Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving


Hello! Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! Mine was wonderful. I don't have many words today.   I tried but I'm in a bit of a sour mood regarding something completely unrelated to Thanksgiving and it was creeping in and throwing things way off.  Here is an excerpt of what I started to write in what was supposed to be a Thanksgiving post that turned rant:

"...I told her she’s free to do whatever she wants and also suffer the consequences.  It was a classic WASP threat said with an icy stare and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.  The kind where you clear all distractions, turn toward, and stand your ground without moving an inch.  She might need one wayward holiday to learn.  Who knows, her chart is mostly Gemini..."

"...We all know what happens to those people when they stay like that.  They get mauled by bears camping or hit by cars running or have strokes giving elitist lectures to their fat friends.  Then the fat friends meet for happy hour and talk about how the stress of staying thin and smelling bad because they’re afraid of aluminum is what led to the stroke.  Then we order some potato skins and a half priced but still over-priced bottle of wine..."
"...Well, the reasons are many.  Mainly I don’t want to exploit little souls so whatever vapid husband I have and I can have cute Christmas cards..."

Yes, my Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome (SOS) is flaring up.  I'll probably post that at some other time but I haven't made enough sense of it.  So today we'll go with more pictures than words, a very rare occurrence.  I'm going to take Barbie on a looooong walk, and work on Christmas decorating and get rid of my bad vibes.  
The day started with a casual breakfast and watching the parade.  I kind of hate the parade but I refuse to miss a moment.
Do you watch it?  My favorite element is the extreme awkwardness of the lip-synching performers + the on-float
extras who just sway and wave their hands. 

Whatever was left I used as garnishes later! I couldn't love my Thanksgiving plates more.  
Barbie claiming a good seat early

Though the lure of a warm fire proved too hard to resist


-The silver was my grandmother's.  I inherited it by force, a tactic some legal experts call theft. It would have been liquidated otherwise.  
-Fuck anyone who liquidates family silver.
-The glassware is a mix of Fostoria and good ol' Libbey.  The Fostoria glasses are all in the color Topaz, but not all the same pattern.  The wine glasses are Fostoria #6007, if you see them in Topaz, let me know.  They were my Great Grandmother's.  I collected the water/ice tea glasses in thrift stores and eBay.  

-Fostoria's Topaz is a surprisingly versatile color as it works in every season.
My mom made the napkins.  They're a beautiful linen

-The placemats are collected vintage 
The dinner plates are Doulton before Royal Appointment, pattern Watteau. I loooooove them.
More commonly, they have a romance scene in the middle.  I love the white center and decorated border. 
My dome finally got its big moment! I cooked two turkeys.  One sous vide, which was superior in taste and so much easier...

and one roasted whole to look beautiful.  I carved it for leftovers.  I will admit, the house smelled amazing with the roasting
turkey, something a sous vide turkey can't compete with. 

If you don't have one already, I highly suggest an electric carving knife before next Thanksgiving.  So much easier!
Also, Anova has a Black Friday sale going on and sous vides are $99.  A very good deal considering my first SV unit in 2012
was almost $400.  

Yes, this was quite the fire hazard.  I kept a close eye and snuffer nearby. There is some blackened bittersweet.  That's okay.

Not sure if the scale really shows here, but that bowl is massive.  There are 4.5 dozen roses in there.  Note this is my grandpa's place setting, he requires a lot of butter.  I have trouble finding bowls that are large enough in diameter but not 
too tall.  This one is just right.  13 inches in diameter and 4 inch sidewalls.  The flowers are just below line of sight, so
there is no obstruction in view of conversation.  
Oh I feel calmer already.  Please please tell me about your Thanksgiving?  How did it go? What was the disaster?  There's usually at least one.  Thank you so much for reading this year, I so enjoyed it.  A blog is only fun when people read and I really appreciate all of you who indulge me.  I think I might do Christmas this year, too.  Christmas is a very different creature from Thanksgiving in my family... 

141 comments:

  1. Well, one thing I know for sure. In my next life, I'm coming back as Barbie.

    We had a mash-up Thanksgiving, and it was lovely. My sister agreed to host, which meant she did not have to cook, but she did have to clean the house and polish the silver and iron the tablecloth, etc. My niece cooked the main dish, which was a chicken in artichokes and mushrooms. No turkey. All I had to do were the sides, so I did three: roasted turnips in a citrus-miso glaze, honey-citrus glazed carrots, and roasted brussel sprouts. Waldorf salad for dessert! And it was yummy, and no one was exhausted, and we sat around the table for 5 hours and just talked.

    Funny enough, we had a discussion about the "family silver" as well. I told my sister (who is contemplating that dreadful "downsizing") to keep it and use it every day, together with her beautiful dishes. If something breaks, it breaks. You can't sell the stuff for anything near what it is worth, and no one else will love it as much as you do.

    Beautiful tables and tableaus, Stephen! So much nicer than anything I saw in the magazines this year.

    Jill

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    1. Thank you so much, Jill! Your Thanksgiving sounds absolutely fabulous. No need for turkey, a chicken stands in beautifully! Absolutely love that you gave your sister that advice. Do you know how gracious that is? So many would calculate their share and demand something tasteless like they be paid for it! It is a shame that often the love for heirlooms skips a generation. Neither of my parents care much for heirloom antiques and I go mad for them. Luckily I was old enough to assert ownership but often these divisions are done when the kids are young. So glad you had such a nice holiday! Barbie lives well indeed!

