some of what I learned on Thanksgiving this year


gluten-free stuffing, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

 

Every day, I learn more. And from yesterday’s festivities:

– make the pumpkin pies the night before Thanksgiving. Usually, I do this, without fail. This year, I was so busy writing and making cranberry relish and catching up on correspondence that I forgot. Just plain forgot! This is why I woke up at 7:12 in the morning, with a start, and bolted into the kitchen to make a pie crust, almost literally in my sleep.

– if you run out of rice flour for that pie crust, a little teff holds it all together. The crust will be beige-brown before you bake it, but it will taste just as good.

– waiting two hours in a ferry line to reach Vashon is infinitely better with the Chef in the car. Between kissing, laughing, telling stories of childhood Thanksgivings, and listening to familiar music, that time raced past us like the fat raindrops on the windowsill.

– instead of worrying about composing a shot carefully, raise the camera to your eyes to capture it just as you see it. That’s what the Chef did in this shot of the turbulent water off the front of the boat, spontaneously. Beautiful.

– when you run out of regular sugar, powdered sugar really won’t substitute in a pie. I should have remembered, because the morning before I had to use powdered sugar in the Chef’s coffee. He said it made no difference. In a pumpkin pie, it makes a difference. Later in the day, Elliott took a bite of my pumpkin pie, turned to his mother, and said, “I want a piece of our pie, Mama.” Oh well. At least it wasn’t the gluten-free crust he did not like.

– if you have another piece of the only slightly sweetened pumpkin pie, it actually starts to taste better than the regular pie. We eat too much sugar anyway. Rearrange your taste buds and you don’t miss the sugar.

– gluten-free stuffing, cooked with toasted cubes of the baguettes from the Gluten-free Pantry’s French bread and pizza crust mix, is tremendous. Just tremendous. No one missed the gluten.

– watching your one true love and your brother in the kitchen, cooking together, can stop your heart with happiness, for a moment.

– the notion that one has to rise at five am to put the turkey in the oven — thus increasing the myth of mother as martyr — is poppycock. The Chef cooked our turkey in just about two hours, and it was golden-brown and juicy.

– family feasts are moments of grace, when you are with the right people, in the right moment. That split second before everyone raises the forks and digs in? That is bliss.

– gluten-free gravy that your fiance cooked, encircling mashed potatoes made from little butterballs that your brother grew in his garden, is a sight that will remain in the mind forever.

– three-year-old nephews can dominate a family dinner with more delight than any other person.

– when said three-year-old nephew asks you and your honey (his soon-to-be uncle) to pretend to eat baked slugs, stinky socks, limburger cheese, and piles of wasabi, you throw yourself into it and contort your face, just to hear him laugh. When you look over and see your favorite man beside you, holding your hand, and scrunching up his face to look as much a fool as you do, you fall in love with him even more.

– it is possible to have an entirely gluten-free, gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, with not a hint of deprivation, and everything tasting of love.

– your first Thanksgiving with the love of your life, with your family whom you adore, all of them together, as natural as breathing? Joy.

And how was your Thanksgiving?

12 comments on “some of what I learned on Thanksgiving this year

  1. maleah

    I followed your gluten free stuffing recipe and it was wonderful! It smelled much better than it’s glutenous counterpart. Thanks for being such a great resource!

  2. Anonymous

    That was a really nice chronicle of events — love all the photos too. Not sure if I’d care for that boat ride much though, as I fear it would not leave me in a state of feeling hungry by the time it was over. :)

  3. The Chef

    This Thanksgiving was right up there with the ones I had growing up in Colorado. The difference with this one, I had it with my new family. (Yes, this is the Chef!) Even though I cooked, I did it for the love I have for my new family. As much as I love the family I have, I love this one just as much.

    Something new, a new beginning.….. Just as it is with my gluten-free girl. She is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

    I love reading all the responses that we have received from all of you. That means a lot to us.

    My Sweet Pea.….…. You are the dearest thing to ever be a part of my life… I look foward to many more holidays with my and your family.

    I love you so much!

    The Chef.….……

  4. Anonymous

    Ah chef you’ve brought tears to my eyes. You two are so lucky to have each other and be so in love.

