Thanks for the Giving
Our imperfectly perfect Thanksgiving contained plenty of scratch cooking and decorations made by little hands.
Hello there, friends. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was full of peace and plenty, even if you didn’t need as many folding chairs. Here we hosted only my parents, but there were no shortages of gratitude or calories.
I took advantage of a smaller group to make more things from scratch. I’ve written before about my adventures in sourdough this year. And can I just say? I lament that this new hobby happened to coincide with the pandemic bandwagon that rolled into town. The door was opened for me by my sister-in-law’s gift of her starter, and I would’ve tried it whenever that exchange would have taken place. It just so happened to be when the rest of Pinterest discovered it. Ahem, sorry. I get a little worked up. I don’t abide by trends. I was not cool in high school. I’ll stop complaining about this now.
Anyway, I started baking loaves a few days before the big day and let them dry out for stuffing. And man, it was worth it. My stuffing consisted of big, rough chunks of tangy, chewy, crunchy sourdough studded with butter and fresh herbs. Yessssss.
I’m proud of the turkey, too. Cooking large pieces of meat is not my thing, as I can never seem to use a thermometer in the right manner and I never quite trust it. I usually end up overcooking or undercooking said slab of animal. So this year was no exception, as I’m pretty sure I blasted the turkey. But. Before it went in the oven it got an overnight dry brine followed by a morning massage with not one but two sticks of herb butter. So by the laws of science, anything containing two sticks of butter cannot possibly taste bad. The bird was delicious and so was the gravy. I did, however, roast it with the giblet bag still nestled in place for the third year in a row. I don’t know how I manage to miss it every time, but I’m beginning to question my ability to function.
I also tried my hand at scratch pie crust for the first time. This was a pain in the neck and I’m not quite sure it is worth the effort. I see all these pictures of gloriously braided two-crust pies with flowers and such, and mine was a patchwork mess that the pumpkin leaked through while baking. But hey. Can’t win ‘em all.
So dinner was pretty good, and our dining room was tastefully decorated with construction paper leaves which the kids cut out. Each expressed something for which they are thankful, like Legos. On the windows we hung “Indian corn” (yellow paper with multigrain Cheerios glued on to make the kernels). They helped in the kitchen and they sang the Garfield Thanksgiving song and they were blissfully unaware of those ugly red hills on the Covid case charts.
I struggle with the term “homemaker” just like I struggle with being called a “schoolteacher”. Both words carry an unfortunate diminutiveness, somehow. I feel like they are old-fashioned terms for someone who couldn’t figure out any other way to contribute to society. Those who can’t do, teach. Those who are unemployed, stay at home. I may be overreacting, but they’ve always rubbed me the wrong way.
But Thanksgiving reminds me of that all-important work we do at home, and the lessons we pass on in the process. What I create within these walls helps to carve out the memories of holidays and childhood. I am teaching my kids that our family matters. I am teaching them that we are what we give.
The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.
- William Blake