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  2. STEPHEN, OMG!! I agree- this is the most beautiful Thanksgiving setting I have seen. Our Thanksgiving had some hiccups, to be sure, but we enjoyed it to the max. Thanks sooo much for the compliment, on our table setting. I just adore how you respond to all your readers, and make us feel special.

    In the lull after all that cooking, I went back and read EVERY SINGLE one of your blog posts. So fun to see Barbie growing up, she is so gorgeous. And your Salon. And all your wonderful recipes {cocktails}.

    I hope "things" are getting better. Ciao, Robin

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    1. Thank you so much! I can't understand why anyone would write a blog and not interact with the people who make it worth writing! What is the point? Just write a diary! Haha oh gosh I haven't re-read most of them since writing. Maybe I should! Things are much better!

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    2. Stephen, my sisters and I seem to lack the acquisitive inheritance gene. When I was cleaning out my father's last apartment, my sisters were "helping" by saying about every big and little thing: "Someone should keep that." So I told them: "The next person who says 'someone should keep that' has to be the one to keep it." That shut 'em up!

      Jill

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  3. SAJ you bring such beauty to the world and thank you. I love your photos and appreciate what it takes to create such elegance. As far as Thanksgiving, my husband I did all the cooking. My dressing turned out great. I used an artisan bread from the Jungle Jim bakery that was day old and 75 % price reduction. I cubed the bread and poured melted butter over it. Then baked the cubes in the oven the night before. Heaven they were delicious just like that. However the next day I completed the dressing and the recipe is a keeper. Homemade cranberry sauce thumbs up and the pumpkin roll with cream cheeses filing was wonderful the great thing about the pumpkin roll is that it can be made in advance and frozen. Sweet potatoes were roasted and the turkey breast had a garlic rub which I love. Also the biscuits from the King Arthur website turned out well. Green beans were sautéed with shallots, almonds and a touch of lemon juice. We had a Plunger Head red wine. That label is crazy on the bottle, but the wine was tasty.

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    1. Thank you so so much! Sounds like your day came together beautifully! I really need to go to Jungle Jim's! Maybe we should meet there sometime and then go to the Le Creuset outlets and antique stores in Lebanon! Haha

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    2. That would be great fun. Jungle Jim's at 8 or 9 am and then Le Cruest and then Lebanon. Now that I can free up my weekdays since our office decided to take the early retirement deal, you can name the day.

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  4. MY SOUP was a DISASTER.........how could a potato /leek soup be TERRIBLE?I did use MORE potatoes than called for could that be it?
    Other than that EVERYTHING was DELICIOUS!I use ELLIe's cookbook this was year THREE!EVERYTHING TURNS OUT BEAUTIFULLY........the YOLANDA raw meat dish I did take out of the refrigerator a little too soon.............but it was FINE.It is NOT really RAW MEAT but that is what the son's thought it was year ONE!
    YOUR TABLE WAS FANTASTIC!
    THOSE PLATES..............I GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    NO, I did NOT get the size of the red roses........BOWL!THANKS for pointing THAT OUT!
    TWO TURKEYS!!!!!!!
    The ITALIAN did ours again in the PIZZA oven.........1 hour 15 minutes!The MOST delicious TURKEY EVER..................
    I want him to do ANOTHER one in about two weeks time!Why is it we only eat TURKEY ONCE A YEAR!?
    I ate MORE last night than on THURSDAY........always BETTER night TWO in my opinion!
    ONWARD to CHRISTMAS............still think about THAT TABLE you made with the branches........That was when I first GOT ONBOARD HERE!How many years ago was that?
    Seems like YESTERDAY!
    XX

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    1. Thank you so much! Oh my gosh I would so love to have a pizza oven!! I'm so jealous. do you know hats funny? I felt like the leeks I bought this week had bad flavor! It could be that? Did you have enough wine in the soup? I think soups like that need a strong acid presence. I kinda want to make another hedge table this year! That was Christmas 2014!

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  5. We had a somewhat non-traditional meal @ my brother-in-law's house. Everything was good except for a batch of coleslaw that my sister-in-law made. No flavor, which was really a surprise.

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    1. So glad to hear that! Coleslaw can go so bad! For me it needs a lot of apple cider vinegar and sugar!

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  6. Stephen...it is a dull rainy day here and your post has lifted me up!
    LOVE your decor and table setting...the food looks amazing!!!!!
    Oh my Veranda magazine needs to see this post...you have so much talent.
    Thank you...and I hope you are feeling better after your walk with Barbie.

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    1. Thank you so much!! I am much better thank you! I absolutely love Veranda. Such a special magazine, especially the old ones! I feel like that's my opinion on all magazines!

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  7. What a lovely arrangement, all of it. I am in love with the bittersweet entwined with the candles, gorgeous.

