standing in front of the stove

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Last night, Lu called out from the dining room, “Dada, can I help you make dinner?”

Of course, he said yes.

She’s often in the kitchen with us, chopping and stirring, pouring flour into the running stand mixer. But her interest in being there waxes and wanes. If she’s particularly entranced by a specific book, Lu would rather lean her upper body on the couch, her feet stretched out on the floor, stare at the pages, and talk out the story to herself than cook with us. (“Can I have a little privacy?” she’ll ask us, and we give that to her.) She eats well, makes up food in her own kitchen, and gives us ideas of what to make for dinner that week. We’re never worried about her interest in what interests us too.

But lately, she has been particularly interested in helping. Last week, she said after dinner, “May I help wash the dishes, please?” That was, of course, music to our ears. Yes, you may. So she stood on a chair, rubbing a sponge over a plate, singing a little song. It didn’t last longer than that evening but it was lovely. Yesterday, she and I made a date coffee cake for church together, before 7:30 in the morning. And last evening, she stood next to Danny on a chair, her arm around him, stirring tagliatelle in a pot, and whispering secrets to him about what we would be making for dessert. (Banana ice cream, made only with frozen bananas and maple syrup.) It was a good day in the kitchen.

This is the week most of us are talking about being in the kitchen. It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday, of course. Whether or not you like to cook, this is the holiday of standing in front of the stove.

I hope that it’s joyful for you all, somehow.

We’re hosting 18 people for dinner on Thursday. We don’t really have the space in our tiny dining room, so we’re moving it all to our new kitchen studio here on Vashon. (I’ll tell you more about that place soon.) We may have to pull over desks and set up card tables to seat everyone. And everyone will have to bring a chair or two. But there will be roasted heirloom turkey (with smoked legs), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts gratin, orange-roasted sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower with green olives and dates, crispy kale salad with dried sour cherries and a lime vinaigrette, wild rice salad with cashew cream, dinner rolls, cranberry chutney, olives, and pie (pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple-caramel pie, and chocolate meringue pie). I don’t believe that anyone will leave hungry. And it will all be grain-free and refined-sugar-free, with much of it dairy-free too.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of standing in front of the stove we need to do to pull off this feast. You have cooking to do too.

So we would like to remind you about our gluten-free Thanksgiving baking iPad app and the digital download available for those of you who do not have an iPad.

And mostly, we’d like to say we hope you have a wonderful day. I hope the meal is delicious, the conversation relaxed, and there are board games and long walks and dance parties with your family or friends. We could all use a day off, right?

We’ll be back next week with lots of good food for you, folks. Happy Thanksgiving.

23 comments on “standing in front of the stove

  1. phoebe

    too cute, can’t take it. having a no children (by choice) some stories are just ridiculously sweet. this is one of them… whispering about dessert… happy week! we all know it’s the company and not the space that makes the memories.

  2. Bonnie

    What a beautiful picture! Passing along cooking skills to children and grandchildren is a source of great joy and contentment. I wish you and the family a most wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

  3. Marybeth Nacey

    Happy day to you as well! I will be making your stuffing. so sweet and I love the big picture of Julia on your fridge!

  4. Melissa Carr

    Love it! My 3YO daughter loves to help! She is now trying to make her own sandwiches:) I let her pour ingredients in and we go over the measurements in the numbers.….

  5. Barbara

    I think without Danny in the picture Lu would be the mirror image of Julia Child in that photo. Beautiful!

  6. Claudine

    Hi Miss Shauna, it’s Sydney from VT (via mom). I LOVE Lucy’s new haircut ~ she looks like a pixie fairy! Happy GF Thanksgiving :) We’ll be making your stuffing recipe, like we do every year. Can’t wait.

    1. shauna

      Hello, Sydney! Lucy says she loved playing in that boat with you. Happy gluten-free Thanksgiving to you!

  7. Lauren

    I love it. Oh that wild rice salad sounds incredible. Good for Lucy to love books as much as she does and of course cooking.

    Already had Thanksgiving with my parents because of our schedules. The meat guy laughed when I said I needed to order a turkey for 3 people. “Is that it?!” “Yes, that’s it.” For us it was quality and not quantity. Garlic mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, corn bread and pumpkin pie, what’s not to love? The app really helped. Thanks!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Joanne Armenio

    Thanks for all the great tips for Thanksgiving! Looking forward to hearing about your kitchen! Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Bliss

    Lots to be thankful for, for sure! Don’t know when Lu got that new haircut but is it positively perfect!

  10. Esther

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! What a beautiful photo. Your daughter looks like she’s telling her father the most beautiful secret. And I love her sassy hairdo!

  11. Elizabeth

    That’s a really beautiful photo of Danny and Lu — his gentle fatherness comes through so clearly! Lu is one lucky girl. Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Liz

    I love the photo, and Lucy’s new haircut is beautiful and seems to suit her well.

    Happy Thanksgiving from Brooklyn.

  13. Jessie Harrold

    What a beautiful image you paint, Shauna! I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. I cannot wait to be able to share my joy of cooking more with my daughter. She’s 23 months, and has just taken a liking to whisking a bowl of water, sitting on the kitchen tile while I cook dinner. Everything ends up soaking wet, but it is so special to see her stirring away, just like she sees me do.

  14. Lisa

    Hello Ahern family! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I just wanted to say a big “thank you” for your Thanksgiving app. This is the 2nd year I have made the wonderful pumpkin cheesecake (with gluten-free gingersnap cookies for the crust!) and it was fabulous, just like last year. I also made the apple walnut cake and…OH MY GOODNESS. This might be my favorite recipe from you, ever! I can’t even explain how good this cake tastes except to say that it’s like a cross between cake, shortbread, and marzipan with the honeyed walnuts and apples. It was heaven on a plate! I will be making this again and again and not just for the holidays. Thank you for another recipe staple in my gluten-free repertoire. Thank you for all you do!