Cliff Mass warns that the last week of November is by any measure – “rain, wind, you name it” – always the worst week of the year (this year so far we have snow and cold in the teens). But if the weather gods be merciful, planes, ferries, and rental cars will cope, and by tomorrow everyone will be gathered for Thanksgiving – from Alaska, California, and Washington.
We’ve been lucky in our years here mostly (one year we had a departure-delaying snowstorm), but local tales abound of power outages and uncooked turkeys. My old friend and her family have an outdoor-cooker-fall-back-plan for that eventuality, but likely they will bring the turkey already cooked in their oven and bundled up for the drive, along with two different dressings and maybe some starters (last year olives to warm in an earthenware dish and carrot sticks).
The young mother and father traditionally come before the traffic on an early morning ferry, and spend the night. They bring a huge and terrific salad, and this year a second sweet daughter we’ve never met will join her older sister at the festivities. (I hope the whole family can fit still on the entryway bench, pulled to the table.)
Here we’ll do the vegetable “wrangling” as my daughter-in-law calls it (she’s really good at it) – we’ll prepare and roast all the usual suspects – a festival of vegetables. I used to think of Thanksgiving as celebration of butter – but a lot of olive oil decorates things here. Sweet potatoes cut in big chunks, sturdy and delicious winter roots like parsnips and rutabaga, and Brussels sprouts for sure. Mashed potatoes and celeriac!
Ahead of time I make cranberry sauce and cranberry relish – ruby red in glass dishes. My clever friend brings beautiful pies – topped with crusty leaves.
After the pie we might break out the bottle of Ratafia Russet brought home from Spain – a fitting tribute to the day. But first we do all the travelling and the cooking (and table setting and bed making). Jobs I am thankful for and so glad to do.
I know you readers are up to your elbows in your own getting readys, and I wish you a wonderful holiday. I’m grateful to each of you!
Hope all your travelers arrive without complications, and you have a wonderful day. I am thrilled this year not to be the main cook for what will be a total of 25 people, even though there probably won’t be any sprouts and parsnips served with tiny pearl onions. I’m thankful for the break, however, and very thankful for this rare get together of the whole family.