    Since I didn't cook this year, I took extra time with the applie pie and Maple cheesecake and oreo cheesecake brownies for the kids who want fun desserts - they were delicious and done just right. My sister in Law had the affair catered so the food was brought in. It was very good except for the -not-home-made thing, and... the stuffing was pure mush. I mean it looked like it went through a blender, never saw that before and.. bleh the consistency. Other than that!.. lovely day spent with family.

    Barbie, what a beautiful girl she is.

    I spent yesterday decorating the house for Christmas, will share that on the blog shortly. Looking forward to what you do for Christmas at YOUR house!


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    1. Thank you so much! I always love seeing your Christmas decor! Your house is really made for the holidays! How awful that the stuffing was bad!! Ew! Why did she want to host if she didn't want to cook, knowing you're happy to do it?! I really do want to try the maple cheesecake.

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  8. How splendid! What a beautiful dinner you made for everyone –– beautiful, in every way! And elegant! Ellie's smiling for sure!

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  9. Well I have decorated the flower boxes with greenery today but I have to buy new strings of white lights. This shall be done tomorrow. Lots of fresh greenery around the door as roping. The left over roping graces the mail box with a big red bow topping it off. Now that Thanksgiving has passed and we are eating left overs, I am on to decorating for Christmas!

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    1. Yes that's right! I'm finishing lights today!

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  10. Oh Stephen, your table was fabulous eye candy!! Well, Thanksgiving prep is always a little tense because we have a first course of homemade ravioli before the turkey meal. The ravioli requires two large pots of boiling water, and another large pot of homemade gravy, which means the entire stovetop is in use. So everything else must be baked or heated in the oven. Our normal guest list usually includes fourteen adults and two children. Snacks are offered before the meal begins...they are usually substantial but light enough not to destroy the appetite, and are designed to keep everyone away from the kitchen. However, no matter how organized and together I am, when it comes time to get everything to the table, things get a little hairy. While the ravioli is being served and consumed, I am in the kitchen pulling the sides from the oven, and carving that blasted bird. Your suggestion about the electric knife will be a life saver next year...thank you! As I'm struggling to get everything in their proper serving dish and onto the table is usually when someone enters the kitchen to request a second serving of ravioli, and "could I please reheat the gravy that goes on top". That is when I summon every ounce of cordiality my body possesses, and distract myself by thinking about Friday. There were no cooking disasters this year, because I have probably survived and learned from decades of mishaps. When everything is on the table, and the wine is being poured, and conversation and laughter flowing, I sit and allow myself to feel the peace before me! Another Thanksgiving down...now on to Christmas.

    Stephen, I can thank Ellie for introducing me to you and your wonderful posts, as a smile always appears on my face when I see your name in my email. Happy Thanksgiving and a very happy Christmas to you and Barbie. Angela Muller

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    1. Thank you so very much! That is so lovely of you to say. This is why I love Italians so much! Why choose one or the other when you can have both?! I think there will be last hour chaos regardless. Soooo many things in and out of the oven, it really is like managing an airport!

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  11. What a lovely table (and everything else). You do such a beautiful job. I hope your walk helped you to feel better.

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  12. I can only say two things: 1) Shut. Up! and 2) PLEASE do Christmas!!!!

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    1. Haha thank you! Hope your Thanksgiving went well!

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  13. Such a gorgeous table, Stephen. How blessed your guests are to dine on the amazing food you so lovingly prepare and enjoy the stunning tablescape. Pure perfection!

    I have passed the wand to my daughter who hosted Thanksgiving at her large home. I did prepare the stuffed turkey, made the pies; two traditional pumpkin and two of Ina Garten's apple galette recipe and the rolls. My three daughters made the sides and the appetizers. Everything was delicious and we were so blessed to have most of our family in attendance.

    Thanks for always bringing a smile to my face (often times a roaring laugh too)! You are the best!

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    1. thank you so so much, Karen! That must be a wonderful feeling to see your daughters now leading the pack! Though it still sounds quite a bit like they still can't can't do it without mom :) the apple galettes look so good! I've bern meaning to try her recipe.

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  14. Thanksgiving really fell apart this year due to a family emergency, Brother in the hospital from a cardiac arrest last Sunday. Medically induced coma, taking turns at the hospital round the clock. So, we scrapped our usual wonderful dinner and did carry out from Cracker Barrel. Never done that before! Good news is: Patient is recovering well, out of coma, and managed to watch that UM/OSU football game today. Since we are in Michigan, the loss was painful, but we have so much more to be thankful for. Dinner review - sliced white meat turkey breast, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole were very good. The rest . . . Well let's say we are looking forward to a spectacular Christmas dinner! I love the floral arrangements. Roses in that beautiful bowl look so sophisticated. The tall arrangement on the buffet table is also beautiful. How about a primer. What was in the tall arrangement? Also loved the bittersweet. And that dome is spectacular. You MUST do Christmas for us. Please?

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    1. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that but so so happy to hear he is doing well. If it had to happen, I'm glad it happened before the holiday as hospitals are complicated enough let alone on a holiday! Yes, Christmas dinner will be so much better! That buffet arrangement is pine, bittersweet, burning bush, and roses. I love to have one big thing on the buffet.

