Thanksgiving dawned gloomy and wet. I was up just as the pale morning light began showing at the edge of the shades. I tried to stay in bed until a more reasonable hour. But, too excited, I got up, made coffee and started cooking. I didn't stop all day and tonight my lower back throbes with every one of my heartbeats.
But it was a beautiful, happy day. The girls were profusely gracious with their compliments on the meal. By the time everyone showed up, the house was buzzing with energy and activity. My sister and her son were charming and fun. My brother, of course, had us in stitches. He also had us all posing for portraits in his studio. The cousins, Claire, Matt and Patsy, hammed it up for the camera (left). Caley stole things and guarded them growling in her kennel. It was noisy and hectic, but the expert hosts, Jim and Beth, controlled the chaos.
Stacey brought me a DVD. She'd made it from a videotape that Jim had made at another family Thanksgiving dinner. My mother was alive back then and so was my Grandmother and we were dining at my aunt's house. Patsy was just a toddler, so it must have been 1994. Always the reporter, I was interviewing Grandma. It was lovely to watch, a time capsule. We sat side-by-side at the table as the others cleared the dishes. She played with her fork and told us all about how she'd met Grandpa (at a square dance in Porter when she was 15), when he'd given her her engagement ring (May of the year they were married) and how they bought, financed and managed the farm (they paid $7,000 cash for 120 acres in 1946).
"Are you going to put this in Smithsonian," she asked with a giggle.
She finished her story, telling of the day Grandpa got news he had prostate cancer. She said he came in that day and she knew right away something was wrong. And after he told her the news, he said to her, "So be it. I want you to know that we've had a good life. We raised our girls and they were educated, but I want you to know those years on the farm, we're the best years (they sold the farm in 1975). They were hard years, but they were good years."
And with that characteristic inflection, and in that way she had of delivering so much with so little, she said, "Well then, 'Okay,'" and nodded her head. The tape ends with me hugging her.
Since, it was one of my best meals, I want to make a record of which recipes I used, so where better than Garden Putter?
Made the turkey recipe from America's Test Kitchen; and the green beans (with bacon and gorgonzola and walnuts) and the candied yams, both from The New Basics Rosso and Lukos; salad with arugula, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and pomegranate; sour dough bread with raisins and nuts; garlic mashed potatoes; my sister's delicious stuffing and cranberries; and my fabulous gravy. Two pies, pecan and cherry, made with the Julia Child pastry dough are mostly waiting until we're all less stuffed tomorrow.
Patsy went out to take a picture of that courageous cone flower that I mentioned two posts ago. It is exquisite, a pale pink with white at the edges of its petals, and its lavender anthers each held a tiny drop of rain water. She captured its charm completely. She hasn't delivered the photo to me yet, but it's coming after she edits her shoot, and so I'll post it presently. (And I have.)
Exhausted. The Putterer