 guests for dinner. :)

  19. Wow MM. Everyone is excited to know what happenend next. Bring on the details. This is a must study strategy that the two of you pullled through. Love the photos.

  20. kurrzaar, You are correct, that is Romanesco, not broccolini. Broccolini has individual florets on separate stalks.

  21. I can’t do these large fiestas without the help of MM, who is always here to recue me when I am in the weeds. The hunting and gathering of food supplies is fun, and I go to my favorite vendors who I have relied on for decades. We did get it all home in two taxis. I don’t know if you will see pictures of Thanksgivng as MM was too busy cooking to take any pictures. MM and I visit markets wherever we go.

    I like to know where my turkeys were raised, Quattro Farms, New Milford, NY, Blue Point oysters and littleneck clams for the raw bar came from Blue Moon, Mattituck, LI, the veggies came from various farms in NY and NJ, a bushel of Northern Spy apples from Locust Farms, NY, milk, cream, creme fraiche from Bonnybrook Dairy, etc. I suppose I could go to Costco and get it all done there but I like to look my provedores in the eye and know exactly where my food is coming from. About 80% of the food served was locally grown.

    If you are curious about what we served here was our menu for Thanksgiving. It hardly varies from year to year, it is what my children expect. It’s pretty classic without any unusual twists but the quality is very good and everything is made on the premises.

    Raw LI Blue Point oysters and Peconic Bay Littlenecks
    Mignonette and fresh horsradish cocktail sauce
    Artisinal NY raw milk cheeses with crackers and Fingerlakes grapes
    Salted and roasted pecans

    Roasted turkeys and gravy
    Sausage and herb stuffing
    Cranberry Compote

    Smoked country hams
    Spicy pear chutney

    Candied Sweet Potatoes

    Mashed rutabagas
    Steamed green beans

    Trio of beet salads: yellow, striped, and ruby

    Northern Spy Apple Pies
    Maple Bourbon Pecan Pies
    Cheese Pumpkin Pies
    Sweet potato Pies

    NY Finger Lakes Dry Riesling
    CA Zinfandel
    Vouvray dessert wine


    So what did we eliminate the day of?
    Finger Lakes Corn bread
    Braised chestnuts
    Cauliflower gratin
    Stripped Bass

    Sometimes you can’t just get it all done when you have to schlepp everything down the street to the hall only to find iout the oven is kaput. So we cooked in three kitchens, mine, my neighbor’s, and the hall’s, and everything was made on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, even the pies. But no one will know what one has eliminated. And after all, there’s always next Thanksgiving.

  22. sister, i am truly impressed by the thanksgiving dinner that you and
    marketman have prepared for your family and guests. since you
    enjoy cooking and entertaining, i am sure that you had fun doing
    the whole process,,,going to market, planning the menu and cooking
    all those delicious food that you offered on the table.

  23. MM, and you were still able to watch the parade? It has always been my dream to watch it in person since I’m only few minutes drive to New York but the kids always want real homecooked Thanksgiving Dinner

  24. hats off to you sister and MM!!! what a spread. hopefully we can get some recipes and pictures from MM, unless he is still recuperating from hauling the produce, cooking and of course eating!!! miss not reading the blog for 10 days since i was in a place with little internet access. did not realize how much reading this blog has been an “addiction” till i went without.

  25. That is quite the impressive meal! But given my own experiences with cooking large Filipino Thanksgivings, where’s the rice? ;-)

  26. Lucky guests! I hope they all knew what kind of labor and love went into that feast.
    MM, so were you still able to eat after all the hard work?

  27. Awesome pictures Market Man… and there I was trying to find tomatoes that are not bulok. We should have markets like that here in Manila.

  28. At the end of the day it is the personal satisfaction in getting all the food ready and seeing your guest enjoy it. It is a passion that its hard to understand for some people who doesn’t cook. I always told my wife that when I retired I want to have a restaurant that the main objective is not to make money but to make sure that every single person who eat are happy with the food. A some kind of a slowfood movement where people eat to enjoy and socialize. And like sister they also care where the food came from and whether the vegetable, pig and chicken has been treated well.

  29. applause, lots of whistles and foot-stomping, SISTER!!! THAT’S a dinner!! but the accolades are for your ability to do it all with grace and ease, esp in 3 kitchens!!! oooohhh the pies!!

    oh, MM…too busy to take pictures…well, you have the gift of descriptive narratives, and i have a pretty good imagination. that will do.

  30. Oh how I wish I was one of the guest of sister!I can’n’t imagine myself cooking and managing 3 kitchens all at the same time!You are an amazing woman sister!and baby brother there was a big help!Congratulations to both of you!

  31. Hi MM!

    I need to go out of Canada this December for Xmas or I will go berserk. I am craving for good comfort food or street food sa NY or anything na must-try for you in the category of hole-in-the-wall. Can you recommended something, kahit anong ethnic food sa big apple. I am planning to go on a food-trip/exploration in the streets of New York.

    Maraming Salamat!

  32. Hi Marketman! I hope you don’t mind if I ask your readers here in Los Angeles if they know what store in Chinatown can I buy Smithfield ham so I can save on shipping costs? Also, I would like to ask if anyone knows where I can buy pork leaf lard or fat or “sinsal” in Tagalog which we use to wrap embutido? Would appreciate any help as I need these for Christmas.

  33. @ sister, thanks for letting us have a peek at your menu, very impressive and so bountiful! I can’t imagine how you and MM managed to cook all that on the day itself of Thanksgiving! Too bad if MM was not able to take a picture of the Thanskgiving spread. We all so look forward to seeing them.



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