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  15. Hey Stephen....I must have caught your vibe and am so out of gas. Hands down! You have the best taste buds of anyone I know. You are not only a pro at cooking, baking and presenting...your photographs keep getting more and more beautiful. Look at that sweet Barbie. Tomorrow is another day....and if we are lucky the sun will make an appearance. I sure hope all of your guests appreciate your efforts and style.
    I'm going to take a nap, before I go to bed.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lori! My day got much better I hope yours did too! I am very lucky, they really do appreciate it! Your Thanksgiving looked wonderful!

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  16. And one more question . . . Can you tell us how you prepared your turkey for sous vides? I know you have previously published a post on this a while ago, but how about a refresher? Thank you Stephen. I have long been an admirer.

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    1. Yes I really should post specifically about cooking a turkey sous vide! I will do that certainly before next Thanksgiving, but I'll try before Christmas.

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  17. the two best medicines in the world for any bitchy~bad moments for whatever reasons...
    Barbie first and a walk in the brisk fresh air of nature WITH HER! you knew that instinctively.
    and oh Stephen Andrew Jones.
    you fairly nigh just take my breath away. seeing your HOME and that TABLE. I would be deliriously happy simply eating a bowl of cheerios there! of course I would wear a velvet dress and a single strand of pearls.
    the white. the blue. the candles and bittersweet. the lights and table ... the heirloom silver and crystal... the roses. the exquisite blue and white... vintage place cloths. OMG... I think you may have just hit perfection this time.
    the blonde floor giving just the right background Nordic touch of simplicity with all the elegance. I could go on and on. but then I always do. I already have. sorry!
    can't help it.
    I hope that you DO Christmas TOO. I remember your hedge table well in 2014. it was a headache yes. but...
    WOW!
    the only thing better would be if you decided in your amazingly creative bones to surpass it this year!!!

    love and hugs to you and beautiful little Barbie. i'm thankful for you both! and especially for this blog! xo♥

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    1. Thank you so much, Tammy! You are so exceptionally kind to me! Yes luckily my day got much better. I think admitting to myself that it was all kind of stupid to be so mad was key! And then the brisk walk did me so much good!

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  18. SAJ, everything is gorgeous!!!. What a lovely table you set. Wish I'd been invited to your house! And Barbie . . . what a beautiful lass. So gorgeous and shiny. You're invited to my house for Thanksgiving next year! But in the meantime, can you come for Christmas 2016?! I promise all I'll ask for is advice. Are you familiar with James Farmer? You two would make a great pair . . . both soooooooo talented!!!

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    1. Haha thank you so much! I am free Christmas Day because we celebrate on Christmas Eve! Although I am usually just about dead to the world as Christmas Eve is quite the party. Okay I have a big crush on James Farmer! I absolutely love his style. I remember a Thanksgiving table he did for Southern Living a few years ago with a lot of blue and white and these huge burgundy dahlias. Loved it!

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    2. That adorable James Farmer was in town a few weeks ago to sign books and speak to a bunch of us garden club ladies. He's every bit as charming as you'd imagine. A typical Southern boy, sof spoken, genteel and quite humorous! It was a most delightful evening and I'm so glad I got to meet him and speak with him. Of course I bought two of his books!

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    3. Oh do you think he likes loud mouth sarcastic northerners?? Haha I should go to one of his book signings!

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    4. He might . . . ya never know! Maybe a book signing is coming to a location near you sometime in the near future!

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  19. We are traveling this year so my disaster, such as it was, was getting run down by a scamper (a motorized chair) at Seaworld.

    Past disasters include my dearest husband overworking the beaters to the point of exploding and we offered a door prized to the person that found the chunk of plastic in their mashed potatoes. It was a bottle of wine that we revoked as more booze was needed.

    And then there was the year my mother served a dish off of the cats' dish and spoon. My mother has the mindset that the worst must be used, the best is to be save so she rooted about my cupboards to find the least nice platter. All fun memories......

    Concerning family treasures. My grandmother was the oldest of (a poor) family of 13. What was left after her parents passed was fought over bitterly. She vowed that would never happen and insisted on giving away everything while she could gage who wanted what. Because we had the largest house, much came to me and as the years past, I have pushed it off to cousins that are now setting up house.

    I solidly support using the crystal and China. My nana would be happy knowing a glass was broken during the course of spirited hand talking versus gathering dust in the China cupboard.

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    1. Love this comment! Exactly! Why have them if they're not going to be used?! Things break! Absolutely love this stories of the broken beater/wine and the cat food plate! So the big question is was the plastic ever found? Or did the alcohol kind of solve that problem and some oblivious drunk just ate it?! Haha!
      Oh gosh you have my sympathy having to be at sea world! How horrible! I went there once. I begged to go and demanded we sit in the front row and then from the first moment I saw the whale in that horrible small pool I freaked the fuck out and was crying and screaming and my dad and uncle carried me out with one holding my shoulders and another my feet! That was nothing compared to how I reacted to the circus!

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    2. My cousin found the plastic chunk with his fork. The funniest part about the cat food plate and spoon is that my mom has serious germ issues and screamed when she was told about it.

      We will be home next year and are already planning a huge event. My son misses the thanksgiving of years back.

