Posted by: njbrown | October 6, 2009

Thanksgiving – early

In Canada, Thanksgiving comes the second Monday in October.  (The “Loyalists” brought the holiday with them when they left the colonies after the Revolutionary War.   However, I just learned that the first Thanksgiving in Canada dates back to Frobisher’s celebration of thanksgiving for his safe homecoming after his search for a northwest passage in 1578. )  It took us about ten years to adjust to the change, but now it seems sensible – much more in tune with harvest time.  It also gives much more time to get ready for Christmas.  With less than a week to go, I’m thinking about what I can make for my vegan daughter, my pescatorian son, my dieting husband, my son-in-law and myself.  Thank God for a son-in-law without dietary restrictions!

For Thanksgiving, turkey is mandatory in our home.  Since I don’t do turkey – even the look of an uncooked one gives me the willies – George gets a pre-stuffed one and superintends its cooking.  This year we have a high-tech thermometer with a digital read-out that  is outside the oven.  How far we’ve come!  My job is all of the other things, and Thanksgiving for me is about comfort food and nostalgia food.  I have been wracking my brain, but can’t remember a Thanksgiving dinner growing up, but I’m sure we had turkey.  As long as George and I have been married,  I have made a corn pudding that came from an ancient Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  Corn bread sticks made in my cast iron pans are another tradition, and they remind me of college and graduate school years in Massachusetts.  George and my daughter love wild rice, and I will probably do it with dried cranberries and orange zest.  Perhaps rather than plain mashed potatoes, I’ll make twice-baked ones with a cheese stuffing, although this is one of the two times a year I make gravy and mashed potatoes and gravy are a wonderful treat.  I’ve been watching Food Network shows on Thanksgiving food, and Sunny Anderson did a pumpkin “cake” that seemed, in reality, to be a cheescake.  Pumpkin pie doesn’t wildly excite me, even if it is traditional.  Julia has a cold pumpkin souffle that might be nice.

Along with all of this, I will have something my son will eat – possibly salmon – and whatever meets my daughter’s vegan requirements.  In years past, she has relented and eaten stuffing, but this year that might be too much of a stretch.  She is aspiring to a raw food diet (defined as nothing cooked above 200 degrees).  I hope it is adequately healthy.  Julia never had these challenges!

Each year we decorate the table with a pumpkin, Indian corn (that I first saw in New England), and different sizes, types and colors of gourds.  We have candles in the sterling candelabra my sister gave us for our wedding, and bring out the best dishes, silver flatware and antique crystal.  It is one of the few times now that our family sits for a dinner together, and several years ago we began the tradition of asking each person to say something during the year they have been thankful for.  This year, Julie and Julia might not be at the top of my list, but it’s right up there.



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