Thursday, November 25, 2010
9:00AM Watched a bit of the Macy's parade with my kids before heading for the kitchen and leaving them to it. I'm making a persimmon cheesecake that needs to get baked so it has the time to cool. Just got as far as pressing the crust into the springform pan before Q took the oven over for roasting chestnuts for the stuffing. Ah well, cleaned up the kitchen a bit while listening to part of a wonderful series Chip Ingram is doing on knowing if you are in love prior to marriage. Michael popped out to the deck to check on his turkey brining in a cooler out there, then back to join the kids.
In our family, we all participate in the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. Once the parade is over, people will be drifting in and out of the kitchen all day, contributing to the feast. This year my husband (who staunchly has guarded our traditions over the years) surprised us by suggesting we come up with new recipes across the board. Once Q challenged the sacred cow, Jiffy corn bread stuffing, and our leader didn't cave on this new direction - we knew this was for real. So we scoured the internet and our cookbooks, and presented our recipe proposals for approval at a family meeting this past Sunday. Everything is the same, but different.
The line-up is as follows:
M - the Turkey - using a new brine recipe containing honey, salt, vegetable broth grilled over smoky hickory chips outside
Q - will be doing two stuffings, of course. One utilizing sourdough bread and sausage, the second one will be based on homemade cornbread and containing chestnuts.
D - mashed potatoes will be replaced by potato crashers
A - assigned the pumpkin pie replacement, she came through with pumpkin creme brulee! I can't wait! She also is giving corn pudding a go. A southern staple which has never graced our table to date will be having it's debute today.
R - ok, we had to go get him from college a day ago, and he is sleeping until noon today. Anticipating this, we gave him the assignment of the green dish - so he will be tutored in making a simple salad.
L and Mom - we will be bringing oatmeal sweet potatoes to the table, the aforementioned cheesecake, and a ginger-pineapple punch.
The day is interspersed with small delightful bites of life. Sweet - my sister Tania and I play a game of chat tag, never quite connecting in actual time, but speaking to and listening to one another anyway. Nourishing - I whip up a pineapple blueberry smoothie to sustain me and share a few cups with others. Savory - Little L rubs the sweet potatoes with oil and wraps them, placing her packages to bake for our recipe to be finished later in the afternoon. Peppery - some nudges to the less cooking-inclined members of my brood to pitch in as befits the day and occasion. Saucy - my sister-in-law responds to my family wide invitation for all to come to our house this year. They won't be able to make it, understandably. Goat farming isn't the sort of deal you can just call in a neighbor for. I am disappointed, but simply loved hearing from her. Cleansing - around 2:00 I take a shower, dress, and then settle for a bit of respite on my bedroom loveseat, reading The Book Thief and tearing up with tenderness. Rich - as R urges a spontaneous gathering of hands, so happy to be home.
Later on, we gather around the table. It is full with food, fuller still with my family. R finds our dinner music - always a big thing for the guys, D reads from the bible, Papa prays, and then we eat to satisfaction and contentment. (Some of us to a bit beyond that.) We all share at least one thing for which we are thankful. Although this is a tradition, I always think that some my kids would usually rather we not do this. I have to keep my list to just a few things. I am so, so thankful. M and I leave our children giggling and messing around at the table in the afterglow of the meal. I wash some dishes, he carves the turkey and says to me, "I think we just see things differently than they do."
I agree, and I'm glad of it. We talk about what that says about us, and it is deep and meaningful, and we savor the knowledge that we can understand these things together. We are grateful to be here and now. It is not perfect, but it is a gift of deep importance and consequence, and as such we treasure it all dearly.
Gratefully indebted to His unmerited favor, this is a day of thanks-giving.