My mother loved Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Thanksgiving 2020 in the Time of Covid - Making Pickles
For her, Thanksgiving brought together friends and family in a celebration of life and food. I came to share that love as my own family grew.
The happy ritual for my wife and myself is everyone gathers early at 3PM so we can enjoy the light at the end of the day. Our small house fills with the musical rhythm of the front door opening and familiar voices greeting us as they add their dishes to the feast or flowers to brighten the dining room.
While my wife keeps the group refreshed with beverages and appetizers, I am focused in the kitchen. Putting dishes in and out of the Wolf stove's large oven. Prepping salads and putting the finishing touches on the desserts.
The main event is, of course, the turkey. Usually twenty-four pounds so I can send our sons to their homes with several days' worth of left-overs.
All too often, I would have visitors in our closet-sized kitchen. I appreciated their desire to keep me company, but in such a small space and such a large menu, I'm best left to myself so I can pull baking trays from the hot oven without burning them or myself, sauté string beans with almonds in a giant carbon steel pan and stir the shiitake mushroom/pan drippings gravy.
We loved how our home was filled with a friendly clamor as people caught up on the latest personal news, laughed and clinked glasses to celebrate what is best about our lives. That was what my mother loved and we did too.
But, as they say, that was then. This is 2020 and Thanksgiving will still be a good time to be thankful for all that we have but it will certainly be different.
We will keep COVID-distant and respect the need to have a smaller group. Instead of twenty we will have five. At the beginning of the meal, we will place a Zoom call and gather with my wife's mother in New Jersey and our sons who are our of town having a holiday together. We will stay connected, even though we are apart.
With our friends, we will have our meal outside on the patio. I will finally have the kitchen to myself. But I look forward to next year when COVID is behind us and we can gather again as my mother would want, in a house full of family and friends, sharing stories about the year and being thankful for what is best in life.
In the meantime, in this and several posts, I will reprise favorite recipes.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a safe New Year.
Pickles are delicious anytime of the year. For Thanksgiving they are especially good. Their crunch and acidity counterbalances the deliciousness of gravy, mashed potatoes and roast turkey.
For Thanksgiving I always make two kinds of pickles. Kosher dill pickles and Moroccan-style pickled vegetables. Kosher dills should be made a few days before served. Moroccan-style pickled vegetables should be made two weeks ahead. They will keep, sealed in a jar, refrigerated for as long as a year.
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