He had mentioned being a bit disappointed that we were in fact going to be alone, and both of us realized that our friends, the ones we have spent Thanksgiving with for the last 4 years were in fact not with us.
Despite missing everyone, I had really started to look forward to our solo time together about a week out from the actual day. I have been so awed by our lives here, so thrilled by watching it unfold and also by how our home is slowly but surely coming together, that I felt a dinner here by ourselves would be a Pause. It would be a moment in time to really stop and reflect on the bounty. Together.
I’ve been wanting to break down what I consider to be Food Practice and because this meal was so classically that for me, I’m sharing it here for this meal. Soon, I’ll post Food Practice Defined.
Thanksgiving dinner is typically about the gathering together of family and friends you love, breaking bread and the general theme and practice of giving thanks for the bounty from the year. It’s truly my favorite holiday and it’s one I prefer to spend with a table full of people. This one would be different. Having just moved here to Maui, we have friends, but we are quite far from our usual tribe of Thanksgiving family.
My intention for this meal was to create a space for both of us to come together and really take a pause in our lives and savor where we were, and how far we had come in our lives together. The intention was to make sure it looked, felt and tasted different then any other typical dinner alone together here at home and instill a sense of celebration.
I had the house to myself for a good part of the day. Jon had been working non stop for weeks and I encouraged him to go play. It was a lovely day out. I had planned the menu a few days prior and didn’t really have to start preparing until mid afternoon. The day had a lazy indulgent rhythm to it. From the moment I woke, I was in a state of savoring. Savoring the light that comes through our home, the constant lulling sound of the wind blowing through the palm trees outside, the space of our home and how much I love the way it holds us. These days its easy to be in a state of gratitude, but on this particular day, I really wanted to take in the scope of our lives. So, not only was there a slower pace to the things I did, but a thoughtful tone as well. Remembering the path we had taken as a couple to reach this place in our lives while holding the joy of what WAS right in that moment, became the backdrop for everything I did that day.
I found that it felt more challenging coming up with a menu for just two people then it is for a big group. Somehow creating a small and concise menu seemed counter intuitive, but there was only so much two people could eat! In the end this is what I came up with:
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Quinoa Stuffing – with cranberries, cashews, garlic, shallots and kale
- Roasted Vegetables – brussel sprouts, baby carrots and leeks
- Fresh Greens Salad
- Gluten Free Bread with Butter
- Gluten Free Brownies and Organic Rice Milk for dessert
We have a massive kitchen counter that we eat at on a daily basis, but I wanted to set this meal apart somehow. The week prior to this we found a great small table with 4 chairs on Craig’s List that we placed out on the Lanai (deck). I had Jon bring that into the middle of the living room and I arranged it for dinner. Because the lights were going to be dim throughout the house, I chose a large India scarf with reflecting beads on it as the table cloth. The candles at the center of the table reflected softly off of the beads and it all just looked warm, intimate and celebratory. It was simple and lovely.
The meal itself was so lovely. The food was delicious and hinted at cooler weather and the earths bounty. What is it about dim candle light that makes talking over dinner a softer hushed song of words? We were relaxed soothed and feeling held in the intimacy of the glow of the candle flame. We spoke about the friends we have spent previous Thankgivings with and what we were grateful for in our lives. It was a point in history for us that we’ll remember forever. Our first Thanksgiving alone, in our first official home together. The whole thing was a celebratory prayer of thanks.
I love Thanksgiving!