This Thanksgiving will be a happy one, with all six of my kids (Yaj is my third daughter) home, at least for the day. I will enjoy hosting this year, and am looking at cookbooks and food blogs for special dishes for vegetarian Julie. I’m actually toying with making an Indian style meal (India Indian, not Native American—though that would be fitting), stuffing the bird with naan bread and cashews, seasoning it with garam masala, etc., just for a change. We shall see.
Thanksgiving is a big deal to me, as it never was in childhood. Mom’s hatred of all things culinary made this foodie holiday particularly irksome for her. Hours of labor produced a really dry turkey and a fabulous (not) green bean-mushroom soup casserole. Add a can of cranberry sauce and that was about it. One year Mom forgot to serve the green beans entirely; she later found the casserole dish on the dryer (yeah, I don’t know what it was doing there either). At table, our conversation quickly deteriorated into the SOF (same old fight), with me mad at Mo who was mad at C, Dad stonily silent and Mom angry enough for all of us. Ah, good times!
Since marrying Steve, and especially since the children came along, I was determined to make it a festive day. We usually had company. The college kids knew that they were always welcome to bring people home. One memorable Thanksgiving when Evan was at the Naval Academy, he brought four friends to stay the entire weekend. They were Naval exchange students from Romania, Thailand and Cameroon. I thought it’d be fun to make some of their native dishes. So the meal featured Thai shrimp and lemongrass soup, Romanian zacusca and an African dish called fou-fou, which I found really bland, but the Cameroonians loved it.
Twice in recent years we’ve hit the road for our turkey dinner—once to Rose’s in Boston and once to Sheridan’s when he lived in New York City. In Boston we cooked together at Rose’s friend Mary’s house, which was a lot of fun. Sher’s year to host, I asked what I could bring. “How about the turkey? And maybe some vegetables? And maybe some dessert?” he replied. Sheridan’s contribution ended up being some wine and a roll of paper towel (our “party” napkins). We teased him about “his” dinner for quite a while.
After supper we play charades and pick names for Secret Santas. I feast my eyes on my wonderful family, aware of just how lucky I am. I wish I remembered to make every day a “Thanksliving” Day, but in the bustle of life I often forget to be grateful. Maybe this year I’ll do a better job.
So thank you, God. Thank you for the gift of my life and the amazing people in it. May I never take it for granted.
I wish all of you a very happy holiday spent with the special people in your lives.