I’ll admit it, occasionally I feel envious of my friends who make a dish or two and go to a huge family gathering for Thanksgiving. It would be lovely to sleep in, play soccer with masses of cousins, aunt and uncles and join hands round the table to give thanks.
But my children revel in the preparations. They’ve taken ownership of treasured recipes and pride in the results (though it’s twice as much fun when we join my sister
We start on Wednesday with the pie crusts: Hans separates the eggs, while Mary chops the butter. Making as many pies as possible is the unwritten challenge– why?- I have no idea.
She loves wielding that knife.
A new recipe from Lisa
, Stefan is in charge of the White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Banana Cream Pie.
Go big or go home. I buy one of these chocolate bars every fall. Per pound it’s cheaper than chocolate chips and oh-so-delicious.
It’s so lovely.
Everyone is enthralled with the chopping; Stefan’s still working on his pie.
One lick for you,
one for me.
By noon the kitchen is really a mess.
One layer of banana slices, one of custard.
Stefan is especially qualified to make this pie since he eats about six bananas a day.
Gabe- “How can I help?”
Stefan- “Could you make me toast with peanut butter and honey?”
and he does. Gabe is good that way.
Making mini Mary-berry pies.
What’s better than one Mary in the kitchen? Two.
She fits right in.
We gave her an apron and let her crush cranberries.
Getting just a bit sour over all the lemons she’s juiced.
Cranberry puree is serious stuff; we need every last bit for our traditional cranberry ice.
The process can make you a bit crazy.
Cooking the meal and setting the table on Thursday seem almost easy after the previous day’s work.
The dishes and the cloth are all my mother’s: she watches over us, nudges me when a pot is about to boil, whispers that the wild rice needs more parsley.
And I know she admires little Mary setting the table (shh, don’t tell my sister we used paper napkins).
We love the details like the chicken butter dish and tiny salt and pepper bowls. Xander created the boat place cards.
Between kitchen tasks, the boys and Erik rake leaves and cause trouble.
The last hour of prep is always the hardest– so many tasks must be perfectly coordinated for each dish to arrive on the table piping hot. Take out the turkey, start on the gravy, mash the taters, put the rolls in the oven. Is that cranberry ice ready? Spoon it into goblets.
And then we sit, and give thanks and thoroughly enjoy.
Chess takes over once the meal is cleared. Those quiet, calm matches from the movies couldn’t be more different from our house– chess involves, laughter, yelling, teasing insults and victorious cheering. Fritz took this match.
Suddenly, all the too-full tummies want dessert. We ended up with two pecan, banana cream, lemon, two chocolate mousse, macadamia, sour cherry and chocolate macadamia (banana cream was the first to disappear; we ditched pumpkin at the last minute).
And today, as we are washing load after load of dishes and wiping mashed potatoes from the floor, I found our stack of “hundred thankful things” from Monday night. The various lists are both sweet and silly, but to the bottom of mine I’d like to add one more– I’m grateful to have a refrigerator full of leftovers for the weekend because I am completely and thoroughly