I couldn’t sleep last night. I don’t know why but I tossed and turned all night. At various times I would finally give up and look at my phone. As I scrolled through my feeds, picture after picture of mostly brown Thanksgiving dinners…usually with a splash of cranberry red, showed up over and over and over. I found it enormously comforting and truly endearing. There is no other holiday in which so many follow the exact same guidelines. And although this was certainly I year in which I could fully support jettisoning the traditional, it seems many of us clung to that very tradition. Smaller tables but the same menu.

Many years, I try to vary the menu a bit, experimenting with this or that recipe. Not this year, I even went back to my childhood Thanksgiving green vegetable side of peas with onions, although it was some of Farmer Greg’s green onions and not the baby (pearl) onions of my youth. I didn’t make the gravy ahead as I sometimes do, I did it the old fashioned way in the turkey pan. It was just that kind of year.

Normally, with a larger crowd, I add a squash or sweet potato dish, and a second green vegetable or salad. This year it was the full on traditional meal of my childhood…albeit without the squash and homemade cranberry sauce instead of the canned stuff (sorry, Debbie). It was lovely.

Owen and Trinity didn’t get here until close to six and Leo was out chasing down some train heritage unit for much of the day so we felt like erstwhile empty nesters. It was nice though. We’d watch a little Hallmark movie, get up and cook, watch a little Hallmark movie, get up and cook some, and so on.

The verdict:

The turkey. Ok, it’s not pretty the way I have made it the last two years but it is incredibly succulent. Upside down at 450 degrees. My 20 lb turkey took two hours and was (and is) delicious.

Mashed potatoes. We peeled and cooked them but Owen was in charge of the actual mashing. He did a stellar job.

Stuffing. Well, it was on the side….upside down doesn’t really suit stuffing the dressing inside. I bought a gluten-free stuffing mix. It was, well, not bad. No gluten means you don’t really get the chew, but I still liked it. Just celery, spicy sausage, butter and chicken broth with it.

Peas. No wonder my mother made peas a lot. So damn easy. And as I mentioned before, we’re going through a pea renaissance.

Cranberry sauce. Simple homemade sauce with a good dash of cloves and cinnamon.

I didn’t even take many pictures. How unlike me! So no pretty pictures of my flint goblets and my mother’s china. Next time.