Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Today is one of the few traditional holidays here in the States that has remained relatively sacred and untouched by so-called 'modern' times.  Most people are away from their jobs, unless they are employed in a service oriented industry, and families try to spend time together, for the most part.  I believe that this long weekend is the most heavily traveled of all.  We are giving thanks for our bountiful harvests, and I also like to think that we are pausing and reflecting on all that is good in our lives: our families, friends, and so much more that makes life complete and good.

Thanksgiving was the first holiday that I can recall that I helped my Mom prepare the meal.  Because she worked when I was growing up, I enjoyed getting home from school the day before Thanksgiving and baking the cranberry nut bread and grinding up the cranberry orange relish.  We lived on the south shore of Massachusetts then, and cranberries were a very big part in our holiday feast.  I no longer make the nut bread, but I still consider the cranberry orange relish to be a huge part of our Thanksgiving.  We are fortunate to be invited to my husband's cousin's home for the big meal, but I always bring two things: Pumpkin Cheesecake and Cranberry Orange Relish.

So yesterday afternoon was no different than any other Wednesday before Thanksgiving for me.  I washed the berries and navel oranges, and while they were draining in my old colander, I assembled my food grinder.

I guess you could say I'm a sentimental old soul, as I find that I must use this ancient and very heavy Universal grinder, which is just like my Mom's but had belonged to my mother-in-law.  The food processor just makes a pureed mess of the berries, and doesn't grind the orange up quite enough.  I want my relish to be like it always has been!  And, as you can see in my first photo, it is indeed the perfect my humble estimation anyway!

What holiday traditions do you hold dear?  C's cousin has many traditions as well, and before we sit down to eat today, the blessing will be offered by the youngest child there. Thirty years ago when we first moved here, that child was our daughter, but last year it was a very young man who's father delivered it for him, in Yiddish.  We have also enjoyed the blessing in German.  We are an eclectic crowd, but we always pause to join hands and give thanks, and then enjoy a lovely meal of traditional fare from many different households and countries around the world. 

No matter where you are, I am thankful for you....and I hope you will enjoy this day, and take a moment to give thanks for the many bounties in your life.



Gerrie said...

happy T-day. I am struggling to do my usual stuff. Have bronchitis and not feeling up to par. Mr C and Steph are stepping up and helping out.

Have a great day.

Diana Parkes said...

I hope your Thanksgiving is going well Judy. We do not celebrate this as such here in NZ, rather Christmas is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for us.

Jeannie said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Your relish looks like the one in our fridge and I have the old grinder to use also.;) If you happen to see Snoqualmie Gourmet Pumpkin Custard ice cream at your grocer, buy 2. It tastes as good as what my Gram used to make. Thank you for being a bright spot in my day. Hugs

Eva Hagbjärn said...

Hope your day has been providing.
Christmas is the holiday that's most dear to me.
Really don't know why actually.

Kram Eva

Barbara said...

Happy Thanksgiving Judy. I enjoyed reading about how you helped your Mom prepare for Thanksgiving. This year has been very sentimental for me, lots of remembering and sharing stories. I spent the day working with my daughter preparing snacks, veggies and apple pie. Together we were creating memories to last a lifetime.

Peace to you Judy.

Diana Angus said...

Happy Thanksgiving! This post is special; thank you for sharing. My daughter and I are both making the cranberry sauce recipe passed down from my mom, gone now for 12 years.

You captured the spirit of the holiday perfectly in this post.

Peace, joy and love to you and yours,


Eva said...

I enjoyed to read your story. Thank you for sharing. -- Cranberry -- or rather, the European equivalent, lingonberry -- was a vital part of our diet in winter when I was young. My mother bought 6-8 kilograms of it on the market in October and cooked it with sugar and apples, but a lot less sugar than you get with bought food. Because these berries contain a natural preservative agent. You can store lingonberries in a pot, covered with water, for months; berries that go bad just swim up to the surface and can be removed.
We had a big pot full of lingonberry jam in a cool place, just covered with a paper sheet. The last bits were eaten in April or May.