HARVEST FESTIVALS like Thanksgiving are a chance to celebrate the abundance of Mother Earth, if not the universe. A large bird, such as a turkey can feed a number of people along with all the trimmings of this celebratory and traditional meal, which is most likely why the turkey became so popular for Thanksgiving. Some experts think the first American Thanksgiving dinner was served by the Pilgrims in 1621. Others credit the settlers of Virginia's Jamestown with celebrating the first Thanksgiving as their version of England's ancient Harvest Home Festival (also called Ingathering). Whether or not turkey was served as part of the first Thanksgiving meal, nobody knows for sure.
GREETING YOUR GUESTS at the dinner table with an ornament at their place setting will serve as an heirloom reminder of the meal for years to come. Even if it's not a turkey ornament, one that has a special significance for the season, in general or your guest, in particular is a welcoming gift. A small burlap bag is an attractive nest to coddle the ornament and once inside it, doubles as a perfect way for your guests to carry their new treasure home safely.
A SUMPTUOUS meal is a tried-and-true way of thanking the important people in your life for being a part of your journey. Gather friends and family alike for this important celebration. If you can't go home to be with your birth family, there are always a few friends that also can't go home and they will welcome the chance to celebrate the holiday. That's what friends are for. Give thanks to them.
|PROPER SETTING | A place setting with a surprise ornament such as this turkey is sure to be the start of a memorable meal. This beautiful antiqued mercury glass vintage-inspired collectible is made by KD Vintage. Starburst plate by Isaac Mizrahi for Target (past season).|
|ORNAMENT BOUNTY | Any unique ornament could fit the bill. It doesn't have to be a turkey. Just make sure it says something about your guest or evokes the autumnal celebration. It's important that you choose with the particular person in mind as a uniquely personal way to thank them. Feather dessert plate by Patch NYC at Target.|
|FAMILY PATINA | Nothing says tradition and heritage better than using something that is meaningful to you as a part of the meal. Letting your guests know about these symbolic gestures makes them resonant. I can't think of a better way to represent your personal family history than to use your parents old silver-plate like I have here. I've always loved the pattern my parents chose when they were married on December 23, 1941. Although not fine, this timeworn silverplate is one of my few cherished inheritances from them. I don't like to completely shine it to perfection, as I think the patina of a slight tarnish is quite beautiful. The pattern is Grenoble Silverplate by Onieda (1938).|
PROPER FEAST | If you don't fuss over many meals during the year, Thanksgiving is the time to do it. Devin and I invited only a couple of friends over this year (Devin did most of the cooking and I set the table and ran back and forth to the grocery for items we needed). We cooked from scratch two turkey breasts, green beans, scalloped sweet potatoes, stuffing and bought fresh cranberry/orange relish from Trader Joes and rolls from Publix. For dessert we had apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust and a traditional pumpkin pie, both with freshly (slightly-sweetened) whipped cream. After our meal, we brought in the Christmas season by watching the 1954 movie, White Christmas, a musical starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, always marveling at Vera's insanely tiny waist and incredible dancing ability. This was much more fun than falling for the crazier-than-ever antics surrounding Black Friday. There's still plenty of time to shop before Christmas. More thoughtful and unique gifts usually always come from small local businesses.
©2012 DARRYL MOLAND | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland
food by Devin Borden