“It’s such a shame; the many days of planning & preparation for us to quickly consume, pass, and move on in less than a couple of hours! It seems there should be so much more to it…some way to honor what was done”, said my mother-in-law as we cleaned up the dinner dishes and prepped for dessert, this past Thanksgiving Day. I think it’s something we all think of as the holiday’s race past us and are upon us again before we know it. I’m still baffled at how quickly this year (2011) has come and gone. I realize my toddler son is a wonderful time tracker because of how rapidly he is learning and growing…because of this I see time moving a lot faster than I’d like it to. I’m trying to make the most out of every moment as it comes.
I see people are already putting up Christmas decorations; and I say, YES…! Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to enjoy each moment leading up to Christmas day. I’m realizing that it’s not always about the ‘day of’ but it’s more about the small events leading up to the day that really matter. This year, preparation for Thanksgiving started immediately after Halloween and looking back on it… there were a handful of great memories leading up to the official day. Despite hardships this year for so many, it was a great Thanksgiving after all!
I have always loved Thanksgiving more than other holidays. I couldn’t put my finger on it till recently someone said, “I love how food brings together friends and family…The kitchen is the HEART of the home (Rasa Foods).” I couldn’t agree more! Every great memory I have is in the kitchen and around the table with family & friends.
I have precious memories of spending the night at my grandmother’s house the night before Thanksgiving. I’d help her prepare the pies, Jell-O, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. The next morning we’d wake up very early and get the turkey in the oven and prep the other dishes before we’d eat breakfast. By late afternoon family and friends are gathering the kitchen. My grandfather would fill the fridge with beer, set out some onion dip and chips, and settle into a football game. My grandmother always wanted to eat early but it never happened. It would be a late night of food and conversation around the table.
Looking back there were so many moments before Thanksgiving Day that made the holiday what it was. Watching the colorful leaves fall from the trees and bundling up for the cooler weather was my indicator that Thanksgiving was on its way. Holiday specific activities dominated the school curriculum and kids grew antsy for the upcoming holiday break. Mid month, my grandmother would make a trip to Race Street Market in Mountain View (no longer there) to put in her order for a turkey. We’d stay for lunch and order a large bowl of clam chowder. She made several trips throughout the month to the grocery store and local produce stand for Thanksgiving specific ingredients. Her penciled list of guests sat next to the kitchen phone and was updated every few days. All of these memories and so much more is what made the holiday so special to me and now I’m carrying on my own special memories with the family I’ve created.
Every year poses its successes and challenges although it seemed this year the challenges dominated. We’ve pulled through many hardships and it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. One of the challenges we faced exactly a year ago was losing our best friend of 14 years – our dog Lucky. Lucky was more than just a dog, he was a friend, a companion, a family member, and a teacher. We are so grateful to have had Lucky in our lives – he taught us how to love, how to be kind, and how the simple things in life are what’s most important. Tribute To Lucky Dogg
So should we wait for Thanksgiving to reflect on the year, remember those lost, and give thanks for what you’re grateful for? As I get older, I understand that giving thanks should be a year round event – cherishing time with family & friends shouldn’t be kept for one time of year. Take the time to stop and reflect, to look back on all that occurred and understand what the important things are and be thankful for them – but don’t stop there – it’s ok to give thanks and give back to those around us, year round!
I’m thankful for those tiny moments in-between; I’m thankful for the family & friends who have remained constant and supportive; I’m thankful for my wonderful little boy, hilarious husband, and goofy dog – I love our family; I’m thankful for keeping my head above water & not losing control of myself through this turbulent year, like I’ve done in earlier years; I’m thankful for my courage to stop talking and start doing; and I’m thankful for getting the opportunity to have such a wonderful companion/pet/best friend in our lives – we miss & love you dearly Lucky dogg!
Experiencing so much change and turbulence this year has me wanting a different version of the holidays so many of us experience. My husband tells me that I’d probably think different if our situation was different… but I’d like to think no…I’d like to change my habits of this time of year permanently. I didn’t see it as a child and as I got older I just accepted the chaos of the holidays as the norm. Each year it seems to get worse and worse; the hustle and bustle of crowds, stores, and commercials’. It’s scary and depressing to see people getting trampled, pepper sprayed, and having heart attacks over clearance towels and video games. My son will still experience a good Christmas but not at the expense of our wallets and our sanity. I want the holidays this year to be about nothing more than family, friends, and awesome food!
This is why I love Thanksgiving so much…there are no expectations for ‘material’ giving… it’s just about friends and family spending valuable time together over delicious meals. I was so happy to have a full table this year and I hope year after year to come the table will continue to grow!
Thanksgiving Menu – How did you fix your Thanksgiving different this year? We chose to support our community by purchasing our turkey, dairy, and produce from local vendors Pinnacle Organics, Pasture Chick Ranch, Claravale Farms, and Straus Creamery. Our turkey was organic, pasture raised, our dairy was raw & organic, and our produce is organic, farmed under sustainable practices.
- Fried Turkey, with Garlic Balsamic Injection
- From Scratch Cornbread Dressing
- Honey Spiced Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Thyme & Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Zucchini Au Gratin
- Red Butter Leaf w/ Apples, Candied Walnuts & Apple Vinaigrette
- Whole Cranberry & Orange Bourbon Sauce
- Sugar Pumpkin Pie w/ Vanilla Cream
- Caramel Apple Pie w/ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Recipes for the above will be posted later this week… thanks for reading!