Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving musings

Wild turkeys frolic across the street in my neighbor's yard.

The wind is howling outside my window, a most unwelcome sound.

A few weeks ago a 50-mile-an-hour gust took down a 100-foot pine in our front yard, landing on the electric wires and crushing our mailbox across the street.

It is the day before Thanksgiving, and a nor’easter is barreling up the coast, bringing high winds and torrential rains. This year, those going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house may prefer the on-the-river route.

Since I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I am blessed to have the day off from work, offering ample time to prepare the feast.

Today I will make a batch of winter soup, a concoction of chicken stock, carrots, onions, potatoes and turnips, thickened with a roux of flour and butter, and sprinkled with a handful of parsley. The flavors will meld nicely overnight.

The rolling pin will come out of hiding, and I’ll make enough dough for two pies, pumpkin and blueberry. Once they’re in the oven, their fragrance will fill the house, the intoxicating scent of cinnamon and spice.

Meanwhile, I’ll melt chocolate and whip it with egg yolks, strong-brewed coffee, powdered sugar and heavy cream for chocolate mousse, a decadent dessert garnished with a spoonful of freshly-whipped cream that just melts in your mouth.

Then I’ll make my mother’s favorite dessert, Grape-Nuts custard, baked in a hot water bath for nearly an hour.

I usually use a friend’s fresh eggs which create a frothy mixture that rises sky-high. But sadly, a fox recently killed his hens while they were pecking in his front yard. I’ll have to make do with the grocery store variety.

Lastly, I’ll set the table with a hand-embroidered tablecloth, a beautiful gift from my husband’s Canadian aunts; and I’ll take out our best china from the hutch.

The turkey and the rest of the preparations can wait until the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

I’ll leave you with some words about the holiday from my favorite New England author, Gladys Taber.

“In a world of turmoil, where poverty and prejudice still exist … I am thankful for so very much,” she said. “No voice is raised in hatred in my household. Footsteps sound gently on the threshold… The grandchildren walk and play without fear. The dogs settle on the wide hearth and doze into a warm, comfortable sleep. The steady glow of friendship warms me daily. … These are simple things, but to me they are most precious. And as I recall each one, November’s beaver moon shines brighter than ever; and I know that love and friendship, hearth fires and faith are indeed gifts to be thankful for and to treasure always.”


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