there's not a lot of place for change at our thanksgiving dinner.

we have a menu.  turkey (heritage breed from the farm around the corner, prepared by dave according to a different recipe each year.  more delicious than any turkey you've ever tasted.  in my opinion.), mashed potatoes (5 pounds yukon gold.  in spite of my concern - every year - that we won't have enough, it's 5 pounds.  i made myself a note a few years back that reads "5 lbs is enough!"  and every year i follow my own instructions and i'm amazed.  and thankful for the advice.), stuffing, brussels sprouts (roasted along with carrots, parsnip, red onion, cloves of garlic, and rosemary.  a dish invented by my sister-in-law, and it's my favorite.), cranberries (my mom makes them fresh with citrus.  my kids - and, ahem, their mother - like the disgusting gelled kind from the can.  the disgusting gelled smooth kind from the can.  no pieces.), corn bread (an old martha recipe), corn scones (from moosewood).  and, for the past umpteen years there's been sauerkraut, which i think is a maryland thing.  but for the past umpteen years i'm the only one who has eaten the sauerkraut, so this year i decided to leave it off the menu, and i'm not sorry i did.  

also for the past umpteen years we've had on the menu a dish called: "mrs. bring's sweet potato pie."  mrs. bring is the mother of a long-ago ex-boyfriend of my husband's younger sister.  though the boyfriend is long long long gone, his mother's sweet potato pie has been a staple.  however, it's full-to-brimming with brown sugar and butter and more brown sugar and more butter and some cream and even though it gets rave reviews every year, and even though i long ago replaced the canned yams with fresh sweet potatoes and cut way down on the sugar, this year i decided to go with maple roasted sweet potatoes instead.  it was a subtle change, and we'll see if it sticks.  i won't know until this time next year.

and then there's pecan pie for dessert.  caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.  whatever other goodies make it onto the dessert table are a bonus, because it's all about the pecan pie, and this year there were two.  this year there was also fresh whipped cream which i forgot to serve, and which i've forgotten to serve at every meal since.

sometimes i feel sad that we're not spending september and october trolling magazines for exciting new recipes.  sometimes i'm longing for shallots roasting in balsamic vinaigrette like some awesome people i know.  but thursday night, when it was time to eat and everything was lined up on the buffet, i was overcome by the bounty.  the dining room credenza was full to overflowing and i was overwhelmed by tradition.  overjoyed to know that every year i can count - we all can count - on the same delicious dishes to fill the table and our plates and bellies on thanksgiving night.  and on friday and saturday too.  

overwhelmed.  overflowing.  overjoyed.  full and thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.

soaking up the last bits of thanksgiving weekend here with a long walk in the woods, some napping, lots of games, leftovers and tea, movies and knitting, dishes and laundry, family and friends, life and love.  and getting ready for the next thing, right around the corner.