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  20. Absolutely. Beautiful!! Love your China! Candles! Silver! Glassware! And I imagine it was delish as well. Thank you for such lovely photos. Mine was lovely but not especially delicious although no disaster. 17 people at 3 tables - one contemporary blue and white with Gotham China, Waterford crystal and blue toile napkins on cobalt tablecloth; one somewhat rustic with herend bird China, natural linens and brass and topaz candles, glassware: and one deadly formal with platinum/gold Limoges China, Waterford crystal and silver candlesticks. All with family silver. You inspired!! Am going to buy sous vide now. Cannot wait for Christmas.

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    1. So glad you're getting a sous vide! It is a lifesaver during the holidays! All your tables sound absolutely beautiful! I would love to see those tables! Thank you so so much!

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  21. thanks stephen for more glimpses of your stunning home and decor. i ADORE it.
    my day was good. we went to our oldest son's, between the 2 of them they have 7 kids under 10 so it was sorta insane in a good way. the food was good, they made me a vegan turkey roll which was really good. i'm really thankful we've "met." xo

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    1. So am I! Thank you so much! I had no idea you had so many grandchildren! How nice that they made that for you! Sounds like you had a nice day and I know you enjoyed some football!

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  22. I freaking luff your table settings and decor SO MUCH this year! Especially the candles and the roses and all the blue and white china.

    I knew it would be hard to top last's year's magnificent orange table cloth but you've succeeded!

    Australians get really angry, like almost deranged with anger and fury if they catch another Australian celebrating something like Thanksgiving or Halloween or Bastille Day, but you know me- any excuse to roast a turkey and set a pretty table.

    Can't wait to see your Christmas prep in motion.

    Luff your work xxxx

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    1. I think the anger is because of the erosion of our culture - or threat of it. So many people now say cookie, instead of biscuit. And I was reflecting on the fact that cutlery has become flatware at some point or another. At halloween (a very contentious celebration in Australia) there were kids talking about candy and I was yelling "it's lollies! Lollies! We don't eat candy in Australia"

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    2. Thank you so much, FF! I was excited to do something different from last year! I so agree with you, I think any excuse to gather is fabulous!
      I see what you mean Heidi! It is sad to lose the little things that define our area but I think as the world becomes ever smaller in the omnipresence of the internet it is just a natural conclusion. But I've started calling fantasy football footie tipping because I think it's so much cuter!

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    3. My son says cookies but I don't really care. It'll always be cutlery to me! Don't think I really have a sense of Australian culture when it comes to celebrating.. I have stolen lots of Italian ideas from Mr ff because the food is so good and abundant. Anyway I hate erosion so I'm onto it but any excuse to celebrate!!

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    4. I just love that footy tipping is making a cultural erosion of its own!! Next you'll be watching aussie rules (which admittedly is much better to watch than Grid Iron) x

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  23. Ours was at my neighbors, the hostess is a fabulous Louisiana born cook. We had an elegant dinner of roasted duck with several courses including Gravlax. The table was set with silver goblets, silver candlesticks, a large silver bowl with white lilies and greens and eight pieces of sterling flatware at each setting. There were 3 dogs, 2 that were guests and they all behaved badly!

    Here is what I like about yours.....the darling Barbie posing in the light dining room, the spectacular big bowl of roses, the gorgeous huge branch arrangement on the serving table, the handsome silver dome, the bountiful bittersweet, harder to find in the South, seems much more common in Ohio, the beautiful brunch presentation and your pretty china. All of it. Hope all of the comments from your fans makes you feel better!

    We are heading to HHI for a short weekend next week!

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    1. Ooooh your Thanksgiving sounds absolutely stunning! A few naughty dogs are good for morale! Thank you so much! I am much, much better thank you! So envious of your HHI trip! Not sure when I'll be back! I'm hoping maybe March. Going to wait and see how the weather is and go last minute.

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  24. My thanksgiving went perfectly according to script, my sister and I sat around like two contented spinsters enjoying our dinner wearing our pajamas, turning down all invitations.

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  25. I love your abundant bittersweet. It is banned in Vermont, labeled an invasive species.

    I did sell off much of my mother’s crystal and silver. I kept the pieces that had the most meaning to me, though. I married into a less sophisticated family and I knew the place settings of my youth were not going to make the cut in my rural world. My first Thanksgiving with my new family included tales of deer hunting (in hunting wool clothing at the table), 2 Ritz crackers on a cocktail napkin as an appetizer, and tomato juice in a paper bathroom cup as a cocktail.

    For the first Thanksgiving I hosted, I pulled out my pewter, blended with my mother’s pieces. That was as fancy as I dared. My sister-in-law made some snide comments, so the next Thanksgiving, I pulled out my mother’s silver. My mother-in-law made a lovely comment about how happy she was that I brought some class to the family. Since then, I have aimed to annoy my sister-in-law with my Thanksgiving tablescapes and my now 24-year-old daughter is my co-conspirator. One of my favorites was the year I used black as an accent color, alternating black department store plates with my mom’s Johnson Brother’s octagonal “ironstone” dinnerware. A high-low affair that irked dear “Bette” to no end.

