Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Then and Now...

At 4:30AM, I got up, took out the unsalted butter, prepared the pie crust and turned on the oven. It’s amazing to think of the work that goes into preparing this holiday meal. Yesterday, the pumpkin and cherry pies were made, as well as the roasting of the chestnuts for the ciabatta bread stuffing. The cranberry orange relish has been done with the slightest amount of sugar, hopefully my guest will like the tartness the way I do. As I turn the brain on this morning, I discover the many things that need to be done. The apple pie, the dark chocolate torte, the cottage cheese dill rolls, the list seems never ending. The traditional holiday boo boo happened early on with the boys helping me bandage the flesh I was holding together.

There is only one written account of the first Thanksgiving and there is no mention of turkey. It was likely the diners ate duck, venison, seafood, cabbage, onions and squash. The Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. These days were in prayer, not feasting. Our holiday stems from the feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and Wampanoags in the autumn of 1621, after the colony's first successful harvest.

The menu at our house will be quite different.

Appetisers:

  • thin toast with fig spread and brie
  • spinach dip and bagel chips
  • olive and pickle plate
  • vegie platter

The meal:

  • Turkey
  • ham
  • simple stuffing with celery and onions
  • ciabatta bread stuffing with chestnuts and pancetta
  • mashed potatoes w/gravy
  • baked sweet potatoes (no marshmallows or sugar)
  • roasted butternut squash with red grapes and sage
  • green beans with pearl onions and garlic
  • cranberry orange relish
  • cranberry sauce
  • cottage cheese dill rolls

The desserts:

  • pumpkin custard pie
  • rustic apple pie
  • cherry pie (for my friend who always wanted this for turkey day but never did)
  • chocolate ganache tart
  • ice cream cones

Of course there are fizzy drinks for the kids to go along with the wine and beer for adults. I will have tea, coffee and hot chocolate, too.

When all is said and done, we will give thanks. We will give thanks for the food we eat and the material things we have, but we will mostly give thanks to the people in our lives that help create such warm and loving memories of Thanksgiving pasts and Thanksgiving futures. We think of family and friends who are with us in spirit.

The days as a child and we spent Thanksgiving at my grandmother's with the aunts, uncles and 20 cousins. The two rooms of tables for the meal, the men outside smoking cigars whilst the women played Po-Ke-No at the table. My aunt's famous cranberry tarts were always a huge hit and it wasn't until later, I discovered she couldn't roll out a pie crust so turned the crust into a flattened tart. Very creative, if I do say so myself.

Although we make memories every day, it is the holiday celebrations we remember the most.

My Thanksgiving wish for you...a day filled with laughter, joy, good food, family and friends.

1 comment:

Sal said...

and what a menu it was! We were the lucky guests and we were spoilt rotten. Our 2008 memories? Little Red in Boompa's Chair with a big Grin!, The engineer and crab rangoon king having quality time, Flossy's beautiful made up face courtesy of Little Red, The engineer using a chainsaw after 20 years, Jman and his cuddles (were the best), Mman loving being in the middle of everyone, bouncing off everyone, imitating boompa, eating nothing and demanding that channel 100 played all day!, and of course just being with my friend who I love dearly.