The 25th of November. The eve of Thanksgiving 2011 in Moretonhampstead, my home town in my adopted country England. In America, Thanksgiving is all about feasting with family and friends; the people we want to gather round us or travel near or far to be with. We have eight lovely friends coming for dinner mid-afternoon tomorrow. Some from around the corner, some from further afield (more than 10 miles hence) and some from even further afield (the other side of the country!).
This is my favorite American holiday and one that tugs deeply at me, even though my home is now on British soil. Steve and I planned the menu to include many of my beloved childhood Thanksgiving dishes – Heavenly Hash, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Frank’s Pea and Cheese Salad.
We shopped and started cooking today. I had to order miniature marshmallows, canned pumpkin (Libby’s), Nabisco Graham Crackers and ‘Nilla Wafers online. But the supermarket was a breeze (Sssssssh! . . . . . no one knows it’s Thanksgiving over here!) This is our third Thanksgiving together and it’s already one of the best ever. Even though Steve has yet to experience Thanksgiving on American soil, he enthusiastically joins in. We love to entertain and host our friends, I am so thankful that he and I share this together and with others.
Tonight Steve and I made Gingered Nuts & homemade onion dip (tomorrow’s appetizers w/ Prosecco), three different pie crusts – Gingersnap pecan, short crust & Graham Cracker for Punkin Pie, Chocolate Pecan Pie and Maple Syrup Cheesecake w/ Roasted Pears , respectively, rinsed the brined turkey and made homemade corn bread for the stuffing.
I have a tin pie pan my cousin Cynthia gave to me in 1997, when I was still living in California. She’d come out from Virginia to visit her sister (and my cousin Lanneau) and brought me an apple pie from the Julian Pie Co., near San Diego. I keep the pie pan under my flour sifter (where we always kept one when I was growing up). Once a year, it comes into service in its intended use, as a vessel for my pecan pie. All of these childhood memories, connections to foods and people, are woven into the dinner preparations.
Tonight, following on the success of our cocktail party two weeks ago (details to follow, but in the meantime here’s a teaser) we tried a Green Ginger Wine, Vodka & Cointreau concoction. After a very full and productive day, time to have a well-earned sleep.
In the morning, the pies will be assembled and baked, the bird stuffed and cooked, the vegetables prepared, and setting up our kitchen and dining tables for ten to gather round. Then the welcoming of guests and the enjoyment of each other’s company and fine food, lovingly prepared and shared.