    I am the yearly hostess now for the feast, since there are health issues with the elders, and that’s just fine with me. There is no more hunting wool at the table, unless I use buffalo plaid as a décor item. And thirty years after my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, they understand that I want the event to be a time of family and gratitude for all the abundance we have, not a clashing of the classes that they had worried about all those years ago. Well, almost all of them. I still derive great joy for annoying my sister-in-law. Otherwise, I am a nice person…

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    1. Oh Carol, thank you for the comic relief! I have a former, similar sister-in-law who was/is miserable, some of it from her inner hatred toward her mother and some of it just skinny shaming because she's always been a chubby girl and I wasn't (took me years to figure the latter one out). I was always a peach to them (I didn't know how to give it back -verbal insults- and often spent my time in silent, utter shock at their behavior). They have the fancy accoutrements but little class to go with it. It was always fodder for great laughs with my girlfriend after the Holidays. I'm a NH-born neighbor and loved having some bittersweet around in the fall, and was surprised when I read an article on English gardening that had a comment about the "dreadful bittersweet." I learned from experience how invasive it is when I was out back pulling down the vines that grew in the woods behind my house that curled around the branches, literally pulling them down to the ground, some of the vines thick as small tree trunks. It doesn't get a lot of sun in there, but once there was a little area I saw with the orange berries in the open yellow pods, bittersweet. Pretty to use, but not to grow! Any way, Cheers to you for remaining true and winning over (at least some) in-laws. ;) ~Nicole

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    2. Love this comment, Carol! Thank you so much! Haha you caught me with one of my own rules "adjust your holidays to your family today". How nice that your mother in law embraced your subtle infusion of a little beauty and elegance! And funny that it made your sister in law a little hostile! Like what is the downside to having beautiful things around?! I remember dating a guy whose family all went to "deer camp" over Thanksgiving and I had no idea what he meant! I pictured tents! Haha I remember talking with him in limited spurts when he had a signal and being sooooo glad that wasn't my Thanksgiving! I know bittersweet is invasive but I'm so glad it's not banned here! It must be quite an aggressive vine to be invasive even in Vermont! So really by stealing it I am just doing my part for native flora and fauna!

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  26. As a Canadian who put Thanksgiving behind her in October, I keep threatening to observe US Thanksgiving too, just for the heck of it. Since Eric was overseas for both US and Canadian holidays this year, I did the next best thing: break out my Planes, Trains and Automobiles DVD, mix up some onion dip, and crack open a bag of rippled potato chips. Thus US Thanksgiving was observed in this household.

    Your table and all the trappings look divine! Such a beautiful decor. You are the host with the most! You really spoil your people, and I hope they know it...

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, they are very very appreciative! Luckily I do it for me! They would never demand so much of me! Your Thanksgiving observation sounds fantastic! I could have supplied the onion dip! I made a lot of it and had so much extra.

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  27. All is stunningly beautiful. I love your candles and bittersweet, so elegantly arranged. And your gorgeous china, and the rose bowl tdf! One day I have to go to America for Thanksgiving, we really miss out in Australia without this great feast and day of thanks. Looking forward to your Christmas arrangements; I know they will be amazing.

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    1. Thank you so much, Patricia! You could also have Thanksgiving there! FF does :) but Thanksgiving in America is lovely! Everyone turns very nice for a few days! If you make the trip, I suggest Massachusetts! I spent one Thanksgiving there and being the birthplace of Thanksgiving it's the perfect place for a destination Thanksgiving!

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  28. Beautiful and inspiring styling. Your turkeys are both wonderful. We used Bobby Flay's techniques for a Pioneer-Style Herb-Roasted Turkey from the Food Network site. Twice. I think it's perfection.

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    1. Thank you so much! I will need to look into that recipe!

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  29. I love you. I'm afraid I'm mostly Gemini, too; I'm quite sure I will be eaten by a bear someday because I refuse to listen to sense. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tables,

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    1. Thank you! Oh I adore Geminis! I love the Gemini attitude or lack thereof. But of course you all don't like to be nailed down, hard for a textbook Taurus to understand!

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  30. Simply stunning! thank you for sharing your beautiful table settings & thanksgiving dinner with us. Den xx

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  31. Of course, now with that little teaser we (I) want to know more.. Sounds like a good family drama, in the spirit of Scarlett O'Hara no less (we would expect nothing less). :) Of course I hope for the best results for all. Lovely table settings and food setting, congratulations! My two stuffings (one GF) turned out well, and with baking those plus a sweet potato bacon hash, my apt. was around 85 degrees. Needless to say, no wine was needed upon arrival to the dinner location. It was an odd atmosphere, one comment that there was a depression still over the election. I sloughed it off. It's over. Just spread love. That's my way of living after the upsetting election climate. What was comical were a couple of food hiccups that I wished I had somebody there to share a wink and a smirk with, as nobody else seemed to notice, or perhaps were just too polite/depressed to mention. The turkey carver used an electric knife and carved nice, uniform 1/2" slices of white breast meat onto the platter. Then it seemed he clicked into don't-give-a-sh*$ mode and the turkey was slaughtered right before our eyes. Chunks were slashed with abandon and tossed onto the platter, many still with bone piece and other tough parts. I looked around to see if anybody else saw what I was seeing. Then there was the apple pie, of course to be fair, it was a project for a parent and child (3) and it stands as proof that Thanksgiving cooking and baking, and I guess any entertaining cooking in general, should not be supervised by a 3-year old! The apples were not fully cooked so lacked the macerated juiciness, which was fine in itself, no botulism scare there. But when I saw the gray of the crust I was suspicious so I poked at it with my fork and it made little holes like it was putty. Nothing that cannot be easily forgotten as we are grateful for family gathering, just fun to note the details with like-minded souls who enjoy those details, perfect and not-so! p.s. I see why you love your dishes. They are gorge.

