Let There Be Plenty
Thanks to Monsieur Amarante, the fabulous florist on our street, the house looked exactly like Thanksgiving.
Sage and cinnamon filled the air, just as they should. The stuffing was one we could all agree on, and if you find yourself in need of a great stuffing recipe, try this Sage Stuffing. Alice’s vegetables were just as delicious as they look.
Little Basque appetizers
made with the ham and paté we brought back from the Pays Basque along with some spicy cheese and piment d’Espelette biscuits, started off the evening with a hint of heat and nostalgia for the great time we had on that trip. The “cranberry sauce” which was concocted from quinces, apples, little berries called airelles, and actual cranberry juice, ended up tasting almost exactly like the real thing. The carrot cake was a true taste of home, while the tart of reinettes de Vigan apples with an almond custard reminded us that we’re in France, as if we could possibly forget.
And the turkey? Let’s just say dinner for 7. Leftover plates for 3. Two lunches for 4. Dinner for 2. And soup for 10. That’s how our turkey is serving us, and I’m not mentioning various nibblings and pickings. Roasted on a heap of shallots and celery root, blanketed with poitrine fumé, which is closer to American bacon than you’d imagine, it was absolutely good. Not earth-shattering, but far more normal than its uncooked appearance would lead you to believe.
As for the company, for four of us it was our first Thanksgiving in France, for three of us, the first Thanksgiving ever. Two spoke only English, one only French, and the remaining four of us spoke varying degrees of both languages. As you can imagine, it was a lively muddle of discovery, with a lot more discussion of politics and a lot more French wine than you’d find at an American table.
We tried to explain what Thanksgiving’s about. Is it about the Pilgrims? Famine and salvation? A simple celebration of the harvest? It’s the only uniquely American holiday, and there’s a lot one can say about its meaning. But for me it really came down to this: I’m so thankful to be here now, doing all this.