Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and not just because of all the great food and the four-day-weekend (though certainly, that doesn’t hurt), but also because it’s the holiday when I feel required to take a moment to reflect, to think about everything I am thankful for. So here are a few reflections on my Thanksgivings past.

My Thanksgivings as a child, (the entire 80s decade, really), my parents, sister, and I drove from our house in suburban Philadelphia to my grandparents’ house in Pittsburgh. Most of these Thanksgivings blur together, into this warm sort of happy glow –It was an exciting holiday for me, because it was one of the only times a year we got to take the six-hour drive to Pittsburgh to go stay at our grandparents’ house. I remember waking up in the middle of the freezing, sometimes snowy night to make the drive, and being too excited to sleep in the car. These Thanksgivings are some of the happiest memories I have of my grandparents: my grandmother pulling a turkey from the oven and serving everyone too much food, my grandfather watching football from his chair, and slipping me, my sister, and our cousins, 20 dollar bills as we ran by him.

In the 90s, my Thanksgivings were spent in Philadelphia. The Thanksgiving after I’d started dating my husband (then, my high school boyfriend) we ate dinner with our separate families, but we spent hours talking on the phone after dinner. I remember it was the night that he told me, for the first time, that he loved me. We have spent every single Thanksgiving together since then, something I am always thankful for.

One year, in the late 90s, just after my husband and I got engaged, we had two big Thanksgiving dinners: first, with his family, then with mine. I have never ever been so stuffed in my entire life, and we swore that we would never do the dual dinner again. Never.

In this past decade, my husband and I had our first Thanksgiving as a married couple and our first one living in Arizona. The first year, we made a turkey in our small apartment, and we also had to turn the air conditioning on because it was still so warm outside. This just seemed imminently wrong to me – an air conditioner and a Thanksgiving meal? (Though, I’ve grown used it in the past 8 years.) We realized that an entire Thanksgiving feast was way too much for two people and vowed never to do it again just for ourselves.

For the next few years, we went out to dinner for Thanksgiving, just my husband and I – which maybe seems unusual, but was actually incredibly fun and relaxing. Same great food, no cooking, no cleaning up, an excuse to get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant. And we were apparently not the only ones with this idea – the restaurants were always unbelievably crowded.

This year, as we’ve done for the past few years since my kids were born, my parents and sister have come out to Arizona, and my mom and I are cooking the Thanksgiving feast for all of us. (Good news, by the way, I’ve already successfully made two pumpkin pies, some pumpkin muffins, and some chocolate chip brownies, all without any baking disasters!).

These past few Thanksgivings have been some of my favorites, mainly because I’ve had so much to be thankful for. This year, I’m thankful that I get to spend the day, again, with my amazing husband, my beautiful children, and my terrific parents and sister. I’m unbelievably thankful that in the past year my writing career has finally started to blossom into an actual career, and I’m thankful for the awesome agent Jessica and editor Jill who made this happen.

So Happy Thanksgiving! May everyone’s day be filled with wonderful food, family, and lots to be thankful for.

PS. Operation Pineapple Upside Down Cake was a success. . . sort of. My first attempt looked really nice, but it collapsed when I took it out of the oven. Then, with the help of Betty Crocker, I made an actual good tasting (but slightly scary looking) cake. So here’s the picture of the second one! (By the way, my son was responsible for the candle arrangement!!)


Carolyn McTighe said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all you wonderful American ladies!

P.S. Your cake looks delicious.

Lisa Patton said...

You're pineapple cake looks luscious to me! Happy Turkey day to you and your whole family!

Jillian Cantor said...

Thanks you two! The cake was actually very tasty :-).

Maureen Lipinski said...

I think it looks awesome!

I can't imagine a Thanksgiving with air conditioning. Although I don't really jive with Chicago's 30 degree temps, either!