It’s just David, Andy, Maggy, and me for Thanksgiving. The temptation was to fill out the big table and add a second like I always do, but this year was different.
My dad died in May, and Mom’s alone now. An only child, I visit her every month, but it’s not enough. At a time like this, we need family and so Mom, bless her, has agreed to move closer to our relatives—a very brave step, especially for someone eighty-eight years old.
In just a few weeks—the weekend before Thanksgiving—we’ll transport her from Panama City, Florida, her home for over fifty years, to her birthplace, Montgomery, Alabama. Waiting for us there are my two cousins and my aunt (Mom’s only living sister). David and Maggy, Sharon and Anthony will be there with us too. After we get her settled, we’re going break a little bread and give big thanks for our family.
All of us gathered there with Mom, this will be my real day of thanks. After that, we each go our separate ways—Sharon and Anthony to Ohio to celebrate with his family. David, Maggy, Andy and I meet in Pennsylvania later in the week.
In anticipation of our very different Thanksgiving, Maggy and I created our menu last Friday. We may cave last minute, but for now we’re all agreed to skip the turkey and make only our favorite side dishes. Homemade biscuits, roasted root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, peas, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. (Between now and then I’ll roast a chicken and save the drippings. What’s stuffing and mashed potatoes without gravy!) Dessert is still undecided. If you have suggestions, we’re open. If not, we may just end the night with cheese, fruit, and port.
For our unusual Thanksgiving we’ve rethought the cranberry sauce. Instead traditional sauce, we’re blending dried cranberries with some blueberries we’ve already got in our freezer. We’ve already given it a try and love it. Could blueberry be the new cranberry?
- ½ teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, ginger, and finely chopped fennel seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅓ cup juice and 2 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 large orange
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen blueberries
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped coarse
- Mix spices; bring juice, vinegar, blueberries and spice blend to a full boil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries, zest, and walnuts.
- Cool and refrigerate until ready to use (Can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days.)