It’s my favorite time of year! Thanksgiving!!!!
Last week I made a beautiful feast for my Irish family. It was my first Thanksgiving to do all by myself and I must say I was pretty dang proud of myself. The week itself was a daunting week to make any sort of big meal in, much less Thanksgiving. There were multiple hospital visits and a pension appeal scheduled. The meal went from being held in Naas at our place to Durrow where Dec’s parents live. This was a much better idea, their house is much more cozy and warm. In Durrow there is a nice big cooker and wood stove. In Naas, we have a storage heater in our hideously painted apartment. Durrow has a nice big table, we have a couch. Most importantly all the family could be there in Durrow. So I packed up all my kitchen necessities and we drove down to Durrow to make a feast for everyone. Because the Irish don’t get off work for this amazing Holiday we waited till Friday for our feast.
Whole Wheat Bread Wreath
Soft White Fluffy Sweet Rolls
Bacon Leek Rye Sourdough Stuffing
Rutabaga Sweet Potato Mash with Carmelized Onions
Balsamic and Feta Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Brussel Sprouts
Lemon Kale Salad
Soft Candy Caramels
I was a little late on getting my hands on a turkey so I worried it was too late. I checked in two places in Naas. One said no, the other, Nolan’s said to check in on Tuesday. I was a bit worried because if I was going to have to get a frozen bird it was going to take a few days to thaw and I was running out of days now. But Nolan’s could infact get a good bird for me, A free range, 14 pound, beautiful, big bird. :) He even had it a day early for us when we had to drive down to Durrow Thursday night. I can’t even tell you how happy I was to have this beautiful bird to eat the next day :)
I did alot of prep work Thursday night too. All my vegetables chopped, my stuffing bread toasted, my rolls and pie were completely finished, and the candy caramels were all wrapped up in a tin with the pumpkin spiced rugelach. The rugelachs were completely improvised out of pie scraps, leftover pumpkin puree and spices, and they were one of my favorite treats.
We loaded up the car, picked up the turkey, and drove an hour to Durrow. Actually I didn’t have much else to do to get it all ready but I still did a bit of running around the kitchen sweating up a storm. The turkey went in around 3. I assembled the stuffing, roasted the vegetables, mashed the mash, dressed the kale salad, and viola 4 hours later the turkey came out. Sheila poured me a big glass of red wine and carved the turkey for me. Orowan helped me taste the turkey, you know, just to be sure it was edible. We all made our plates and tucked in. It was pure Thanksgiving Magic. After the meal everyone spread out to sleep or warm up in the sitting room and watch the Toy Show, a new tradition for me.
I am so very Thankful for Dec’s family. They have received me so openly into their life. In so many ways they have made Ireland more familiar for me. Sometimes its people and places we miss but sometimes its just that you miss the familiar things in the community that you just simply know. That’s where having a great family over here in Ireland helps. The Murphy’s are my first community of Ireland so I wanted to thank them with a great big traditional feast of gratitude. I think my own Patty family in Texas would be proud.
Thanksgiving also coincided with a very important weekend for me and Dec. On Saturday December 1st 2012 we met for the first time. Now I have yet to decide whether this is our actual anniversary, but it is an anniversary none the less. I met him that day a full year ago on the wild coast of Ireland in a quite hostel. The fall and winter have always been my favorite time of year and now I have one more big reason why. I am ever grateful that I met Dec. He inspires me every morning to be a better human being. He reminds me to not take things so seriously and to be childlike in wonder and awe of the beauty of the world. He has such a pure connection to animals that I love. He is the biggest blessing I have ever been given in my life. So this Thanksgiving I am so blessed and grateful to be marrying him in less than a month. I couldn’t be more excited to share my journey with him by my side.
On Saturday my only wish was for Dec to take me for a walk in Durrow. The area is famous for its beautiful walks in the woods. One called The Leafy Loop is just pure magic. We went all the way up to the top of Durrow on a steep road Dec used to bike down, terrifyingly enough. Then down through the neighbor’s land where the cows were grazing. We walked past Dec’s field and talked about how cool it would be to live there with animals as our neighbors. Goats and chickens and ducks and maybe a cow. In Naas we have a Chinese take-away as our neighbor and for the record it smells nicer than the cow pastures but we would trade it in a hot minute. For the time being though home is this little chilly one bedroom apartment next door to the Chinese and sometimes I am Thankful for that too :)