The Fine Art of Thanksgiving (Thanks, Mom)

Starting to stockpile serving pieces and dishes; a friend for our youngest family member

Starting to stockpile serving pieces and dishes; a friend for our youngest family member

My kids say that if you know nothing else about me, you know I’m fanatical about Thanksgiving. From the time I could pull up a chair next to the stove where my mom was cooking, I’ve been totally enchanted with the pomp and circumstance of this one day. Food, family, football. Did I say food?

Growing up, the production of putting on Thanksgiving was a fascinating home movie for me. I watched mom’s every move – planning the menu at the kitchen table; making a grocery list; pulling out the good dishes, the good silver, the tablecloth. I went food shopping with her, and helped with whatever I could handle. She prepared the food the day before and the day of. It was a traditional menu (turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows, green bean casserole, etc.), and although she doesn’t consider herself a gourmet cook, her food was absolutely delicious and the holiday table looked beautiful.

As that young girl, I wasn’t looking ahead to the days when I’d be hosting Thanksgiving for our family, but I’m glad I paid attention. Mom’s unfailing desire to bring us together every year and her tireless efforts and love she infused into everything about the day wasn’t lost on me. The passion I have to make food for family and friends was planted in me all those years ago – long before I was old enough to realize it – and for that I’m truly grateful.

My husband and I officially “took over” Thanksgiving the year our kids were born, mostly because it was a major ordeal to pack bottles, clothing, porta-cribs, and everything else and schlep three infants to Long Island on the worst travel weekend of the year. According to my math, this is our 26th Thanksgiving. I’m stunned; how is it possible that so much time has gone by?

This year is special because the oldest (91) and youngest (13 months) members of our family will be here. I’m privileged and proud to be cooking for them and everyone else.

As I write this post, I’m knee-deep in production mode. The menu is essentially done, and the dining room table is covered with the good dishes, the serving pieces, and the coffee pot I inherited from mom that only comes out a couple of times a year. We figured out the table setup (we’ll be 20 at the table this year, a record for our small-ish family!). I’ve been cooking and freezing soup and a couple of desserts. And my husband is touching up a few things around the house so he can check them off his list.

I’ll be back with more Thanksgiving stories, my menu, and one of my favorite (and most requested) recipes. Stay tuned, and good luck with the preparations for your holiday table.


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White On Rice Couple

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Leite's Culinaria

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