Thursday, November 22, 2007

Home for Thanksgiving

The big feast day has come and almost completely gone already... it's been a long one. The planned dinner with My Wonderful Parents along with The Absent-Minded Professor, The Southern Belle, and My Adorable Nephews got scaled back last week due to the Chef Mother's lingering infection, so I'll dine with MWP tomorrow or Saturday and enjoy a smaller, non-holiday sort of meal.

Today, though, ended up being about food and community from beginning to end.

I started the morning with work at the Inn, helping the Bistro Chef serve a full house of friends gathered for the holiday. We started with a fruit cup of sliced oranges, whipped cream, and dried cranberries poached in port wine and balsamic vinegar (as luscious as it sounds). He then made French toast, served with carmelized apples and pears, and sausage links. The guests looked very happy, so we left them to their own devices for the day (they intended to take over the Inn's kitchen for their dinner preparations).

Once back at home, I hurled myself into my own Thanksgiving dinner preparations. And if, having read my recent Ethicurean article, you're curious what I settled on, I planned to take three items to my friends' table:

--Gratin dauphinois (shown here in the prep stage, with layers of local potatoes, butter, local garlic, and cheese)

--Local green beans sauteed with local garlic, one of the last tomatoes from the farmers' market, dried local thyme, salt, pepper, and a smidgen of balsamic vinegar

--One of my favorite breads, a pain aux noix with local whole wheat flour, local dry milk, molasses, and walnuts (among other ingredients)

My friends had my favorite classics on the table, too: his mom's cornbread stuffing, her sweet potato souffle, a perfect cranberry-orange relish, pumpkin pie, and cranberry cake with an orange sauce. (Oh yeah, and a turkey. Whatever.) My guess is that we didn't manage a wholly 100-Mile Thanksgiving, though my contributions came close... and we had a good, thoughtful discussion of local foods over the course of the evening.

We ate well and enjoyed spending a long evening together, including almost an hour of uninterrupted conversation once the boys went to bed. I've come to cherish them as my second "family" since I've spent holidays with them for so many years when my parents were away, and though I'll be glad to spend time with My Wonderful Parents later in the weekend, I'm thrilled that we can keep this other tradition alive.

Home has so many layers of meaning: the place where we were born, the place where we live, the place we inhabit when we're with family and with those who feel like family. I'm especially grateful that this year for Thanksgiving, I'll have Thanksgiving "at home" in many of those ways.

Hope you've all enjoyed a good day, a good meal, and a good sense of home!



At 11/26/2007 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great reading of great eating delights.




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