What an odd fall season this has been so far. Really, really odd I tell you.
Though September brisked by as usual, she was abnormally warm; so warm she felt more like an extension of summer than the beginning of fall. And October…October was really unsure of herself this year. One day she felt like being warm, the next she’d have you in a scarf and boots. Who did she think she was? Not to mention, she waited until the very end of her reign to unmask the reddish and orangey hues of the leaves we could have been enjoying all fall. And now, NOW it’s November which means the cold gusts of wind that have finally set in are blowing all the gorgeous leaves off of the trees. Well, you know what fall? I need more time. I need more time to enjoy the leaves. We all do.
But it isn’t just the leaves that are coming and going, you see, this year it’s a whole lot more than that.
As I told you, my family decided to have early Thanksgiving this year. I withheld sharing the reason in the last post because it was irrelevant and I didn’t want to share too much personal information about my family. No offense dear readers, but before now, I didn’t think it was any of your business. The only things I ever felt compelled to share with you were stories about myself and the food I have enjoyed or attempted to make; not my family’s business.
Well this time, they are one in the same. This time my family’s story has affected what I’ve been eating, when I’ve been eating it, and what I’ve enjoyed the most from it all. So I’ve decided to give you a crash course about my family: I have a niece. Actually, I have a sister-in-law, two brothers, a mother, and a father (and much much more), but I have an incredibly wonderful 16-month-old niece who I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to watch grow everyday and… she is moving. Before Thanksgiving.
So what does a family who has always lived in the same city of the world (college years not withstanding) do when a holiday of food and togetherness leaves them 2/3 of a country apart? Changes the holiday of course. And so we celebrated Thanksgiving on November 4th.
And this wasn’t your half-assed “it’s not really Thanksgiving but we’re pretending it is so we’ll serve some turkey for dinner” Thanksgiving. This was an all out feast of a November 4th. Aunts were there, uncles, cousins…even my grandpa and his wife flew in from Florida. And thanks to my mom for planning it and getting everyone together, there was stuffing, and tzimmes*, and rice noodle casserole, and green beans, and cranberry sauce, and meatballs, and lots and lots of turkey too.
And we all enjoyed it, even my niece. For a little girl, she can really throw back the turkey; she couldn’t gobble it up fast enough. But more importantly, I’m just glad I was there to watch her enjoy her first (for all intents and purposes – at 5 months old, you don’t really eat much turkey) Thanksgiving.
And so, it came and went, Thanksgiving. Just like the leaves, it seems the recipes were just beginning to surface. And now when I read about the rest of the American food bloggers out there anxiously awaiting their Thanksgiving cooking, I can’t help but feel a little bit sad. The excitement of November has already passed.
But the part that saddens me the most about this odd, odd season is that when it ends (if all goes according to schedule – which at this point we really can’t assume) my brother, sister-in-law, and niece will be a 4.5 hour flight away. I won’t be able to enjoy my brother and sister-in-law’s cooking nearly as often anymore. My brother’s love for cooking has made him a fantastic cook. And lately he’s been trying out more recipes, and experimenting with different types of cuisine. I’m going to miss the in-person enthusiasm my sister-in-law always shows for Recipe4Living, and her constant flow of recipes like this one and this one. Of course she can still submit them or send me recipes, but I won’t be there to taste them first.
And then of course, there is nothing in the world like watching a 1 year old discover different foods for the first time, especially my niece. She has such an appreciation for food, it’s downright inspiring. Almost every bite of turkey was followed by a “yummm”or an “mmmm” and she nearly ate a whole plate of rice noodle casserole herself.
So like I said, I need more time. We all do.
-Hillary, off to enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers that she’ll tell you more about later this week.
*Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish dish made from carrots, sweet potatoes, prunes and stewed beef.