Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is, by far, my favorite holiday. It is all about food (Sofia today told me that eating is her favorite activity; it is certainly one of mine!) and friends and remembering the things in our lives that are good.

I started cooking this morning and currently am waiting for my second apple pie to come out of the oven and proofing yeast for Parker House Rolls a la James Beard. I've also made Sweet Potato Souffle (to be baked tomorrow) and cornbread for wild mushroom and pecan stuffing. Tomorrow the turkey will take up the bulk of the oven and I will just have to put the stuffing together and maked mashed potatos. Wine, vanilla ice cream and non-carbohydrate food will appear tommorow with the guests; all told we will number 13.

There have been very few Thanksgivings in the past 20 years that I haven't cooked for. Even when we lived in Argentina I celebrated, inviting family and friends for a traditional meal, with ham instead of turkey.

One of my most memorable Thanksgivings was the first I cooked when I was 18 years old. I lived with my then boyfriend and a couple of friends in a big industrial loft in the East Oakland. We invited everyone in our building who had nowhere to go to our place and had to build a table out of sawhorses and scrap wood to seat 21 guests. There was Alan, the 3-D neon sculptor from next door; the Czechoslovakian art restorers who lived down the hall; a group of friends who had landed at our place after a cross country journey; and the printmaker from across the hall (who I almost gave a heart attack some weeks later when my Black Rat Snake got loose, crawled up through the rafters and fell onto her easel while she was working). I can't remember who else was there, but there was a TON of food, lots of smoking and drinking and hilarity. I still remember looking around at everyone in my own house at a table full of food I'd cooked and feeling for the first time like I'd landed somewhere I belonged. I was home.

It is exactly 20 Thanksgivings later and I still know that feeling. Even though I'm not in a physical place that feels like home I know that, for me at least, home is less a place and more a feeling. I'm with the people who know me best, who love me despite my many failings and stick with me when the breadcrumbs back to this place I call home get blown away and I feel lost. That's something to be grateful for...


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