Jelena witch hazels have been having an incredibly good year with more blooms than ever and a fragrance to match. Yesterday morning the sunrise was so pretty that I had to stop and admire it before I even got the trash all the way to the curb. It made the perfect orange-tinged backdrop for the witch hazel’s crinkly blooms.
It’s been like spring this week with temperatures in the seventies — always cause for celebration as far as I’m concerned, especially in February. Besides the witch hazels, hellebores are looking great, early daffodils are starting to pop, Professor Sargent camellia has some burned edges on older blossoms but plenty of fresh new blooms, and periwinkle is lighting up the feet of the daffodils with its particular shade of pale blue.
Every year our families, and occasionally a few friends, come for dinner at our house on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a traditional celebration with turkey and trimmings made by my husband and me, and the other essentials brought by those who join us.
In the Piedmont of North Carolina the fall color is great in mid- to late November most years and the temps are moderate, so it’s usually pleasant outside. While some of us rush around in the kitchen getting things ready for the table and others cave up in the den to watch parades or football, the rest go out to do trampoline tricks or hang around the fire pit.
When you get so many people together (18-25), more than likely someone will be really happy about something and someone else will be really sad. You know, life happens to us all. And so does politics these days. Omg the politics — both ends of the spectrum. I’m always worried another Civil War will break out when someone forgets (or just refuses) to bite their tongue. No doubt there will be a dog or two losing its mind with excitement, too.
But in spite of, or even because of, everything there will be plenty of laughter. And stories. And more laughter and more stories. And of course good food.
Just your typical American Thanksgiving over here.
Here’s the menu for 2018:
Our Southern Thanksgiving
Brined and Smoked Turkey Breast
Homemade Yeast Dinner Rolls
Fresh Cranberry Relish
Corn Pudding with Red Pepper Garlic Sauce
Roasted Root Vegetables
Sweet Potatoes with Pecans or Marshmallows
Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Green Beans with Almonds and Lemon Zest
Pecan Pie (made with sugar, not Karo)
Cheesecake (got my fingers crossed for chocolate raspberry)
Iced Tea, Coffee, Water
Granted, pot roast is not traditional, but my husband decided to make it one time and everyone loved it and started to request it, so now we have it every year.
I make the dressing with cornbread, bread cubes, saltines, plenty of celery, onions, and butter, stock, and eggs. We’ve tried adding other things over the years, like pecans or bacon and so forth, but always come back to the plain. It’s hard to beat…one of my favorite parts.
I started making fresh cranberry relish a few years ago and haven’t looked back. It’s lighter and brighter than the cooked version, and it keeps really well so you can make it ahead or just make extra for after Thanksgiving.
My son-in-law’s mother, a fabulous baker, always sends a cheesecake over for this day. The younger ones especially love that. Mom and sisters bring their anticipated veggie dishes and special extras.
We’re still undecided about a couple of things (and will be until the very last minute, most likely) — apple pie, pumpkin bread, brown sugar brownies, deviled eggs, and mashed potatoes, all maybes. And also pickled beets or squash pickles. We do our best to make everyone full and happy.
What will be on your table? What will your day look like? I love to hear how other families celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving to you!
After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.
Oscar Wilde, 1893
Vintage postcard image credit: Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. (1919). Best Thanksgiving wishes. Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-5316-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99