    Your Thanksgiving Day sounds great. I love spending time with my family, unfortunately I rarely get to see my sister as she lives in the US.

  5. evil cake lady

    wonderful post about your thanksgiving–i found your blog via the gluten free flickr pool.

    we had a GF thanksgiving too with cornbread stuffing, gravy, turkey, mashed potatoes, two GF pies, stuffed mushrooms, GF crackers and dip…you are so correct when you say it is possible to have a GF thanksgiving with no sense of deprivation!

    my roommate and our best friend are GF and they have told me my next task is to figure out GF danish…

    cheers, ECL

  6. Lucy

    Hey Gluten Free Girl,

    I am only 16 years old, a mediocre cook, and someone often left with little hope and promise. The world seems much to big and cruel, leaving me with little belief in good luck. But your little vignettes and tales and and fragments of joy take me somewhere else; you’ve created a little piece of heaven, and sometimes hopping on for your extraordinary ride is all I need to smile.

    I know we have little in common, but something about the way you write makes me feel that you care for all your readers, however distant from you. I am not GF (although a beloved stepmother is, whose difficulties I have only recently come to comperehend with your help). Although I, too, love words and meals like you, I see myself as being on the bottom rung of a ladder you’ve managed to ascend to the top of. Your posts help me to scratch out a little corner of faith in the crazy chaos of earth. Your blossoming prose warms me up from inside and your total at-one-ness with yourself leaves me wide-eyed in awe. Your posts fill me with appreciation for the simple pleasure in life, and the story of your romance inspires a soft furore in the heart of someone who has never been in love.

    Thank you for sharing yourself with the world so unabashedly. I would say good luck — but everything about your smile and your story tells me that the kind of luck you have doesn’t come from the good fortune of fate, but rather from a complete wholeness within. So I can only hope you continue to grow and flourish, hugging people into your life from all corners of the globe. Deep down I know for sure you will.

    Lots of love and thanks again.

  7. Diosa

    I had a wonderful gluten-free/dairy free thanksgiving. I cooked up a food fest of butternut squash & apple bisque, salad, turkey, apple cranberry stuffing (I soaked dried cranberries and apples in port for a few hours, then blended with sausage and cauliflower (I can’t eat rice or soy, and corn is dodgy, so bread stuffing is out of the question), two types of potatoes, 3 veggies, a glurenfree, dairyfree apple tart with a caramel sauce (potato milk based), English Trifle with a gluten free, dairy free sponge cake, dairy free custard and a potato milk (vegan) whipped cream. I was in total heaven.

  8. Colette

    i’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and you just keep reminding me how much i miss the seattle area! im off at school in montreal and sadly missed thanksgiving, but your entries and that lovely picture of the storm on the ferry are helping to make it better. anyway, happy holidays and keep up the great cooking! take care.

  9. stephanie e. in ohio

    Well, congratulations!!! I thought I had read all of your posts in recent months, but I must have missed the announcement…I am noticing here–your fiance…your nephew’s soon-to-be uncle–CONGRATULATIONS! And, Happy Thanksgiving…

  10. shuna fish lydon

    “- if you have another piece of the only slightly sweetened pumpkin pie, it actually starts to taste better than the regular pie. We eat too much sugar anyway. Rearrange your taste buds and you don’t miss the sugar.”

    this is completely true. this year my punkin pie was redolent of spices, but TASTED of organic, heirloom squash! And it’s great for breakfast the next day too.

  11. Tea

    Oh my dear Shauna and the Chef (what sweet comments, Dan!). You guys make me smile. That photo of you two on the ferry is one for the album. You both look gorgeous and glowing, full of life and love. Big hugs to you both. So sorry I missed Dan this time around. But soon, yes (yes!).

    And for Lucy, above. Hang in there–it gets better, I promise.

  12. revi

    I am so utterly jealous of your turkey. Twas my first year cooking one, as no one else in my family is tested for CD yet, and so.. as with most of my cooking experiments, it was a breath away from disaster.

    Two hours? I thought only Safeway could do that! ;)