Thanksgiving. It’s a moment to take a step back and to be grateful for what we have, to focus on our closest friends and family, far and nearby, but always near and dear to our hearts. This moment is not about making the perfect turkey or the ideal piecrust, but our grandmother’s recipe of smoked bird, our aunt’s red velvet cake and our sister’s candied yams and green bean casserole. It’s about the tradition. For everything that is unsure in life, you know without a single doubt in your mind that your favored pumpkin pie, the same pumpkin pie that comforted you as a child, will be waiting for you at the dessert table. Your mother’s cornbread dressing will greet your smiling face as the aromatics waft past your nose. And the crispy onions atop the green bean casserole will be missing, yet again, and you grin knowing full well you are the culprit. This meal reflects childhood memories and Southern reassurances. In this world where nothing seems to be a sure thing, on Thanksgiving Day, these dishes are always there for us, acting as thread to a quilt, lovingly binding us together for this holiday season and keeping us warm for the season ahead.
In this nation, today is the one moment that perfection seems to be expected from our kitchen. What we end up with at the conclusion of the meal is a moment, a snapshot in time, of laughter, love and happy tummies. Perfection may or may not have been reached, but a memory will be forever etched into the hearts of those you shared this day with. Our Southern passion for food and family will be the gift that will be remembered. So, here is to carrying on old traditions and to making new ones. Here is to focusing on what truly matters in life and forgetting the rest exists. And, here is to giving thanks for what we have. Cheers.