giving thanks

The house had the aroma of Thanksgiving. Turkey stock, with parsley and peppercorns, and onions and garlic. Gravy bubbled in a saucepan. I cooked twenty turkey cutlets, insted of a whole bird, with shallots and two big bags of baby carrots with butter, thyme, and honey. I cut loaves of bread into cubes and toasted them. They absorbed the stock to make a moist stuffing with fresh sage and rosemary. 

I cooked as my guys came in and out of the kitchen. “What smells so good?” They lifted lids and asked, “Is this the gravy?” They wanted to sample the stuffing before dinner. “Yum, that’s good,” said my older boy. I stepped over the dog as I moved from counter to stove.  I can’t prove it, but someone swiped a dinner roll. Soon, it was time to get dressed for dinner. That means crisp, collared shirts, with buttons, for my boys. Hair combed–ready for a holiday dinner.

I filled a large aluminum roasting pan with the turkey, stuffing and carrots. Capturing the steam, and covering it with tin foil, I secured the foil around the edges. The pan got wrapped in a beach towel, to help retain heat, for the ride in the car. It fit perfectly in a cardboard box I got from the market. (Tip: The man at the market told me the boxes bananas are delivered in make the best boxes for carrying items.) I tucked in a jar of gravy. We loaded up the car and headed off to our dinner at the grandparents’ house.

As we drove, the car began to fill with the scent of a Thanksgiving meal. The same scent that filled the house as I cooked and they nibbled.

We headed to a beach community here on Staten Island devastated by Hurricane Sandy. We pulled up behind about half a dozen cars idling in front of a long, tented table set up in the street. Neighborhood residents were accepting hot meals. Cars were arriving and people pulled similar trays of food from the trunks. There were rows of trays stacked on flickering burners and volunteers used serving spoons to make plates of covered dishes. People walked away with several foil covered pie tins of warm food, to have a holiday meal, with their families.  

We unloaded our box from the back of the car. “Happy Thanksgiving,” said the woman behind the table. “Happy Thanksgiving,” I answered. Everyone was smiling, and chatting, as they peeled back foil and filled requests for a meal. Turkey, string beans, stuffing, carrots, sweet potato pies, mashed potatoes. By the time we got back in the car, to head to our dinner, the line of cars had grown even longer behind us, stretching several blocks long. As we drove away my older son said, “They are going to love your stuffing.”

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