Most of my close relatives, including two of my three children and myself, were born in November or December. The holidays used to come at us like a tsunami, starting with my father-in-law on November 7 and ending with New Year’s Eve, right after my son Ian’s birthday on December 28. It was a marathon, a test of endurance, one festive feast (8 all together) after another, a muscular demonstration of our love for one another. Whew!
Times have changed. The older generation has passed away, and this will be our first holiday without grandparents. I can’t hope to match the elegant, shimmering Christmas table settings of my beloved mother-in-law, but over the years I always did the family Thanksgiving, and I’ve really got that down.
First, our divinely delicious vegetarian menu, which my son, Arran, now masterfully prepares with me:
Chestnut Lentil Roulade
Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root & Cream
Raw Cranberry Orange Relish
Thyme Roasted Vegetables
Wild Mushroom Gravy
Herb Garlic bread
Pumpkin pie, Mince Pie, Blackberry Pie, Apple Pie (can you tell my family likes pies?)
Most of the recipes came from a 1997 Thanksgiving issue of Vegetarian Times, which is in tatters after 20 years of use. The piece de resistance is the Chestnut Lentil Roulade, a gorgeous dish, with a layer of pureed lentils that rolls out into a rectangle like pastry, with a chestnut and red pepper spread patted on top, then very carefully rolled up and baked, eventually to be sliced and topped with wild mushroom gravy. OMG. I can assure you, this is every bit as delicious and extraordinary as it sounds.
We have simplified the pie situation, after almost 20 years when my youngest son, Dylan, made homemade apple pies with his grandmother, Wren. Only pumpkin now. Everything else, including purchasing all the produce from our farm market, will be the same.
But I did change something a few years ago: I made Thanksgiving a week long.
Instead of just a frantically busy couple of days cooking, I start a week ahead of time and offer thanks for all that I am grateful for. I take my time savoring all the love and kindness and generosity and laughter and beauty and abundance I receive, and all the opportunities I have to share love with all the dear people in my life and with those beloved friends and family who have died.
With deepest gratitude, I thank you for all you mean to my life,
And for all you have allowed me to mean to yours.
May you be held in the heart of lovingkindness.
May you live with joy and ease, on this earth or in celestial realms.
May you be free from fear. May you live in the light of your true nature.
And may you know equanimity and peace.
This year I send love and thanks to you, for reading my blog and letting me know your thoughts and appreciations. I’m so grateful!
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
With special thanks, love and missing for my dear friend and dharma buddy, Jan Scherer, and my dear mother-in-law, Wren Cooper, both of whom passed away within the last year. Cheers, you fabulous women!