Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the blogosphere! For me, this is family time and family cooking week, a time to be grateful for having happy and healthy family around me.

And not just family...wild turkeys as well.

There are wild turkeys that live near my street in Berkeley. They strut back and forth, mostly along the side of the road, but occasionally in it, luckily never getting hit. And they are safe from Thanksgiving predations, thank goodness. Every year, our tiny tribe of turkeys seems to grow a tad or several tads larger. Turkeys in Berkeley; peacocks, too. Plus deer, raccoons, possums everywhere...

Although I'm teaching and practicing this week, it's hard to think about anything other than food and cooking.  Preparations for the family feast are all-consuming, pun neither intended nor avoided.

Cranberries...we love 'em!
We always have lots of greens--usually a huge salad,Brussels sprouts with a hazelnut browned butter sauce on the side, and another green veggie such as green beans--cranberry bread, regular bread, two kinds of stuffing--this year three, as we will satisfy two sides of the family + those of the vegan persuasion--plus mashed potatoes, turkey, mushroom gravy, two kinds of cranberry relish, cranberry sauce, yams (neither mashed nor marshmallowed but rather with dried fruit and OJ). Hmm...methinks we like cranberries.  Dessert is usually a pie or two of some sort, although cookies and other sweets are welcome an often appear--generally later in the day, after a postprandial walk, a nap for some, and a bout or two of family board games.

This year we're trying out two delicious-sounding veggie recipes: rosemary roasted squash instead of yams and, for a change from the hazelnut version, brussels sprouts with brandied chestnuts and mushrooms. The bonus? They're vegan, too!

Ours is a non-exclusive celebration, with close friends and adoptive family often invited and always welcome. Everyone's favorite version of a dish is welcome, which is how we wind up with many iterations.  We're non-exclusionary at the table, too, with vegans, pescatarians, those who keep Kosher, those allergic to various foods, and basic omnivores all sharing the feast. This year looks to be on the average size with around 15+ at the groaning table, but we never know for certain until the day thereof.  It's a bit of a juggling act, but it's wonderful.  And we happily eat the leftovers again that dinner and for days. Leftover stuffing, sprouts, and potatoes an especially big hit.

What is Thanksgiving like for you or for your family?

Whether you do a big celebration, sit quietly by yourself with a cup of tea, or observe Thanksgiving from abroad, may your Thanksgiving Day be a time of happiness and fulfillment for you--and may it herald a week of world healing as well.

What I'm reading: Lady from Zagreb, The Marvels; Luna; The Sky Is Everywhere

What I'm working on: well, mostly Thanksgiving dinner, but I'm also working on arias for the Christmas concert and the next opera--Mozart (Vespers), Bach (Magnificat), and Handel (Tolomeo).

What I'm listening to: the same ;), but also Schumann and Strauss, due to a great concert last week. More on that next time.

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