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    1. Thank you so much! I wonder what made the crust grey?? Undercooked? Do you think it was bought frozen and stored in the fridge too long? Pie crust doesn't like to be refrigerated more than 48 hours! Oh how funny about the carving! I am sure he didn't know about the thigh bone in there and kept hitting it as it's big and runs right down the middle! So glad your cooking went well! 85???? I would die! I had the heat off and was glad to have it about 64!

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    2. Nicole's description of the electric knife incident is why I don't allow one in my house. My husband would use it like a chain saw and we would have turkey bits on the ceiling!

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    3. Yes, Stephen, the crust was still raw. Not sure what he did, perhaps it was frozen and not thawed enough before baking, or he skipped the step of baking the shell empty for a few minutes as some require before adding filling. It's important to go into any gathering with sense of humor engaged! My mother used to use our porch for extra Holiday refrigeration. That was a nice memory you touched with your prep. :)

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  32. That is the most beautiful setting I have ever seen.Thank you for showing us so much beauty in a world that is quite ugly at the moment. Liz

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    1. Thank you so much! That is such a kind thing to say!

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  33. I cannot wait to hear the rest of the story! Your pics are amazing as always and inspire me to do better next year in the tablescape department. You have SUCH an eye for these things. We had some drama too, but luckily it held off until Friday morning. Stepdaughter has made a romantic choice that sounds like an absolute disaster and there was no way to not say that. Your first paragraph in italics above said it all (were you standing next to me outside that coffee shop where we all had breakfast and the horrible discussion started, lol? Or are we just on the same wavelength and don't suffer fools well? Anyway, I'm sorry your holiday was a bumpy one. Christmas will be better!)

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    1. Thank you so much! I think your table looked beautiful! Especially fun to have the "new" heirloom table and chairs. And love even more that the old table and chairs were passed on to a friend who needed them! Oh goodness there's bit of that going around too! How funny that it was at a cute little coffee shop! Sounds like a sitcom scene!

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  34. My husband asked whether we would do Thanksgiving, but it isn't a holiday here. I had Pilates class Thursday night, and given the choice between pigging out and working out I chose working out. It's my blessed hour a week away from my loved ones and I didn't want to forfeit it. Afterward, I watched the Republican presidential debate ... yes, for France. Very interesting.
    We are planning a big pre-Christmas bash for the Feast of St. Lucy, the Festival of Lights. Not sit-down, because there will be 30-ish people.

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    1. Yes that conservative French person is starting to infiltrate American news as kind of a ripple of the Brexit/Trump phenomenon. So funny you say that about Pilates, included in my draft rant is taking aim at anyone who might rather go to sunset yoga than eat Thanksgiving dinner! Haha it takes all kinds!

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  35. You have outdone yourself -that table is absolutely magnificent. And again, I just can't get over how much thought you put into everything, such as the correct bowl/ flower height. So much tablescaping these days obscures the view of the person opposite.
    So that was a tantalising glimpse into the drama aspect of thanksgiving, and your description of the angry thin person that dies made me laugh a lot. Happy thanksgiving - it was visually stunning, and I'm pretty certain your food would have been out of this world too x

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    1. Thank you so much, Heidi! I am flattered that you like it considering how highly I regard your taste! I know you love details as much as I do! I really do believe it's where these things are made. Can't wait to see more of your Christmas!

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  36. I love everything it all looks so gorgeous. The colours and the bittersweet and oh my gosh those roses. How thoughtful are you with the giant block of butter for your Grandpa. Your family are very fortunate to have you SAJ. Well I want to know what happened with the Gemini. Love the Scarlett mood, I feel that way occasionally.
    Our small Thanksgiving was quite nice though I spent the day wishing I was with my Dad in Georgia, as I do every year. Why I don't just plan to visit is beyond me, I really have to get it together.
    But now onto Christmas and yes please post on Christmas this year, I have my tree up and most of the gifts purchased and I'm planning on turning my house into Santa's workshop the next few weeks, with lots of cookies and festive snacks around. We need a cheer-up!
    xx

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    1. Can't wait to see your Christmas prep, Dani! Thank you so much! I'm glad your Thanksgiving was fab and I totally understand feeling a little pull toward your dad in the US. Georgia would be a lovely place to spend Thanksgiving...or you could always meet in HHI!

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  37. The giant block of butter made me laugh, I will need one too, thank you:)! Your table was gorgeous and you are such a mini-Martha! Love that you were watching her at 10 years old:):) I love Barbie beyond measure and it is a good thing I don't know your address or I would drive over and borrow her by force;) aka steal her as she would fit right into our puppy pack! That face, that precious face. So happy you adopted her! Your house is beautiful and I want to see more. Love that you have all matching blue Le Creuset. Bought all of mine at the outlet too. Your blue plates are fabulous and the dome is a show stopper. Yes, bittersweet is a nightmare here in NH, but I do love the look of it. Vines choking out other trees can get as big as your forearm. The huge red rose centerpiece was perfection. I love, love your monogram sweater. I will keep an eye out for the wine glasses in Topaz:) All I can say is... your lucky guests. Do they know how lucky they are to have you prepare and present Thanksgiving so beautifully?!!!
    Yes, you must do a Christmas post too. I'm still waiting for you (and Barbie) to get on IG:):) xxoj.

