Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. I love everything about it: the food, the family, even the football. (Well, maybe not so much the football.) Although we, in my family, like to think of ourselves as ‘foodies’, lots of our Thanksgiving staples are the opposite of anything local, seasonal, sustainable, artisanal, or unprocessed and are distinctly un-foodie: there’s the broccoli dish made with the can of cream of mushroom soup and the potatoes with Velveta. My husband loves to make fun of our out-of-the-can dishes, and even though every year we talk about all the recipes we saw in Bon Appétit and what a delicious addition the curried cauliflower with caramelized onions would make to our dinner, we know we’ll be sticking with our old standbys.
As our family has grown, so has the menu. My husband’s scratch-made stuffing replaced the boxed stuffing I used to make every year. My brother-in-law insists on the canned sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows he had as a kid while the rest of us are still partial to my Cuban-inspired roasted sweet potatoes with lime, honey, and garlic, so we now have two sweet potato dishes. I used to be the only one who ate the cranberry sauce and would usually prepare it two ways, one the traditional way with cranberries and sugar and the other something unexpected and occasionally good (the time I made the raw cranberry chutney, however, was not good), but now that my nephew loves it so much, he and I make the cranberry sauce together however he wants it. Frank (you can read more about him here and here) is pretty much down for anything, and somehow your feelings never get hurt when he tells you, with his cute British accent, that he “wasn’t mad about” whatever new, lovingly crafted, homemade dish you tried to introduce that year.
Thanksgiving in Connecticut is exactly what you think Thanksgiving in New England would be: the leaves changing colors, crisp air, and even a Thanksgiving morning football game with our friends on the town green. We all sit together at Thanksgiving–there’s no kids table at our house–but it’s definitely a tight fit. So I got to thinking about ways to maximize the space on the table. Here, I used our 15″ cake stand to give some height while providing a flat space for all the table necessities. Rather than flowers, I trimmed a few branches from our burning bush in the backyard to use as a centerpiece. Lots of the other table elements (the placemats, candlesticks, even the wine glasses) I got at Target.
My favorite part of Thanksgiving is when we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Although it’s never too formal, I thought it would be a really nice thing to start writing them and keeping them for the next year and for years to come. Here, I printed on ivory cardstock and backed it on kraft paper. A gold stud attaches the two together. And, because I’m super fancy (and love the smell of spray paint), I even spray painted my pencils gold. (Be sure to wrap the eraser with painter’s tape before you spray.) Enjoy!