“Can you bring winter slaws again?” Sure I said, slaws it is. Food assignments for the annual Thanksgiving get together have gone out. For over 30 years a group of friends has gathered at Beth’s house for Thanksgiving. In the beginning it was a group of young adults, then children arrived, and grandparents joined in, and then parents became grandparents themselves. One year there were four generations present.
In recent years it’s an older, smaller gathering—10 of us rather than 25—as adult children have established their own family Thanksgiving rituals and there have been a couple of deaths and illness that makes travel difficult for some. But still there will be hugs and catching up and laughter and some sadness as we toast those who are absent. And food—lots of good food.
The hostess provides the turkey, which she buys from a local farmer. Applesauce, made with apples from her trees. She also bakes pies—pumpkin, walnut, apple. One couple brings the winter squash dish—fragrant with ginger. Someone else is on mashed potato and gravy duty.
Winter slaws have been my assignment for several years, ever since the year I was assigned “salad” and made a citrusy, cabbagy slaw in addition to the standard mixed greens. For many years my assignment was green beans and I’d spend a couple of hours on Thanksgiving morning watching the Macy’s parade and prepping green beans.
This year I’ll do a lot of the slaw prep the night before—the slicing and dicing—so that all I need to do on the day is make the dressing and mix it all up.
One recipe I got from a friend—I think she clipped it out of the paper—cabbage and nuts and dried fruit with a lemony dressing. The other recipe I got from one of my favorite food blogs, Cookie and Kate. Its base is sliced up Brussel sprouts (and thanks to Trader Joe’s shredded sprouts all I have to do is open a bag or two), mixed with nuts and dried fruit and a honey mustard dressing. Both are light and tangy and a perfect complement to some of the heavier fare of Thanksgiving.
This is one of my favorite holidays, with its good companionship (and good food). And I know how fortunate I am to have an abundance of both. We had our monthly staff meeting at work last week—over 30 of us sitting in a circle. We always begin with a structured greeting of some sort and this month we went around the circle, greeting our neighbor and saying something we were thankful for. The room filled with gratitude for family, health, the basics of shelter and food, safe neighborhoods that we live in, meaningful work we do. I echoed all of that and added that I was grateful for the continuity of long term friendships.