Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Late Thanksgiving (or Perhaps a Practice for Christmas)

So Friday night I had managed to get hold of a turkey, and even though it was late, I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. Now officially, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October as my heritage is Canadian, but as a British company actually managed to offer whole turkeys around the time of any Thanksgiving at all, I decided it was a really good idea to encourage them by buying one. Not only that, but the last whole turkey I cooked was about a year ago now, and I don’t think it hurts to practice, particularly when you are going to be cooking one for 14 people in less than a month’s time.

One of the best things I have done this year is to start to patronise our local butchers - Green’s of Pangbourne - who incidentally have just been named the best Butcher’s Shop of the Year in the south of England 2009. I can understand why - their meat is really good plus it is ethically sourced and the staff could not be more helpful. I followed their advice and cooked the turkey breast side down for the first half of the cooking time. It worked a treat and the results were delicious. I made the works - mashed potatoes, green beans, broccoli, stuffing, homemade gravy and even pumpkin pie. In fact, I made three pumpkin pies - one for Friday, one to take to my husband’s parents today and one for spare. Not bad for Friday night! Of course my husband did not get home till nearly 8.30pm, so it was a good thing I had pitched dinner a bit late, although the turkey did cook faster than I anticipated so there was a tiny panic at the end, but not much. It was nice to sit down as a family after a frantic week - and even if it really was not Thanksgiving by anyone’s calendar, I felt very thankful indeed.

It has got me to thinking more about Christmas actually, and I have a real urge to decorate this year. I know it is a bit early, but for the first time in over two years I feel like celebrating a bit. Two years ago we had no trees or decorations at all - following my Dad’s death I just did not have the heart to do anything. Last year, it was the first Christmas without my Mom and the second without my Dad and although I did decorate, my heart was still not in it. It was also the first time getting out all the decorations from when I was a kid since they had died and I felt really emotional every time. This year, I know I’m still going to feel sad, but as time has moved on a bit I’m hoping the decorations will bring me comfort - particularly my favourite angel decoration for the top of the tree that my Dad bought for me when I was little. She has always been special. Mom and Dad passed her on to us when our son was little and every year since then we have watched him put it on the tree. From having to be lifted up by someone to reach, to towering over the top of our six foot Christmas tree as he does now, the photos I have taken of him putting her on the tree each year are a visible timeline of him growing up. It’s lovely having something like that.

I’m so glad it is the weekend. My husband was away a lot of this week, and although I am used to that, I still don’t like it. It comforts me that he doesn’t either, and says so, but sometimes it is easier than others. This time of year, so near the time I lost my parents, and with it being so dark most of the time, well, I just hate it. It’s wonderful to have him home. The time just goes too quickly though - there seems to be so much to do most weekends, and so little time to relax - but I know I’m not the only one who finds that to be true :)