Celebrating Thanksgiving with authentic flavor

Everyone has a dream, right? Some dreams are so big, you dare not think them out loud. But I did. I thought my dream out loud and now it is about to come true.

We are having our Thanksgiving celebration outdoors. In the woods. Branches overhead and leaves underfoot.


The forecast says partly cloudy with a high of 38, but you know how quickly the weather can change. It could be snow and a high of 20.

Who cares. We will celebrate outdoors like the first Thanksgiving.

Our son’s family is hosting. Their house is surrounded by woods and their kids live outside. Sometimes without shirts. They’ll be the ones who tough it out and make it all the way to the pumpkin pie.

There will be a wooden table made of long planks. It won’t be as sturdy as a Pilgrim table—it will be supported by sawhorses. The smart ones will aim for a seat in the middle. Our son asked if we wanted to sit on benches or stumps.

I told him to surprise us.

We are forgoing elaborate table settings with chargers, dinner plates, salad plates, dessert plates and stemware in favor of metal pie tins and mason jars. We’re taking rustic to a new high. Or a new low.

If this works out, I may have everyone write their name with a Sharpie on the bottom of their pie tin and use them for every get-together.

The table setting won’t be entirely void of frills. I’m bringing cloth napkins in a variety of fall colors. It is a myth that the Pilgrims were without vibrant colors. William Bradford’s journal describes “estates” which included clothing passed down to others. Colors of red, deep red and green are mentioned. I’m bringing napkins in those colors as well as mustard yellow and pumpkin orange. It will still be very first Thanksgivingish, although my napkins all have annoying polyester tags.

How our cooks bring their hot dishes is up to them but, in a concession to creature comforts, there will be power outlets in a carport for crockpots. Not to gloat, but I have a good collection of cast iron. Cast iron will save the day. Some of the food should still be slightly warm by the time we get it to our mouths.

I’m also bringing Jiffy Pop. That was at the first Thanksgiving; they just hadn’t branded it yet.

Our youngest sent a text with a factoid saying corn on the cob at the first Thanksgiving was tiny, about the size of a thumb. She wants to know if I’ll be bringing some. There was also fresh kill at the first Thanksgiving. I won’t be bringing that either.

There will probably be some grumbling about the cold, but I’m prepared to meet it head on – with a basket full of hand warmers.

Did I mention that I am sometimes alone in my ideas of what constitutes fun?

I may be eating alone, too.

Even if I am, I will be happy. And thankful.

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