A celebration of giving thanks, friends, family and especially food……..

It’s a known fact that as we grow older, our families become smaller and smaller. Our time with those we love is certainly precious and limited. Appreciating those around us, such as family and friends and being grateful for what we have should be something we give thanks to everyday. With our busy lives and hectic schedules, it’s easy to lose track of those we hold most dear or those who we struggle to check in on as often as we should. For me, Thanksgiving is a day to sit back and remember to do that. Amidst the extravagant table spread, the week long preparations of turkey brining, cake baking and casserole coverings, it is a day to remember to be thankful for those WHO we have and WHAT we have around us. Thanksgiving for me, as a “Brit” seems like any typical Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the family or straggling friends, taking turns to cook the traditional Sunday roast. Stuffing our bellies until we must succumb to that wonderful food coma that we sleep off in a saggy backed arm chair. The premise of Thanksgiving and our traditional Sunday roast seem similar, however, what lurks upon a traditional Thanksgiving plate tells another tale.

Turkey, it’s all about the turkey. So much can go wrong, but if done correctly you may be rewarded with a moist, succulent and flavorful bird worthy of any royal banquet! The turkey may take time and precise perfection but she is the least of our worries. It’s what will surround the turkey upon that plate that I concern myself with.

MARSHMALLOWS. At what point did someone decide that marshmallows belong on the same plate as a yam or sweet potato? I highly doubt that the local Patuxet tribe whipped out a bag of Jet-puffs* and suggested to mix them with the nutritious vegetables. Through my curiosity and confusion of this concoction, I discovered that we must thank the maker of Cracker Jacks for this invention. A decade after mass producing marshmallows, they approached the Boston cooking school magazine to assist in getting their marshmallows into the homes of every American, by popularizing recipes that used their product. Recipe books and magazines were very popular at the time. After a recipe featuring mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows was published, for most people marshmallows won and become a popular dish during the holiday season. Unfortunately, I still am yet to appreciate this dish. There are only so many circumstances in which salty and sweet may share the same plate.

Salted caramel.

Syrup and bacon.

Kettle corn.

Digestive biscuits and laughing cow cheese.

For me that’s about it. I will admit the color it brings to the table however, is picturesque.

This year, after tending to the farm and the animals in my care, I spent thanksgiving surrounded by delicious casseroles and a juicy turkey! Good company and good conversation. An American casserole is very different to those that I am used to. A casserole for me is a one pot oven dinner, consisting of a meat and several vegetables, stock and a bay leaf. Cooked for a few hours on a low heat and ready to enjoy after a hard days work. Casseroles here usually consist of a vegetable, a can of condensed mushroom or chicken soup and topped with cornflakes or fake crispy onions. Again an interesting concoction of colors, consistencies and flavors. Some delicious, some heavy and some not so much. HOWEVER it is a day of traditions and being thankful for what we have. I am thankful for having the opportunity to sit with loved ones and friends around a table in the warmth. When so many are not as fortunate.

After a delicious, non-marshmalled (by request) dinner and a selection of holiday deserts, I returned home to continue taking care of the critters. This year I had many friends and clients dogs to take care of over Thanksgiving. The morning was spent tiring them out, giving medications and tending to my own animals so that I could at least get to enjoy a Thanksgiving lunch for a few hours.

After lunch I returned home to continue playtime but soon felt that dreaded food coma catching up with me. After being outside for a few hours with the dogs, playing chase and picking up their “daily presents” my eyelids began to feel exceptionally heavy. I came upstairs to find Julian, Percy, Becky J and Evie had beaten me to the couches and had already begun their Thanksgiving siesta without me.

“A quick nap,” I thought to myself wouldn’t hurt “I’ll just lay down next to Percy and close my eyes for a moments”. AND that is what I did, until my 4.30pm alarm went off but 15 minutes later to start feeding everyone. I had to get up and leave this little boy, snuggled up looking so innocent and precious.

Like most large feasts, one of the many benefits are of course – left overs. I certainly plan on indulging in some of those today!!!Hopefully I will get to have a bit of extra snuggle time with this guy this evening. Well that’s if he stops taking all of the ornaments off of the Christmas tree and lays down (his new favorite game).

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving 2021!