With family a collective 12 hours away from each other, our Thanksgivings have rotated from year to year. One year is in Maine, the next near Philly, the next back to Maine. This year is the year for Philly with Jeremy’s side of the family, but since my parents were visiting for a few days on their way home from Florida we had an early Thanksgiving with them on Saturday.
The Thanksgiving menu is always the same with my New England Family. Always. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, string beans, corn, olives (both green and black), pickles, cranberry sauce (homemade and jellied), homemade applesauce, stuffing. At my mom’s house we always include pumpkin, banana and nut breads served with softened cream cheese. The food takes up two tables and the company is shoulder to shoulder around the dining table.
Dessert has it’s own table.
Enough is made of everything to ensure leftovers for at least a day.
This year, at my house, in a sort of last minute decision to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, we didn’t have quite all of that. No fancy breads with softened cream cheese, no dessert table and no shoulder to shoulder seating.
The thing about holidays, though, is that you can celebrate regardless of what traditions are followed through, how many are around the table and if the desserts have their own space. Celebrating is just that….celebrating. Giving Thanks. Being with family. Partaking of the earth’s bounty.
After attending Kaitlyn’s Martial Arts class with her (all six of us went), Dad and Jeremy drove home and the girls and Mom and I headed to Kohl’s to do some Christmas Dress shopping for Anna and Kaitlyn. We decided it would be fun to have Thanksgiving together, so we picked up a few items I didn’t already have (turkey, jellied cranberry sauce, stuffing…isn’t it nice to have a full freezer and veggies from the summer’s harvest?).
We dropped Anna off to watch a game of touch football with Pop and Dad and a bunch of other people from church and the neighborhood. On arriving home Kailtyn went immediately downstairs, banged out some music on the drums for a while and spent some alone time watching Gilligan’s Island.
Meanwhile, my mom and I began cooking. First up was to get the turkey in the oven. Second, was to make this chocolate pudding pie from scratch. (Did you know boxed chocolate pudding has red and yellow dyes in it?).
We prepped the veggies, set the table, made fresh cranberry sauce and plated the olives, pickles and applesauce.
When the pudding was beginning to thicken mom and I each grabbed a small bowl and enjoyed the amazing flavor of homemade pudding. I had no idea how good it is compared to boxed pudding.
The house was quiet, the lights dimmed and scents of food and turkey were beginning to fill the space.
I made this pumpkin cream cheese pie and set it aside while the turkey finished baking. The pie would bake while we ate.
At 5:00 p.m. we put the potatoes on to boil, made the stuffing and corn. The corn, after it thawed and boiled could be placed in the oven to keep warm next to the turkey. The stuffing would be covered and easily warmed at the last minute.
Pop, Jeremy and Anna arrived home, and after telling tales of the touch football game, each one prepared for dinner.
At 6:00 the potatoes were mashed, the beans and peas buttered, the food placed on the table and each one took their place.
After prayers of thanksgiving, Jeremy read to us from Nathaniel Philbrick’s book Mayflower about the first Thanksgiving.
We enjoyed a full, eat-too-much-but-leave-room-for-dessert kind of meal.
Everything was perfect.
At 7:00 we headed over to the church. Jeremy, Anna and I had a few things to do before Sunday morning. The pumpkin cream cheese pie was out of the oven and cooling on the counter.
Arriving home around 8:30 we took our places at the table once again and pie was served.