30 November 2009

An All-day Holiday Meal

This year Thanksgiving dinner gave me so much more to be thankful than I already was. My sisters and I spent it at the home of wonderful M. & K. My sister G. and I met their family when she came to VA to be an au pair for a summer in 2006. Since we have moved here, they have been a brilliant presence in welcoming us to the area.

We started the day with mimosas and a cheese platter, and the celebratory tone was set for the day. When we moved into the dinning room, the food was quite simply amazing. The turkey was moist and perfect, the traditional sides were familiar and comforting, and the new flavors were truly inspiring. The cranberries were done in a compote with pears, a brilliant combination. And M.'s sister brought a sweet potato dish that was to die for. Seriously, if I hadn't been able to bring some home I think I might have cried. And even better, she shared the recipe! There was a creamy potato casserole that I had never had before and was perfect when combined with the bacon and green beans. And the desserts - Italian fruit tarts, cheesecake, chocolate cake, cherry pie, and of course, pumpkin pie. I had to wait a while for dessert though, because my eyes were bigger than my stomach when it came to everything else.

All day, the house was full of the noise of people enjoying each others company. The energy and positive emotion filled it to the brim. This was a place full of people celebrating the mere presence of those around them - whether they had met before or not, and several of us hadn't.

And did I mention that the food was fantastic. This is one of the the few Thanksgivings since I was 16 that I was not a major contributor to the table, and the first since before I was 10 that I didn't do anything at all to make it come out wonderful. All we brought was cheese for the cheese tray, and G. picked that out. I came away from that table thankful for more than just the food that was prepared for me. I now have fabulous new recipes to try for my relatives at Christmas. But more importantly I have new friends, and I can't think of a superlative that does justice to the quality of people who shared this holiday of gratitude with us - the family that opened their home and the friends that they brought into it along side me and my sisters. It was without a doubt a Thanks-giving day.

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