The hubs thinks I'm delightful just the way I am. He does not expect me to cook big fancy meals, I know, right,  I can add a can of cream of mushroom soup to anything and I am exalted to Julia Child status. As I have mentioned before, he rarely has much to offer in the way of suggestions for dinner. As you can probably imagine, his reticence is generally welcome, his tastes run rather the way of Fred Flintstone, so he gets his fill of duck, rabbit, venison and the like when we eat out and at home he tolerates devours my mostly veggie based dishes......except...on Thanksgiving!!! That hankering takes the shape of two  words...turkey and stuffing. The turkey must be huge (never under 22 pounds) and the stuffing must have sausage [lots of it]!].

But, most daunting of all for me is living up to the Thanksgiving dinners of my childhood... served by my mom in pearls, perfectly coiffed hair and an apron starched to high heaven. Cozy. Home spun. Norman Rockwell. You betcha! As I cobbled together the menu for my first Thanksgiving, my senses were flooded with the culinary aromas of my youth~dishes crammed with great food and nostalgia. It was Thanksgiving de ja vu all over again, but this time I was the hostess...armed with a hodge-podge of recipes handed down from family and friends or ripped from magazines, served up while wearing sweats, hair in a pony tail, smudged eyeliner and pink fuzzy slippers. I was a bit surprised to find myself over whelmed by it all, scooting around the dishes, trying to keep it all warm .....many years later, I'm happy to say...not much has changed.

 Yep, Thanksgiving is a holiday chock full of traditions. Family, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, parades, football,  tryptophan-induced naps, the Presidential Turkey Pardon, ....what? that's right,  turkey pardons...  Not only does the President hold a ceremony to receive a couple of turkeys, one spare in case the first can't perform its duties, as was the case when Bush pardoned 45 pound backup "vice" turkey Pumpkin, after number one turkey Pecan fell ill the night before the ceremony. Both turkeys were pardoned, then flown first class to Disneyland to serve as honorary Grand Marshals of the Disney Thanksgiving Day Parade. Afterward they retired to the Big Thunder Ranch in Disney's Frontier land. I'm not making this stuff up people, what I want to know is, where do I sign up? I mean who doesn't want to score great tickets to a Disney extravaganza, and then retire comfortably at an upscale ranch. Still, the whole thing raises a few questions. For example: What exactly are the duties expected to be preformed by two really big birds? Does this mean the President doesn't actually eat turkey at Thanksgiving? Is Disney really so desperate for PR?  I guess it's supposed to be a little silly, and I'm all for injecting a little whimsy into the mix.
Breaking news: President Obama on Wednesday morning pardoned a pair of turkeys - Apple and "feathered understudy" Cider - quipping that "it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November."

Yet it remains that one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is going downtown after dinner to see the animated Christmas windows at Polsky's and O'neils department stores, we did this every year when I was small, then after my boys were born, I took them. It was a time of great innocence and simplicity. I remember the cold. Snow. Scarves, hats and mittens all at once. Windows filled with winter scenes. Elves in Santa's workshop. Children dancing around a Christmas tree. A Snow Queen. Peter Pan and Wendy on Captain Hook's ship. Two little boys with their noses pressed up against the same windows as mine many years earlier, with the same look of wonder, making the same memories. Magical.

 Cranberry Chutney


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