Tikka and I took a nice long walk this morning, after which I poured my second cup of coffee and moved here, to my desk. My favorite candle is burning, and the 11-day-old roses, salvaged from last week's party, are looking faded but still make me smile. My fingers are just a tad numb because I forgot to wear gloves this morning, thinking it was warmer than it has been, which is true, but 35 is still chilly on unprotected fingers.
There have been very few Thanksgiving of my adult life, well, post-college life, that I have been home and am not cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. Even in those first few years, in my early 20's I cooked for a motley group of friends and neighbors and the tradition continued throughout my married life. Even though my step-children rarely joined us for Thanksgiving, the table was always full and the company good. The only years I didn't cook were probably when we were away, mostly at either my mom's or my brothers'. Although there was one year we spent Thanksgiving on a cruise of the Amazon and Coastal Brazil, and another year in Puerto Rico. No wait. I cooked in Puerto Rico, everyone in our little vacation villa complex contributed a dish, and we had Thanksgiving outdoors surrounded by mangroves.
Three years ago, my step-daughter hosted, and I brought sides. That was much the same as this year, when I am bringing Brussels sprouts and stuffing/dressing. But three years ago, George was still alive, and I also had to cook breakfast and lunch, and I would watch him, joyfully, while he sat entranced by the Thanksgiving Day Parades. This year feels different, but not in a bad way. The house is quieter. I had a leftover piece of cake with my first cup of morning coffee, before my period of silent meditation, before our morning walk. And I give thanks that this year, I am more comfortable in my skin than I was at this time last year, more comfortable in my home too, as it has been a year of settling and rearranging, a year of growth and acceptance.
Although I remember that there was a period where I was too stressed and too overwhelmed to enjoy cooking, that seems like ancient history to me now and I actually miss the hustle and bustle of cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. I still love to cook, but it is not just the cooking itself, it is the act of making something delicious and special for others, for food as an expression of gratitude and welcome and comfort, of reaching out to others, and the sharing of food, food prepared with joy and love as an act of community and acceptance.
But some time in front of the fire with a good book and some furry companionship also sounds lovely, and there will be plenty of food and conversation later on. Besides I got my cooking fix by inviting the cook and her family over for dinner last night and a brief respite from shopping and cooking and general holiday madness. It was a simple meal, but the joy is in the sharing as much as the making. We had these peanut-crusted chicken kabobs, one of my grandson's favorites, and mine as well. And I tried this cake, which was surprisingly good, rich, mellowly spicy, and buttery tasting despite being both gluten- and dairy-free, with an interesting bit of crunch, which took getting used to, but which I think I like, although the cake is better the day it is made.
And so, I hope you all have a day filled with joy, and peace, and the knowledge that whatever the world throws at us, we have much to be thankful for.
Photo of roses: mine
Photo of chicken kabobs courtesy of Foodandwine.com. See link above.
Blog Title inspired by Lisa.