The leaves have almost totally dropped to the forest floor and late afternoon light has changed from that of mid-summer.
“Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Thanksgiving must be right around the corner.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In my mind, it represents a gathering of loved ones to share wonderful food while reminiscing of times past–both cheery and those tinged with sadness. You may find my thoughts a bit odd when I share with you that I have not spent a Thanksgiving with my entire immediate family since I graduated from college a few years ago. OK, OK, over 50 years ago(-: We are not estranged, just spread from coast to coast like so many other families.
This fact does not mean that I have not had memorable Thanksgivings that filled my heart with joy and laughter.
- There was the year the cousins from Pittsburgh arrived in Boston with the 25 lb turkey and their color TV set. There was no way they were going to watch their beloved Steelers and Pitt play on a black and white TV. My stepmom had not graduated to television’s newest technology yet.
- Another year, I taught all day, drove to Boston to pick up stepmom Jane and headed to Pittsburgh via the NY Thruway. We made Albany in good time and were looking forward to taking a break in Syracuse for the night. Have you every heard of the NY snowbelt? Right out of Albany a blizzard struck. Driving through blinding snow at 20 miles an hour in my little Toyota Corolla was a nightmare. I couldn’t see but 10 feet in front of me and even the tractor trailers slowed down. Mind you, driving has never been my favorite activity.
- Many a year I spent with my friend Peg’s family. She is never content unless she is cooking for at least 25 people and has five tables set up around her old New England Victorian home. Loads of laughter, loads of food, and good cheer all around.
- I’ve cooked my fair share of turkeys. When I took early retirement and had no idea if I could survive on just my pension, I bought a mobile home. I squeezed 10 people around my table and managed to meet everyone’s dietary needs–carnivores, vegetarians, special diets, and vegans. Loved planning the logistics of that meal and sending everyone home with doggie bags.
This year the table is set, but who is going to be there?
I will be eating Thanksgiving dinner with my nephew’s family in Massachusetts–virtually. My sister, Linn from California, will also be joining us. That’s her at the end of the table! I know my nephew Mike will be cooking his family’s turkey (as his Dad often did) and preparing the stuffing using his mom’s recipe. I always cook a turkey so I will be eating a traditional Thanksgiving feast along with them. Because of the time difference, Linn will probably not be having turkey as a mid-morning snack.
Thanksgiving will still be about sharing and laughter and remembrances–just not in person this year. Everyone is healthy despite the pressures they face everyday in their jobs and family activities due to the virus. And for that…I am very thankful. Besides, this year I get to make my own pie and it won’t be pumpkin. Probably–chocolate cream (-:
What’s BoomerTECH Adventures guide Chris up to now?
BoomerTECH Adventures colleague Chris and his wife Joan traditionally host Thanksgiving for both their families. That means if you drop by the Toys’ for turkey day dinner, you will be treated to a fusion of traditional New England fare, French, and Asian cuisine topped off by a slice of Joan’s world famous blueberry pie. Yum!
Knowing that they cannot do their traditional feast, Chris and Joan have been brainstorming alternatives. Their solution for this year’s strange circumstances–clean out the garage, open up its windows, put up some tables, and then wheel Chris’s two barbecues around to the garage’s open door. The plan is that they will serve as sources of heat and a cooking space.
If you follow BoomerTECH Adventures on Facebook, you know Chris is an innovative chef. He’s been practicing different glazes for this year’s turkey. Below is a video where he shares his favorite glaze recipe. Plus you will learn how to cook a turkey in a wok! Be the first in your family to try that technique.
There is a longer video where he demonstrates roasting veggies as well as cooking the turkey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5I3nwYnzOkfull
Here are a few thoughts from Ed:
My wife and I (and our four adult children) have been talking about Thanksgiving since July. Now, still 3.5 weeks before Thanksgiving and we don’t know exactly what our plans are, although deep down we are pretty sure we know what will happen this year. Everyone will be in their own homes.
For the first time in 10 years everyone is within driving distance of us and typically we’d be thrilled to host everyone at our house. But this is anything but a typical year and we don’t want to put anyone at risk. So, we’ll stay home and instead of an 18-pound bird we’ll have one significantly smaller.
We’ve made our decision and we are sticking to it. So we are concentrating on ways that we can connect this year. I’m not going to repeat any of the millions of articles about what to do this year. If you want to read some good ideas about what others are doing to have a safe AND alone Thanksgiving just Google “holiday traditions during covid” or “safe holiday celebrations”.
Of course, there are options. Lots of people are talking about some type of outdoor gathering. Here in Maine we would need a perfect late November day (the average high temperature is 43° on this day) with abundant sunshine, no rain/snow), and people wearing every piece of clothing they own. That is much easier to do in Florida and Arizona than in Maine! And that doesn’t take into account those who aren’t an easy commute from our house.
We have several friends who are talking about dinner in the barn or on the back deck, all with appropriate distancing and precautions. We’ve decided that this is only one year (we fervently hope) and we can make it safe and yet unique.
Here are a handful of ideas about a virtual Thanksgiving that we will try out this year. It will be interesting to see how many of them become part of future Thanksgiving celebrations in a “normal” year.
1. One of the issues that I’ve always had with Thanksgiving is that it is a single day and done all too soon. Why not spread some of the joy by short talks or Zoom calls with family earlier in the week sharing recipes, planning for this year, and fond Thanksgiving memories of years past.
2. This year we will prepare some foods that can be done ahead of time. We’ll connect over Zoom talk through preparations—maybe Side-dish Monday, Special Dessert Tuesday, Stuffing Wednesday.
3. Get the younger kids involved in making simple decorations. Using Zoom, each household could bring some easy placemat or centerpiece ideas to the call.
4. How can you adapt cherished Thanksgiving traditions in your own home? Make this a relaxed call at least 10 days before the big day for all your family and friends to really think what you will do to celebrate in your own house. Cider and donuts would make a good relaxing snack during your Zoom discussion.
5. This year of all years we will think about what is really important and how grateful we are for what we have. And for how we will talk about that on Zoom.
One as-of-yet unanswered question: Will we keep Zoom going for an on-going conversation during dinner? Hmmm.
We’ll be anxious to hear how your family makes the most of Thanksgiving this year.
Happy Thanksgiving from Ed, Chris, Jill and their families!
Hmm…How authentic do I want to get?