Friday, November 29, 2013



It was an odd little gathering yesterday, just the three-of-us-of-the-house, for we’ll have our other Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday, when Sweetpea, et al., can be with us.   We had our Traditional dinner, with the whole preparation taking a mere couple of hours, from cornbread to dressing on the table.


We’d planned to eat about three, to give Caro time for a nap after her night’s work, and so I just started about one o’clock, in this surreal slowness, with a leisurely taking out of things, doing one dish at a time---mincing a nice sweet onion, sharing it between a little dish of corn relish with a rice-wine/sugar dressing, and the big dressing bowl.
I always say that the holidays begin when you put together the Thanksgiving dressing.   There’s something so just itself and so nostalgic about leaning over that big bowl of crumbled cornbread, minced onion and celery, fresh-ground black pepper and a little shake of poultry seasoning or several crumbled curls of sage, and inhaling that unmistakable aroma combination.  



The dressing was just perfect---a little bit crusty on top and bottom, and that thick tender middle layer of chunks of Sam’s roast chicken.  


I don’t remember a Thanksgiving EVER without snap beans on the table, so I put on a pot of Kentucky Wonders---a little bag I’d put in the freezer, from one of  Chris’ trips to the coast.   They went in with some onion and bacon, and after they’d cooked to that good slumpy Southern stage, I topped them with cubed Yukons, to steam and get smoothly tender.  

There were not a lot of the beans, but the whole pot, including the potatoes, had that familiar taste of old times, when almost everything we cooked we’d tended from seed to table.



The devilled eggs were a few minutes to make, and Caro had made a pan of wonderful roasted cauliflower on Wednesday.  Note the de rigueur neat pleats in the Ocean Spray.

This time, we ate upstairs, for Caro has been having a knee problem, and was hesitant to navigate the stairs.   Maybe thirty minutes before everything came out of the oven, Chris set up a little 2x6 table up in the sitting room, and I got out a little yellow cloth and some brown damask napkins.  He’d brought in a gorgeous bouquet of Fall flowers the day before, and they made a stunning arrangement for the big table downstairs, but were too large for our small table.   So, with the ones I’d set aside for having had broken-off heads or too-short stems, I put a few into a little yellow bowl. 

Chris and I took everything up in two trips, for the dressing and the acorn squash were already in the ovens up there.  

It just seemed as if someone else had labored in the kitchen, for we all sat down, fresh and rested, and had a good dinner with conversation ranging from travel plans to TV to what we’re reading, and mainly of all the Dear Ones we wished WERE at that tiny table.   I am convinced that if they’d all been here, that small space would have grown and stretched to hold the hordes, like the Weasley’s tent.
I didn't make dessert, for there is already so much candy-preparation going on, but Chris ran downstairs and got a big bag of chocolate-striped popcorn called Black & White.  I told them about the Thanksgiving in the Little House Books when the Ingalls and the Boasts had their dinner, then a whole big dishpan full of buttered popcorn for dessert.  

The preparation was enjoyable, the sunshine glowed bright on us, the unaccustomed setting added to the cheer, the food was good, and the company excellent. And to all of you who know me---really KNOW me:  the kitchen was clean and the dishwasher running within an hour after we left the table.

What a nice memory.  And the prospect of another on Sunday---very great thankfuls.



Kathy said...

What a great Thanksgiving! I feel as if I were there with you at that little table with the yellow cloth. Thanks for sharing your day with me.

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear Rachel,

What a beautiful and ceremonial Thanksgiving meal. I adore preparing food in the kitchen with the loved ones. The food looks delicious by the way. I'm inspired by the sound of Caro's roasted cauliflower. All is more beautiful when our house is filled with people we love and care in this festive season.

All is safe and sound here (too busy travelling still but I hope things will calm down soon nearer Christmas). Thanks for your thoughtful message.

Best wishes, ASD

jeanne, backyard neighbor said...

Good early morning Rachel, We are getting packed to go home after our lengthy stay with our daughter and family. Our Thanksgiving was a small crowd(7)too and I hardly took a photo that day. Just the table because my daughter has one of my mom's set of dishes. A sweet memory. Our preparation time was way over 2 hours but it was a labor of love and we have eaten leftovers for two days. Yum. Pie for breakfast.Yum. Yes, we too had a thankful day. Many days actually. Smile.

Your photos show good food and a happy time. The small dish of flowers was the perfect touch. I am sure the southern cooked beans and potatoes were down home yummy. I agree about making dressing. It is a very happy job and I always make it for Thanksgiving. Our dressing goes way back in tradition to my great grandmother's recipe. Just bread, no cornbread. Shhhhh,don't tell, we are Yankees raised in the South. Some things never change. HA!

I loved your mention of the Weasley's tent. I read every book in that series. You could say I was spellbound by the imagination of the author. Amazing.

Thank you for saying I looked young in that photo. That made me chuckle, actually laugh. I felt like a youngster with no responsibility except to lay back and relax. Best of all, have time to read.

Have a wonderful second Thanksgiving today with your darling Sweet Pea and family.
Love, Jeanne