Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reflections on the evening {or take II on our wonderful thanksgiving dinner}

I remember when I was in my twenties
living in Walnut Grove, BC
in a cute little studio with a big bay window,
a tiny bath with a shower,
and a real kitchen,
with a bar table, two bar chairs,
gold, wooden with a back and arm rests.
I was a poor student back then
and the only cookbooks I had
were a few discards from the
Fort Langley Library.
From this library I would check out the
1997 Joy of Cooking
where I found a great recipe for baked
macaroni and cheese,
that I have been telling Mr. Husband I should make
for us someday.
I loved this cookbook,
though it seems that was a bit
removed from what the cookbook was
However, I knew none of this
and was just so glad to have a cookbook that
explained things in a greater but still clear detail.
I got my own copy for my golden birthday 
from my parents.

I love how cooking is part of one's growing up.
I remember calling my friend T. and telling her,
as I was dreaming of my Mom's spaghetti,
so many miles from home
and so I bought the ingredients and realized I had
no idea what to do with them.
"T. I bought the hamburger, Ragu Sauce and Noodles
but I don't know what to do with them" and so
she began,
Okay, you have a skillet right?
Fry the meat in this....
My Roast Chickens,
that now seem easy to me,
just last year for Mr. Husband and I's first
Thanksgiving as a married couple,
and it was my Dad and a very good friend
who taught me via the phone
to put the onions inside,
the herbs, to butter the skin inside and out
so that it is succulent and golden.

I lightened some of the pictures
so that things are clearer.
Including this cornbread.
I mean to write a post on how I made some of
these dishes...
The corn bread was a buttermilk corn bread
and it was really tasty.
I sprayed it very lightly with water and put it
in the microwave to rewarm it
as there is nothing better than a just out of the oven
corn bread. 

We had hard cider that was polished off
between the 6 of us.
It was not until this morning that I saw the
lonesome pear hard cider in the fridge;
Mr. Husband thought he had more;
I had no idea and could not keep all details strait;
well, at least not those not on my list! :) 

I used Barbara Kafka's cookbook on Roasting
but I did not follow the instructions exactly
and I will have to work on this;
I had some cooked carrots with orange juice
years ago that were really good
and I am trying to recreate them...
Any suggestions?

It was so fun to use all of my pretty things
to set my table.
The napkins and napkin rings were from
my Aunt M., from my family bridal shower.
The drinking glasses Mr. Husband and I bought,
they are from Italy,
and we got them with wedding money
before our first Thanksgiving Meal last year.
{They are from Bed, Bath and Beyond; so not that costly etc.}
The two cranberry sauce bowls,
that are I guess called something like
standing glass bowls,
these are from IKEA in Ottawa and
I got them with the gift card my Ottawa
parish so lovingly lavished on me.
The plated silver silverware, long spoons and
serving spoons were all in a jumble in two different plastic bags
at the rummage sale we were at last year.

The two water jugs I bought years ago at IKEA
for my life there; the glass salad bowl
I got for 3.00 at a store that
was closing all it's stores
I have some beautiful things from it,
gotten in Halifax 5 years ago.

The blue gravy boat, the other bowls and
blue platter that the chicken is on
were either wedding gifts
 or found at garage sales.
The table cloth,
a beautiful one with red flowers, that you can see
peeking out in the picture above,
was a belated wedding gift that you can
see how beautiful it is here.

The vase the roses are in was Mr. Husband and I's
first gift as a couple;
so that he could bring me home flowers,
a generous and kind friend said.

The candle holders are beautiful
cut glass and are also a gift from my
wonderful Ottawa parish
for my engagement and wedding.
The Pewter bread tray was also a wedding gift
from my dear Aunt H.

My IKEA small Canadian Flag tray.
I remember when I went shopping for the last time
right before I moved and I snatched up that tray when
I saw it, already knowing that I planned on
having Canadian Thanksgiving in the States.
Yep, I was still planning my wedding but thinking
about my future dinner parties that I hoped to have
in my new life.
I am so thankful that God gave me a husband
who also likes to have people over for dinner.

Of course the Blue Willow are the plates we just
found this past month.
Mr. Husband and I are both what we could call
'collectors' which means we enjoy building
things of beauty over time.
Mr. Husband commented that we should
look for a matching butter dish sometime for my blue and whites.

The Italian glass picture of apple cider
was also gotten last year before
our first Thanksgiving out
of our the money we were given for our wedding
by many of our dear family and friends.

The point, other than remembering all the graciousness of so
many loving gifts and things found used at sales
at good prices,
is that beauty is done over time;
dishes do not have to be all matching,
costly, or even 'perfect'...
Some of my dishes are chipped,
some of the silverware we have is worn through a bit
in spots; some of the silverware that Mr. Husband
found years ago is thin and fragile feeling;
some of it still needs a good polish.

To me having dinners and beautiful tables
is part of having the dinner;
create beauty,
set out my best dishes that are on hand,
and invite one's dearest friends to the meal.
I've had such fun over the years with parties.
With my Grandma's dishes and my blue dishes combined.
Or for cake and tea,
or a small gathering for soup and salad
with candles and a table cloth my Grandma found for me
years ago...
Or my Russian Dinner Party for
those who had just finished reading
the Brothers Karamazov with me.
Or the recent one I had a few months back for
Mr. Husband,
the many Pascha Parties I had in Ottawa
on Bright Friday, usually...
So many of them; the summer strawberry pie lunch...
I knew I wanted to keep having
dinner parties;
they are so much part of what I had begun in my life
in Ottawa... it was a loving monastic who advised me
to begin practicing hospitality and
it is something I hope to keep growing in as time goes by.

I still am going to try to do my own pie crust one day.
I love doing the small details for dinner parties,
like creating the lattice top for the pie,
or chopping fine sage and pistachios for the soup. 
It is in the end what so many lovingly reminded me
this past week as I wrote about preparing for this
it is the people, it is the opening of one's home,
it is the breaking of bread, the pouring of wine,
the offering of water and tea;
it is creating beauty out of what you have and
and opening the door to let others in.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...


Apseed I said...

Just finished reading your second post about Thanksgiving. So beautiful and magical!

Tamie said...

I especially liked your last paragraph (stanza). Lovely. And i like being included!!! :)