We live in the UK, so for us Thanksgiving is usually some far off celebration that doesn’t mean very much to us, not unlike Bastille Day or Indian Independence Day. For me, it means a lovely quiet week at work as my company has a large presence in California and the North East of the USA, and all those people will take the whole week off. Because many of my colleagues are friends too now, I always wish them a happy thanksgiving both in person and on my Facebook account.
This year is a bit different though, in several ways.
Well, 2020 hasn’t quite worked out how any of us expected now has it?
Like many people, I’ve discovered that I have a great deal to be grateful for: we have a comfortable and spacious home, himself and I work in jobs where being at home isn’t an impediment, the boys are (mostly) really good friends and can occupy themselves, we live in a generous and kind town with access to lots of wonderful outside places to visit. I’ve learnt also how absolutely amazing school staff are, home learning taught us that, so we’re very grateful that they are who they are and do what they do.
Indeed, the boys are going to sit down and think about all the things we’re so lucky to have – both material and circumstantial – as part of their advent activities.
So while Thanksgiving isn’t a big celebration for us, the emotions behind it are certainly stronger for me this year than they have been previously.
In the last year and a half, almost, of blogging I’ve come to feel part of a new, international community. Many of the people that I feel a connection with are in other parts of the world; the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Turkey and the USA. So, for the first time many of the people I’m interacting with in my non-professional life are celebrating thanksgiving too… and that’s given me pause for thought.
I’m so grateful for the community I now feel part of. You guys, and there are too many to list but you know who you are I hope, are just wonderful. You’re supportive, generous, kind, and funny. You make me smile every day and without you this strange year would have been a lot less bearable.
Thank you for being there.
Festive Season Blogger Pot Luck
Just one example of the community spirit is the awesome Pot Luck that Renata over at Buffalo Sauce Everywhere has organized. She even went so far as to say that we’re a blogging clan, what an appropriate way to describe our spread out but connected group. I was thrilled when she asked me to contribute, and there was always an obvious recipe for me – seasonal rather than Thanksgiving-specific – even if it is rather British.
That said, many of the original settlers of the USA came from Lincolnshire, where I was brought up. The Mayflower that carried the Pilgrim Fathers from Plymouth to Massachusetts, brought Protestant Puritans who had escaped persecution through the port of Boston, Lincs. The main hospital in Boston is called The Pilgrim to this day and there’s a memorial on the river bank of the Haven. I grew up knowing the story of the Pilgrim Fathers who became the Founding Fathers of the USA, so perhaps I do feel some distant connection after all.
Anyway, on to the pot luck menu:
While we don’t have much Italian food on the table (although if mom is in the mood to make some homemade ravioli, those will make an appearance), we always start out the meal with tortellini soup that my grandmother makes. This soup isn’t overly complicated. It’s just some College Inn brand chicken broth with some store-bought tortellini, carrots, and celery (cheese and escarole are passed around the table so that we can add as much or as little as we want), but it is still my favorite part of the meal.Blogger Potluck
To quote the movie Babe, “Pork is a white, sweet meat.” Wow, where do I begin?! Haha! There’s so much to say about ham. For starters, I have very fond ham-related memories. My mom’s side of the family is super goofy. My uncle is a ham fanatic. He is notorious for energetically slipping the word “ham” into random conversations or eating ham straight off someone’s plate. My favorite memory was when we were celebrating my cousin’s birthday. He wrapped up a piece of ham in some wrapping paper and gifted it to her (I’m cracking up as I’m writing this).Blogger Potluck
So, what makes Thanksgiving dinner so special? It’s not the main course, the appetizers, or even the desserts. And, if you’ve ever met my mother, you’ll know it’s definitely not the family (not that we would have family over even if we wanted to, thanks to living in the Coronaverse). No, what makes Thanksgiving a truly special meal is the nigh-endless glut of side dishes. It is with that in mind that I have decided to magnanimously grace this feast with that most wondrous of side dishes, home-made stuffing!
Bex (BEXoxoBlog) — Sweet Potato Casserole
I don’t know about you dear reader, but I have a major sweet tooth. Any time I can get away with eating a non-dessert food item that leans sweet , I’m all over it; bonus points if it’s also good for you. With that said, aren’t sweet potatoes just the greatest!? They really are one of the most versatile tuberous vegetables out there. As Samwise Gamgee once said: you can “Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew…” Yeah, I went there. Sure he was talking about the standard spud, but you can do all that and more with a splendiferous yam.
If it’s not already obvious, my favorite dish at the Thanksgiving table is my grandma’s sweet potato casserole (and not just because it’s covered in melted marshmallows though it does help).Quarantine Feast: Bloggers Edition
Potatoes are having a bit of a moment. Their diversity and deliciousness are lauded online in waves and countless memes, appreciating their range from dressed-up side dishes to drive-through snacks. I’d only like to add to the enthusiasm: mashed potatoes are my very favorite Thanksgiving dish. While I was born in the Midwest and very lightly subscribe to the “meat and potatoes” identity, these mashed spuds are anything but boring.
The best kind of mashed potatoes are the fresh ones, made from my mother’s giant metal pot (that now, as an adult, I can only shudder to imagine how much one of these would cost), seasoned by the effort of pulling a wooden spoon through a large, sticky mass of mash (along with real spices, and flavorful chunks of butter, too).Thanksgiving feast favorites, blogger style
One of my absolute favorite Thanksgiving sides and a staple in all turkey dinners is the mashed potatoes. I love potatoes in any form—regular fries, waffle fries, curly fries, steak fries, tater tots, baked potatoes, home fries, hash browns, chips, even potato salad— but mashed potatoes are the GOAT.
There’s just something so comforting about a big serving of warm and buttery mashed potatoes that always reminds me of Thanksgiving and that’s why I’d bring it to our potluck. I’ll be honest: I’ve only made mashed potatoes once, but for this potluck, I’ll break out a Pinterest-pinned recipe, push up my sleeves, tell Alexa to play “holiday favorites,” and get to work. (Yes, we’ve been playing Christmas music in my house since November 1. So what.)Thanksgiving Blogger Potluck
The age old argument, canned or fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving?
I’m a canned gal myself. There is something so satisfying about the can-shaped goop siding out of the tin and it’s just delicious! I can even distinctly remember my grandma making it fresh one year and all of us were grossed out by it. As if the jelly from a can was a delicacy.Pass the Cranberry Sauce!
The tough choice comes when it’s time for dessert.
Apple pie … or pumpkin?
Apple is crisp and sweet. Pumpkin is smooth and mellow.
Apple pairs beautifully with a scoop of ice cream. Pumpkin calls out for whipped cream.
Neither last very long on my plate.
And it doesn’t even have to be pie. It can be apple cobbler or pumpkin cheesecake. It’s still a tough call.
In the end, though, there’s only one choice if it’s available.
Both.Bloggers at the feast
Smelly Socks and Garden Peas (that’s me, @AndSmelly) — Mince Pies
This isn’t really a Thanksgiving recipe but for me its essential to the festive season. I’m including the mincemeat recipe because I prefer home made to bought and I know it’s hard to get hold of outside the UK. Mince pies are a key afternoon snack or post-dinner treat with coffee, or an evening nibble for Santa on his rounds.Mince Pies
Well after all that food, I’m absolutely stuffed and thankful that I’m full to the brim with good food, a wonderful family and friends, and such an amazing blogging clan.