Thanksgiving After Action Report

Despite it being just the two of us, we prepared our regular Thanksgiving menu:

Smoked turkey
Mashed potatoes
Dressing made according to my wife’s family’s recipe (bread stuffing with Italian sausage, onions, celery, apples, olives)
Brussels sprouts braised with chestnuts
Cranberry mold (Jellied cranberry sauce, raspberry Jello, sour cream, cream cheese)
Freshly made dinner rolls
Cranberry bread
Pumpkin chiffon pie

Everything was made from scratch. Just about everything came out a bit better than in previous years. You learn with experience.

I thought I’d also mention how we set our table (picture here). As you can see we set it for just the two of us. The furniture, dishes, and art you see are part of our history—our families’ history, our individual histories, and the history we’ve made with each other.

The lace tablecloth is nearly 100 years old. It was given by my wife’s great-aunt to my wife’s grandmother who gave it to my wife’s mother who gave it to her. The dishes are more than 100 years old; the flatware is probably 150 years old. They were collected by me, mostly while I was an antique dealer.

You can’t really see the table. It was commissioned by me as were the chairs about 40 years ago. They are made of walnut. The top of the table is a beautiful parquet. The chairs’ seats are natural rush. The sideboard is made of pine. It’s a harvest table from Southern Illinois, well over 150 years old. I inherited it from my mother. On the sideboard are pictures of me and my wife, family pictures, a painting by one of my siblings.

The serving pieces on the sideboard include presents from my wife to me, things I purchased, and one very important family piece. An open serving dish that literally brought tears to my father-in-law’s eyes just seeing it. It’s probably nearly 100 years old. He remembered holiday meals when he was a child in which mashed potatoes were served from that dish. We always serve our mashed potatoes from it on holidays.

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