Last week I realized–It’s almost here! Thanksgiving! Seven days until lift-off. Yikes… Time to get off my procrastinating “arse” (Did you know I went to Scotland this summer?) and prepare for a fantastical, memory-making holiday meal.

After all, I am being graced with the presence of my 21-year-old son from Chicago ( the younger, bad son, decided to stay back East for Turkey Day) and my nephew and niece are happily joining me and my hubby as well. Woo Hoo! I love, love, love it when family gets together.

So I dug through the ole recipe box (actually a 20 lb heavy-duty canvas tote) filled with a formidable collection of hand-written recipes, cook books, cooking magazines, recipe notebooks, folders of family recipes and a hodge-podge of Xeroxed shared recipes. Needless to say, my engineer-robotic brained hubby can’t understand why I just don’t come up with a sensible filing system. In his mind this recipe collection should be fastidiously alphabetized, color coded, matrixed and neatly downloaded in a sophisticated computer program. But honey-bunny, there is order in my chaos and after 24 years of marriage you should know…that ain’t how I roll.

So after sorting through the massive amounts of papers – I find a folder that has holiday recipes including an old Williams-Sonoma booklet circa 1995. This booklet is my Thanksgiving bible. It has instructions on how to make a flawless turkey that is stuffed with heavenly hard-to-come by ingredients, sherry-ied gravy unquestionably favored by the gods, parsnippity mashed potatoes, young green beans coupled with onions and roasted whole chestnuts, and an exquisite pecan and pumpkin chiffon pie.

Have I really made these superb Thanksgiving table offerings?

Well not exactly.

I have attempted at one time or another to make these recipes, but over the years I have modified what I make based more of what my family truly enjoys eating on this special day.

Yes on the flawless turkey (I really do follow every step in attempt to achieve perfection), but no on the homemade stuffing. Dare I say boxed Stovetop is our preferred accompaniment? Yes on the homemade godly gravy, but no on the parsnip potatoes –my family votes for parmesan mashed potatoes swimming, diving, surfing and snorkeling in BUTTER. The elaborate recipe for green beans/onions/chestnuts doesn’t get made either. We are more veggies smothered in cream of soup and French’s fried onions connoisseurs.

I do, however, make a fancy shmancy apple-orange cranberry sauce. My wanna-be Top Chef heart sings with glee as each cranberry bursts in the aromatic saucepan. But, I also always have a can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Jelly, that stands.. errrr.. wobbles proudly, head held high amongst the more epicurean offerings, its definitive rimmed can silhouette placed on top of a bed of leafy greens that I put around it in an attempt to class it up.

As for the chiffon pie, alas I have never attempted such a feat. This year I am leaving dessert up to my niece who could put Martha to shame with her ability to make sensational desserts that are so carefully crafted they are as beautiful to behold as they are to devour…

But as much as the food is much of the focus, this year’s Thanksgiving will be exceptionally poignant when we take the time to be thankful for the abundance of family, friends, health and happiness we are so lucky to have in our lives. As this is in such sharp contrast to those unfortunate neighbors that have lost everything, in the fires or the shootings or other calamities that seem to appear on a daily basis.

So as we get ready for this year’s Thanksgiving, I truly see our gathering as a blessed event.  Because at the end of it all, what matters most is being with the ones you love.

And if you can’t be with the one you love honey
Love the one your with… – Stephen Stills 🙂

To sum up my feelings of this coming holiday,  I want to enjoy the moment, love the company and delight in the food, but I don’t want to miss the main reason I am thankful -For this I would like to echo the words from one of my favorite Peanuts shows:

…Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together.–Marcie

Cheers to togetherness!

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving….

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