Hello from Connecticut! My name is Nicole, and I am thrilled to be your “new” Suburban Farmgirl! Many of you know me through the Farmgirl Connection chatroom. It’s a blessing to have gotten to know so many fine “sisters” through that wonderful avenue. It makes this great big world a little bit cozier! As a busy wife and mother in a small suburban Connecticut town, I am also an active member of MaryJane’s Sisterhood, and love get-togethers with my chapter. The Sisterhood and MaryJanesFarm have truly enriched my life, and I look forward to sharing more with you all here.
What’s on my mind? Lately, it’s COOKING. I LOVE to cook. Everyday. For me, the daily meal making is not a chore but a treat, a hobby, and of course, an expression of love for those I get to feed. I would rather cook a great meal than go out to a restaurant.
Thanksgiving is coming up; the marathon of meal-planning, and the Olympics of dinners. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, when no matter what is going on in our lives we remember our blessings, conjure up thoughts of holidays past, and eat until we burst, calories not being what’s on our minds at the time. Thanksgiving is a time to come together around the table, friends and family. A time when special memories are cultivated. I can’t wait…
My first Thanksgiving with my husband as a newlywed couple almost twenty years ago was spent just the two of us, alone in a new city, an entire coast away from any family. We had just gotten married and started new jobs, so traveling “home” was out of the question in November. There is a picture of me holding a giant turkey, my back straining as I try to hold the enormous bird I had just cooked to perfection. Obviously, I hadn’t yet learned the rule of “two pounds per person” when selecting a bird to cook.
Of course, not all my attempts at presenting a “perfect” Thanksgiving came to fruition. There was the first year my European in-laws came to visit from Denmark to experience the Great American Holiday Meal. I felt like the “Official Ambassador of Thanksgiving”, wanting nothing more than to make the Pilgrims proud! The dining table was set with fall colors, my menu was planned out and the shopping done; the house was sparkling clean. The fireplace was warm and glowing with comfort, and the appetizers were being devoured. As I went to baste the turkey (my turkey motto: baste, baste, baste!), I realized something wasn’t right. This was the day my oven decided to give up, and only one side of it was working. My turkey that was supposed to take three hours to cook took six. I had to keep spinning it from side to side! Despite the turkey dilemma, that was one of the happiest of Thanksgivings, spent with family, with the birth of a funny tale of the half-cooked turkey. (Although at the time, I was sweating bullets as everyone became hungrier and hungrier!)
Thanksgiving is also when we cultivate memories and comfort through family traditions. As for us, our family is certainly a blend of culture and tradition. My husband is from Denmark. I was raised in Texas. We live in Connecticut. Many years ago, my mother sent me some notebook pages with newspaper clippings glued to them, yellowed with age. These clippings were advice and recipes my mother had cut out of the Houston Chronicle in the sixties when she was a young bride. When I pull them out each year, I imagine her back then, excited at the chance to show off her wizardry in the kitchen. I will pass those pages on to my daughter, when she is an adult some day. Carrying on in Mom’s tradition, I make “LadyBird Johnson’s Southern Cornbread Dressing” alongside our turkey, and I never stray from Mom’s pumpkin pie! We also have Daddy’s green beans, and my husband makes “Danish Caramelized Potatoes”. Once when my daughter was a baby, we ate Thanksgiving at a neighbor’s home, and I adopted a guest’s wonderful “Carrot Souffle” recipe. It is light and sweet, and a nice alternative to candied yams. This year’s change? I have found our local grocery store carries organic Cranberry Sauce, and I will bake my own bread!
There’s a busy week ahead for me as the “head cook” of the household, but I am happy about the task at hand. Whether you are cooking, traveling, or staying home, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Whatever you do, wherever you are, I hope you are warm, comfortable, and eat a meal that brings (and makes) you special memories.