Thankful Foodie: Reflecting on Thanksgiving

I wrote last weekend about how bonfires (or fireworks) make me think of the last time I experienced bonfires (or fireworks). The same holds true for holidays, and as a food blogger and avid eater, this is one of my absolute favorite holidays. And since I managed to get through the day enjoying myself without having to take Alka Seltzer, I consider it a job well done, and for that, I am thankful.

So here are some gratuitous Thanksgiving food photos and a few random (or not so random) notes of thanks from me before I nod off into my turkey-induced sleep.

Turkey (brined with Williams-Sonoma Apples & Spices, then massaged with butter and sprinkled with fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt).

1. I’m thankful for my parents who gave me the opportunities and resources to learn to cook. My mom taught me some of my first recipes, and her cinnamon toast is still unsurpassed in my book as the ultimate in comfort food and ease. My dad had me cooking my first Thanksgiving turkey when I was eleven years old because he got a free turkey from the car dealership he worked at that fall. I made box stuffing, jar gravy, and frozen veggies, and he had to help me lift the turkey in and out of the oven because I was too little to do it alone. My next solo Thanksgiving would be when I was fifteen, and by then, I had gotten more experienced, using my mom’s recipe for sausage stuffing, calling her for last minute tips and questions.

2. I’m thankful that I can still call my mom for last minute tips and questions. Like today when I realized I bought pineapple chunks instead of crushed pineapple for the sweet potato casserole. Mom offered advice, and crisis was averted. And that casserole was perfect. (Tip of the day from me:  use the jumbo campfire marshmallows that you usually use for making s’mores. Cut them in half, and arrange them in rows. They provide perfectly even coverage, and they’re thick enough that there is an equal ratio of yam to marshmallow.)

3. I’m thankful that I’ve retained enough of my child-like hope and wonder that I still tear up when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins. We started watching it on CBS this morning, but it just didn’t seem like Thanksgiving if I couldn’t be vaguely annoyed with Matt Lauer and Al Roker, so we switched over to NBC just in time for me to see Al Roker and the lady who runs the parade doing the ribbon cutting with a group of Girl Scouts. A small part of me still wishes I were a Radio City Rockette. And I still tear up and get goosebumps watching the parade. And I’m thankful for that spirit.

See what I mean? 50% yam, 50% marshmallow. Just like God intended.

4. I’m thankful for a slow, relaxing, food-filled day to hang with my honey in the middle of the week. Weekends end up being stuffed (get it? turkey? cause it’s Thanksgiving?) with errands and chores and social engagements. We’re off work, but we’re not really relaxing. But a day off today was perfect. We stayed in pajamas and drank coffee and mimosas and ate leftover Monkey Bread. We started cooking, each of us with our own tasks, helping each other when we needed it (stuffing a bird is sort of a two-person job). This time next year, I will likely have said goodbye to Amanda, sending her off on deployment for the better part of a year; I’m so happy I got to have Thanksgiving with her today and cherish having time with her here at home.

5. I’m thankful for pie. That’s all. I’m just thankful for pie.

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie

6. Lastly, I’m thankful for this blog. Two years ago next month, I quit my job at a law firm where I worked as an administrative assistant. It was a good job with good people, but it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t challenged. And I knew that my trips to Barnes & Noble on my lunch break, where I walked the aisles and trailed my fingers along the spines of books and sometimes cried a little in the parking lot, were signs to me:  Dana, let someone who is right for that job have it. Go do your job. That was teaching, yes, but it was also writing. I started this blog  few months later, and I have learned more about cooking and food and community and writing and my own voice and reading and taste and hunger in the past year than I ever could have imagined. I’ve gotten so much closer to being the kind of writer I’m supposed to be, and that has come partly from writing Whisks & Words. I am thankful for the people who have given me writing jobs, for the people who have been good enough to publish my stories and essays. I’m thankful for my writing community, both the ones I went to school with and hang out with and the ones I’ve never met in person, the ones in my blogging community and on Twitter and Facebook. And I am so thankful for this blog, for the freedom and confidence and experience it has given me. And also the pleasure and enjoyment. And I’m thankful for the readers who stop by (and even more for the readers who come back again!) and read and chat with me.

I’m one thankful foodie. And that time, I almost said foodie without cringing. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

This post is part of NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. Check out other great posts at BlogHer and yeah write.

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