Thanksgiving Gifts

Grandson Nathaniel had a week off from college and offered to help in the kitchen. I’ve always been torn about his cooking at our house, not wanting to put pressure on him when he has free time. He repeated his offer to cook the turkey if I wanted him to. I said yes and felt a great sense of relief. Why had I not accepted such a wonderful gift before? I’ve prepared the Thanksgiving turkey only six times, and I would have followed the directions on the wrapper. I was suddenly free of calculating the cooking time and checking on the bird. He made a special herb butter, pushing it under the skin with his fingers. I took a photo as he was about to put it in the oven.

Daughter Lise and Nathaniel took shots of the bird before I carved it. We have never had such a moist, flavorful turkey.

He is majoring in baking and pastry, so I scolded myself for not asking him to bake for us. I asked if he would like to make rolls for the feast. He did not make them a day ahead as I would have. He had them rising and popped them in the oven after the turkey was done. What a treat!

Grandson David dusted ceiling fans and furniture before cleaning the hardwood floors. He also helped Lise make the counters neater. Those were precious gifts, as well.

Lise took a turn at the stove, preparing a Danish potato dish that is served on special occasions. This was not a gift. This was a miracle. Many of you know that Lise never spent much time in the kitchen. A friend in Denmark challenged her to do this for us, and she did!! Our Danish friend Kai often spoke of having this, so I knew it was very special.

Other food gifts included John’s cutting up the butternut squash so that I could cook and puree it easily. Connie brought a lovely corn pudding and the most delicious chocolate cake, covered with swirls of mint whipped cream. With all these gifts, we lavished love on each other.

We had one picture of our satisfied selves at the table before we had dessert.

Lise, Bob, Beth, David, Marla, Connie, Nathaniel, John

A gift that didn’t show was John’s cleaning up the kitchen after the meal. I really appreciated knowing that my job was through as we cleared the dessert dishes and settled in the living room to chat.

36 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Gifts

  1. Sounds like the perfect group effort resulting in a fabulous meal and a good time. How lucky to have a professional cook in the family and I’m sure he was only too happy to share his skills with all of you. Enjoy the leftovers!

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  2. Anne, thank you for this lovely glimpse into your Thanksgiving! A day filled with family and love! Of course, you should take up any offers of cooking help and the turkey looks perfect. Next time he will definitely have to add some cakes or such to the feast!😀😀


    1. Nathaniel baked a pie and made the rolls, in addition to cooking the turkey. I failed to realize that he had had much more pressure in the kitchen than I ever had. He worked in a local steakhouse for two summers and has just finished his internship in the university cafeteria. Do you cook at home? Neither of my daughters do.

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      1. I love cooking and baking, Anne! Often baking my mother’s cakes and buns from recipes handed down over generations! My husband steps in a couple of times a week with a traditional English roast dinner or such


  3. Having a chef in the family is such a treat! You are so lucky. Our guests are all near 90. I gave my brother a dispensation from bringing anything years ago so that meant I had the burden of the whole meal, complete with timing. I’m glad to say I didn’t forget anything (last year the cranberry sauce remained in the fridge and the guests were too polite to ask) and nothing was burnt (usually the biscuits but now I ALWAYS use the timer). It was good though and some friends dropped by later on.


    1. It was remarkably refreshing to share the responsibilities of Thanksgiving dinner. When we lived in NY, I always did the pies. John’s mother and two sisters did the rest. I loved being able to bake the pies a day ahead. All I had to worry about was playing the organ for the church service. None of them would have swapped jobs with me.


    1. I agree! We quit having butternut squash when I couldn’t stand for long periods. When my knees were replaced, I didn’t go back to hacking the squash. John got desperate enough for the vegetable that he was willing to do the hard part. He says now he’ll do it as often as I want.

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  4. You had elves galore in the kitchen and around the house – you were very lucky. I never learned to cook/bake because my mom always did all the cooking. Consequently, I cannot cook or bake to save my life. My grandmother was the same as me, but she made a mean pot roast.


      1. My grandmother was one of 9 kids and her mother cooked all the meals – she lived on a farm. She was the only one who left the farm and the tiny town of Ariss and went to the “bit city” i.e. Toronto. I think she roomed with some other girls where she worked and one of them did the cooking or they went out to eat … I think that was how it went. She married my grandfather – he worked in a factory and started early and got home from work early so made breakfast and dinner. He was no saint but did the cooking – she cooked on Sundays –
        roast chicken or pot roast. She worked in a candy factory and he worked in a peanut factory (Planter’s) …. they worked different shifts to be home for my mom when she was young, then later she worked in a cafeteria downtown for decades, doing prep work – started at 7:00 a.m.. The workers got complimentary meals and she was allowed to bring food home. It was a family joke that she could not cook. My mother always said to me when I asked to learn to cook/bake: “if you can read a cookbook, you can cook” – Kate and I have proved that to be wrong. 🙂


        1. I would have agreed with your mom that if you can read, you can cook. Kate and Lise proved that wrong. I cooked my first meal two weeks after we married. There was no one to get advice from, so I learned to cook from books.

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          1. My mom had a pocketbook “Kate Aikens Cookbook” – just the smallest book but it was dog eared over the years and then she began collecting recipes and writing them on the looseleaf pages as I featured in a post last year. I hope to learn how to cook when I am retired … I used to spend an entire Saturday preparing food ahead of time to put in the microwave … but it never tasted the same a lot of the time. When I started walking, then blogging, and especially after taking lots of pictures to put into posts, cooking ahead of time all day long Saturday with lots of mess just flew out the window and canned soup became my friend. 🙂


              1. Thanks – I think so too and really eat healthy except for the occasional going off the rails like the whole bag of grilled cheese and tomato soup chips or the entire package of Pepperidge Farm cookies consumed over Thanksgiving (8 cookies, but very large)i. In fact, because of our Hepatitis A outbreak here in Michigan (many deaths and/or illnesses, all attributed to food handlers not washing their hands), I’ve not eaten out or bought anything from a bakery or deli for over a decade. I am craving pizza and saw you could make it in a slow cooker – I wrote down the ingredients and was going to buy a slow cooker which was on sale for a song, then decided eating the entire pizza was not a good idea and it was deep dish – I really prefer thin and crispy … so I let that idea go.

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  5. A great post – so much positivity amid the festivities – I am missing family time, Anne.
    Thanks for making me a part of your family through this post.
    Lyse looks beautiful – a belated Thanksgiving to you, Anne and family,


  6. I really love how you found each person’s contribution a gift. And “chocolate cake, covered with swirls of mint whipped cream” sounds amazing!!!! Love the pics 🙂

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