Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

Now that the cooking extravaganza has passed and the relatives have gone home, I have some time to reflect on what makes Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays. There’s the food, of course—traditional dishes that I only make or eat at this time of year.

But much more important than the food are the people you share it with. When I was growing up and continuing well into my twenties, my mom usually made the meal for our extended family. Some of my best memories are from around that table. In more recent years, my own family’s Thanksgivings have been less predictable, but no less memorable.

Chris and I have celebrated at the homes of friends in Vermont and in France, at his sister Leanne’s, and once at a restaurant (which I would never choose to do again, no matter how good the meal is). We’ve also hosted several times ourselves, at the end of which I always am happily exhausted. This was one of those years, and our refrigerator is still stuffed full of leftovers just begging to be made into a triple decker turkey and stuffing and mashed potato sandwich. 

My mom (now sous chef extraordinaire) was here for the holiday, 

along with Chris’s sister Leanne, her husband Bob, and their teenaged son Garrett. At the beginning of the meal, we all followed the tradition of taking a turn saying what we’re thankful for. I never have to think very hard about it: family and friends are first and foremost.

When I make the meal, I always try to use as many local foods as possible, in celebration of the bounty that surrounds us here in Vermont. This year these foods from around the state graced our table: turkey (from Misty Knoll Farms, just a few miles up the road), cheeses, rolls, potatoes, butter, shallots, onions, eggs, garlic, bread for the stuffing, cranberries, pears, maple syrup, leeks, celery, green beans, acorn squash, mushrooms, cream, milk, and apples. Thank you, farmers!

Here’s a taste of Thanksgiving chez nous, with special thanks to Faye, a budding photojournalist. I hope your holiday was grand as well.

Frosty sage

Turkey necessities

Never too much shallots and garlic

Afternoon light

Catching up

Twinkle in her eye

Simmering away

Hiding place

Favorite tools

Getting close

Time to carve

Les pommes de terre

View from the porch

Candles lit

To the table


My plate overfloweth

Faye digs in


After the meal

All tired out

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