For Executive Chef Josh Broda at the Westmark Anchorage Hotel, this means brining turkeys and curing hams in the hotel’s kitchen, all in preparation for not one, but many Thanksgiving feasts that he will be serving this year. The Westmark Anchorage Hotel will be offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal to guests like the Eugene Ballet Company that is in Anchorage to perform the Nutcracker Ballet at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, as well as a visiting hockey team. Broda will be serving stuffing, mashed potatoes, ham with a grilled pineapple glaze and everything else a Thanksgiving lover could ever desire. Over the weekend, hotel guests will be able to order a full Thanksgiving meal for dinner, complete with classic desserts.
At home, however, it’s a bit of a different scene. This year, Josh will be paying homage to the original Thanksgiving. His family, he said, is a bit skeptical. What was readily available in a coastal Massachusetts town in November of 1621 doesn’t closely resemble the usual Thanksgiving spread we’re accustomed to today. Instead of turkey, his family will be feasting on seafood like oysters and fish. Starches weren’t readily available for the original Thanksgiving, so they’ll be enjoying cured meats along with a game bird. Josh has also prepared homemade lamb sausage that will be served with a lamb port demi-glace. He admitted he might make a generous exception and whip up some mashed potatoes in case any potato lovers are saddened by its absence.
In the Interior, Executive Chef Tim Frank at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel finds himself remembering his childhood Thanksgivings as a special time to spend with family baking endless cinnamon rolls.
His mother taught him and his siblings to shape the soft dough into a large rectangle before crumbling brown sugar, cinnamon and butter over the surface. Then, they would roll the dough into a log, cut thick slices with a butcher knife and lay out the rolls closely together in a buttered pan. Every year, his family would make so many cinnamon rolls that every pot and pan they could get their hands on was filled. They made enough to satisfy his eight-sibling family as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And of course, there always had to be enough leftovers so guests could take a batch home with them to enjoy later.
From Chef Tim, Chef Josh and all of us at Westmark Hotels, here’s to a holiday filled with good friends, family, love and laughter.