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How was your Thanksgiving?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

First I have to tell you that I've sent this post on a new platform or whatever the term is. I'm hoping this will help me to reach a wider audience and to make my images to look better. You'll have to hit a button to read the whole thing and I hope you will!

Back to Thanksgiving. We had a nice quiet time in Brooklyn, with Jessie and Lee, Molly and Theo and Harvey and Jane, known as Zadie and GrandJane. This was Jessie and Lee's first Thanksgiving as hosts and it was a triumph.

Lee grilled a bourbon glazed turkey and carved it under Finn's direction.

carving the turkey, cute Berne-doodle dog

Jessie organized everything and made the mashed potatoes and these gorgeous carrots with lemon, pistachios and pomegranate glaze. They look great on the blue and white, don't you think? They were delicious.

blue and white platter with roasted carrots

I brought the Cranberry Orange Relish and the Cole Slaw, which some people find an odd addition but was mandatory for all Swanson family celebrations.

Cranberry orange relish in a bowl

I called my sister-in-law Donna to remind me of Mom's recipe which came from my grandmother, Louise. Donna says she could never make coleslaw like Mom's, because she couldn't believe how much mayonaise it took. My kids preferred Mom's cooking to mine in every respect except that she put too much mayo on the sandwiches.

To add my own touch I put in red cabbage, partly because it came already shredded, and red and yellow peppers, in addition to the green. Alan said that was absolute heresy. Oh well.

Cole slaw

I also brought the sweet potatoes. I mash them with a little orange juice and lots of butter--very simple. I asked Jessie if she'd like me to top them with marshmallows--we've never done it before but maybe the kids would like it, and she said, "That's not a road I want to go down." I think she's wise.

Molly set the table.

thanksgiving table, black plates, white tablecloth, flowers and candles

On Wednesday the NY Times said in an article about how to be a helpful guest, "don't ask if you can help but show up ready to dive in and bring your own apron so your host doesn't have to hunt for one--better yet, wear your apron and just dive in.So I did.

smiling woman in blue apron, red sweater, holding wine glass

Of course the wine glass may undermine the message about hard work but when I texted Jessie the next day to say great job she thanked me for my help and "for the epic dishwashing!" My grandfather and then my father used to say, "Let the job talk to you!" that is, see what needs to be done and do it with our being asked--and there were a lot of dishes! This brings back more memories of Mom and a reminder that the loved ones we lose are never far, and they come back to us in surprising and delightful ways. Mom despaired of me and my housekeeping skills but she never gave up trying to reform me. I remember her saying, "In the morning sit up in bed and pull the sheets and blankets up nice and straight and then just slip out and the bed will be all made." and, "Clean up as you go along and you won't be faced with a mess when you want to sit down and eat." and, "If you have one place for your keys and always put them there you'll never waste time searching for them."

Here are my keys a shelf in the hall, right by the door, and if they're not there I know they're in my coat pocket.

house keys, wooden penguin, Kurt Vonnegut book

Now when I'm rushing out and find my keys where they belong, or when I say good night to my clean kitchen I also say, "You see Mom? I did hear you." I'm grateful she never gave up on me.

Last week I said I was going to put green wallpaper behind my Red House with Egret and I did.

Here it is.

detailed pen & Ink drawing of a red house, green wall paper and a white Egret or Crane

What do you think? To Christmas-y? I just noticed that the house leans a bit to the left and that reminds me of my Dad who once said of my work, "I like how you get things kind of wonky." I also gave the bird a little real estate to stand on. I'm thinking of putting in a frog as well. We'll see.

Have a great weekend and remember, Monday, December 4,is Saint Barbara's Day. How will you celebrate?

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Dec 02, 2023

I like your new platform and the turkey looked delicious as did the wine 😀


Dec 02, 2023

Great post and a great new platform. Congratulations for continuing to evolve. My big Thanksgiving experiment this year was pecan pie with maple syrup instead of Karo. A huge success! Nancy

Replying to

That sounds great and much more organic--although I don'tactually know what Karo is made of.


Dec 01, 2023

I LOVE reading your slice of life. So charming and relatable!!


How wonderful, Barbara, congrats on your new platform, and I love that your keys have all the penguins for company!


I will celebrate St. Barbara's Day by rereading this column! I LOVED it! Happy Thanksgiving Christmas!

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