Monday, November 29, 2010


Portland, November 25-26, 2010—
THANKSGIVING DAYshould be the locus classicus of dining, of course. It's difficult to write about one's Thanksgiving dinner without going into all sorts of personal, familial, domestic areas, matters not really appropriate to the public record of what one eats. What I'm trying to say is that the Thanksgiving dinner transcends its menu, its preparation, its consumption and enjoyment.

We were eight at table, Lindsey and I, a daughter and her husband, their three children, and another granddaughter. Many of us had been recently in Europe, where the American holiday is viewed (as are many American institutions) with a certain amount of amusement, or at any rate bemusement. Do those Americans really think of harvests, of gratitude?

Well, yes, some of us do. And we think of past Thanksgiving dinners of our own, of our parents', of our grandparents. I think of Thanksgiving dinners eaten sixty years ago, and of the women who made them: my mother, her mother, my aunt Flora Mae whose dried-apricot-and-shredded-pork mincemeat pie has become a family legend.

Women in the kitchen

Giovanna was largely responsible for this year's Thanksgiving dinner, and its menu was the familiar one traditional to our family, reaching back into traditional middle-west American cuisine:
Roast turkey, dressing, and gravy
mashed potatoes
baked sweet potatoes
sautéed Brussels sprouts and chestnuts
cranberry sauce
dinner rolls
mince pie
pumpkin pie
A delicious, substantial, healthful feast, worth eating twice, on successive days.
Beaujolais Villages, Domaine de La Chanaise, Dominique Piron, 2009

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