Friday, November 26, 2010

Living the Belle Époque: A Dinner to Remember

Every year, my mother and father work for days to create the perfect Thanksgiving for our family. Between the cooking, baking, cleaning and arranging, it amount to hours of work which are then gone as fast as we can eat it. This year, I thought I should chronicle the event so that a record would remain of their monumental achievements long after the food was gone.

We began the day with a lovely breakfast—complete with a homemade cornbread. Cornbread, as you’ll see, is one of the main components of my mother’s famous dressing.

While the turkey was roasting, my mother worked her magic, pausing briefly to bake two extra kinds of cookies, just in case the two pies weren’t enough.

The first course consisted of a lovely home-made soup of butternut squash and pear adorned with roasted nuts and sour cream infused with citrus rind. Even Bertie had some. He felt left out.

As always, the turkey was a work of art with a beautiful mahogany skin. Roasted and basted to perfection, the key to achieving this lovely color is to coat the bird in cheesecloth while it’s in the oven. The dressing was sheer beauty—cornbread, white bread, herbs, sausage, and onions. Absolutely stunning! With a side of haricots vertes topped with a balsamic reduction and toasted sesame seeds, whipped potatoes and parsnips, a lovely cranberry and apricot compote and a sublime home-made gravy, the dinner was complete. Placed on their lovely table—perfectly set, we lifted flutes of champagne to toast the day and each other.

Of course, dessert was phenomenal. My mother bakes a beautiful pumpkin pie every year. Sadly, I’ve never taken a shine to pumpkin pie. So, each year my mother also makes me a Derby Pie of pecans, chocolate and bourbon. The crust of each was home-made, adorned with hand-cut leaves and exquisitely baked. In addition, we had Cinnamon Pinwheel cookies and Pillows of chocolate chips and nuts. A nice stiffly whipped cream unified everything.

So, my many thanks to my family for another lovely holiday. It was the ideal reminder of all the beauty that the world still has. I hope that all of you had similarly grand days.

1 comment:

The Good Faery said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.Amazing, and kudos to your mother for her level of energy. It sounds like a wonderful holiday celebration.