A dinner so epic, I have to bring it to you in installments....

This was the first year I consciously organized an appetizer course, even though Sam Sifton tells you not to.  He does approve of oysters on the half shell, and I will repeat next year but only after carefully inspecting the hinge area of each mollusk.  I had at least 6 that defied my efforts to pry them open.  We served them with champagne, lemon and a mignonette (Sifton says mignonette is passé but he can suck it).

Thank goodness for my sous chefs, Maddy, Sophie, John and Shirley who helped make the meal prep less work, and provided comic relief as needed (see last photo in post).

I think even Sam would approve of the eggplant dip pre-meal--light, flavorful and definitely not a gut-bomb.  Thanksgiving day, I was busy shucking oysters, but I can tell you it makes a decent breakfast on Black Friday after a run to the local yarn store.

We braved a Wednesday afternoon Whole Foods run for the oysters and the olives, surprisingly painless.  Ian lobbied for butter pecan ice cream "Maddy wants it" instead of vanilla and I shut him down immediately.  The poor, poor seafood department employees had to deal with folks trying to coordinate their holiday oyster orders, "can we come in Thanksgiving day and you can have them all shucked and ready to go?"  When I said I just wanted 30 oysters and that I would shuck them myself they gave me a couple for free.  I'm hoping that this gives me future street cred with said department.