Season of Thanks!

The Feast!Do you have one of those perfectly set Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Tables?
I do not.
My Holidays in general are perfectly imperfect!
They are messy. They require a lot of cleaning and washing of dishes. They’re a lot of work.
And they’re always worth it!
Our culture nowadays promotes convenience, and sells us the idea that convenience can be purchased — and to some degree that may be true.
But it is at a much higher cost than it may appear — if we buy too much into the idea that convenience without any mess is possible, we miss the Heart of it all.
And we set up a false expectation that the result is more important than the process.

A Terrible Selfie — After Cooking for Two Days!

This year’s GivingThanks Day was a small and relatively quiet celebration — Just MOM and MARY (MOM’s Aid), and Me. I was at MOM’s preparing from the night before, and I calculated the timing and figured that with our traditional midday dinner ready by 1pm on GivingThanksDay, I could be on a 4pm train home…
I had an ungodly early flight on Friday morning, so getting home early would be a real bonus!

I overslept — staying at MOM’s is never the most peaceful night’s sleep — clock chimes going off throughout the night… lights left on throughout the house in case she gets up in the middle of the night… her getting up in the middle of the night…

The Macy’s GivingThanks Day Parade 2019

Woke up, turned on the Parade, as it is always a joy to see friends performing
And immediately began to prep the celebratory meal.
Some of it was prepped the night before: Cranberry Sauce and Stuffed Mushrooms.
I began the stuffing — we order the Turkey and I make MOM’s stuffing and all of the sides.
A few weeks ago, I suggested that perhaps since there would be only three of us this year, I could cook a simple turkey breast!
“Oh, No!” MOM exclaimed, grimacing at the thought! It’s ThanksGiving! You have to have a whole turkey!”
And so it would be.
I went to pick up the turkey and returned to make the other dishes.

Grandma Marian’s Cornbread

I added into this years’ repertoire, my Partner’s Grandmother’s CornBread — she is turning 92 in January, and to me, these kinds of recipes and traditions and creations of our ancestors and our elders are a big part of what creates a Holiday Meal — it is in a way, our invoking their presence!
It is their being with us!
It is very much who we are, and a powerful representation of how we came to be!
Since our only guest at the table this year was MOM’s Aid, MARY, and she is from Ghana and Loves Onions, I stuck a large Vidalia Onion slice at the base of the skillet which I knew she would enjoy on the cornbread. I also stuffed half of the mushrooms with couscous, and brought her some of her favorite hot peppers so she could make her traditional rice dish, as well.

MARY’s Signature Rice… Delicious!

The Mushrooms, some with CousCous (which did not hold together particularly well!)

In the midst of preparations, MOM’s oven went out, and it is old, and takes about an hour to cool down and start up again when it goes off.
Along with several other unexpected mishaps, this set us back so that our 1pm midday dinner ended up beginning at 3pm.
I got home later than planned, prepared and packed for my weekend away, and managed to get a good three hours sleep before awaking at 4:15am to head to the airport.

Green Beans, Onions & Chestnuts — My Own Addition to the Traditions of this Holiday Feast for these past twenty years…

Grateful for MOM.
Grateful for MARY.
Grateful for the abundance of food (Waaay too easy to take for granted these days!)
Grateful for Air Travel!
Grateful for the friends I visited ths weekend!
Grateful for the friends with whom I could share the leftover food!
Grateful for MOM’s Amazing Recipes!
And My Partner’s Grandmother’s
And my Cousin Alice’s!
And my Own!
And the Amalgamation of all of these into a Feast!
Grateful for all those performers in the GivingThanks Day Parades!
Grateful to the Awesome Poultry Place in MOM’s neighborhood, RUFFLED FEATHERS, that makes these Amazing Rotisserie Turkeys, and the Man who runs it and his staff who work nonstop, including half of their ThanksGiving Day to offer their superior, perfectly cooked products for so many Holiday Tables in their neighborhood!
Grateful to all those train operators and conductors and subway workers who worked their Holiday on Thursday so that I could get to MOM’s and back home again!
Grateful for the very best Partner in the Universe — and his enjoying the Celebration with his biological family!
Grateful for Music and Laughter and Color and Light…
Grateful to have a Holiday just to Celebrate Gratitude!
Grateful for So Much to be Grateful For!

MOM mentioned to me at Dinner that she wished her other children could be here as well.
She indicated the glorious feast on the table, and asked in earnest, “Otherwise, what is of all of this for?”
…A Beautiful Reminder that it is not what we are doing — it is who we are with!
It is always about People!

And so begins the Holiday Season:
GivingThanks Day
Hannukkah
Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Kwanzaa
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Day
Epiphany

Let us remember that it all begins with Gratitude,
And let us do our Best to keep that Spirit throughout!
Holidays can be stressful.
They can also be Full Of Wonder!
And we get to participate in the Creation of some of our Most Full-Of-Wonder Memories!
Giving and Loving and Living in Gratitude!
It is Less about Buying Stuff than it is about Doing Stuff!
It is more about Giving Thanks and Feeling Thankful
and Surrendering to JOY-FULLNESS!

And so, YES!
With our Hearts Filled with Gratiitude, Let the Holiday Season Commence!

 

I Highly Recommend this Recipe from CHUCK WILLIAMS of WILLIAMS-SONOMA. It has become a Holiday Staple in my Home.

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