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    1. Thank you sooooo much, Joan! Haha I am sure Barbie would love to run wild with your girls for a while! But then she'd go find a spare bedroom and hide for a while! Haha she needs her space! Oh this is only the tip of Le Icecreuberg haha I am such an addict it's ridiculous. Luckily they do really really appreciate it!

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  38. SAJ your table was so pretty, especially the roses. Happy to read that you did not have to lock your mother up in her sewing room to finish a table cloth! Please write more. And when you are finished with Christmas blogs please move on to horoscopes. I'm married to a Gemini and have one for a son, I've never had an issue with their "Gemini-ness". I'm a Libra so maybe we sync?
    We celebrated with my son-in-law's family in Minneapolis, a kind invitation. They are mellow and had the good sense to roast a brined turkey, it was a nice evening. But I missed having my own menu and the ability to make a turkey +dressing +cranberry/mayo sandwich for breakfast. I'm thinking now of making turkey sometime over the Christmas holidays so we can have leftovers of our own.
    Have you seen "Jude's Miracle Cloth"? It's a cross between a microfiber wipe and tea towel and is the BEST for drying glasses, windows, and anything that streaks or spots. Using one as you clean/prep for your next event will be a lifesaver. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration....but my glasses are much easier to dry and polish and look great. (PS mine was a gift....I have no idea who Jude is!)
    Thankful for your blog, and you. I love that you create such beauty but are honest enough to include the bits about disagreements and depression.

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    1. Love the Jude's miracle cloth tip!
      Karen

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    2. Thank you so much, Cindy! Haha yes it was so nice to not have any tablecloth drama this year! The last two years were enough for a while! I told her she needed to get the napkins finished by Oct 1 and she delivered about Oct 19. :)
      So glad you had a nice holiday! Totally know what you mean though about leftovers! They're essential! Never heard of these! Will look for them! Thank you!

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  39. What can I say but that I eagerly await each post--especially those related to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each provides much much inspiration and laughter! Your observations are hilarious and dare I say usually something that I'm in complete agreement with. You have the gift of words and thank you for sharing it with us all in blog-land! Happy holidays and looking forward to hearing about your Christmas preparations!!

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    1. Thank you so much! Haha it's nice that someone agrees with me! Seems terribly rare!

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  40. Well I ran out and bought miniature white lights to add to the greenery in the flower boxes. In the back of my mind I thought how would SAJ tuck in the green cord so that the finished product looked more professional. I am great with constructing a polished look when it comes to the greenery, but the green cord of the lights drives me slightly nuts.

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    1. Oh I know! That's so hard! I have a huge set of 6 foot extension cords and that helps because there is less to hide!

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  41. Another lovely post! I love all of the bittersweet. Funny that it is banned in Vermont. There was a lady here who took orders for it every year. Her son, who lived in Vermont, cut huge amounts of it and shipped it down here where it doesn't grow. Unfortunately she passed away and the last time I had any was a few years ago when I found it at Fresh Market. I kept it for three years and finally threw it away when all the berries fell off. Just for the record, our Thanksgiving dinner was the best ever. Fried oysters for before then wonderful burgers with great stuff on them. I'm thankful no one here is vegan or has any of those ubequitous food allergies. Bread, beef, cheese, and grease all the way. Sorry, I just don't know how to cook any other way. Take care and I hope you are feeling better now.

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    1. Thank you so much! Sounds fabulous! I know that's why I started stealing it because the stuff you buy is just never as vivid! I really only like it when it's fresh. where do your oysters come from there? Gulf or Atlantic coast?

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  42. I'm late to the party but I want to chime in! We traveled for Thanksgiving so I cooked in an unfamiliar kitchen that is set away from the rest of the house. I had two minor disasters--one a personal failing when, after hours of listening to clinking ice cubes, conversation and soft music going on in the living room, some one came in to keep me company and pronounced that what I was doing "was too much work." Now, I know they really meant it as a sort of compliment and that it was too much work for them. But I snapped and spat "maybe I won't even bother next year." Also, I don't really want company in the kitchen when I am doing all the cooking. There's a lot to think about and it's hard for me to concentrate on conversation while frying sage leaves! The other, minor, disaster was the turkey. We usually cook it on the grill, but it had to be cooked in the oven this time. I didn't trust the pop-out thermometer and put two instant read thermometers in two different places and proclaimed the turkey done. Took it out to rest and popped all the side dishes in the oven. When it was time to carve....the turkey was not done, after all. So we took everything out and put the bird back in the oven, complete with a huge open gash from starting to slice it. Luckily, everyone was pretty mellow by then and the turkey was still moist on the second try.

    I also wanted to say that I first heard of sous-vide cooking from my son, who learned about it in his machinist classes! From a bunch of guys who seared steaks in the heat-tempering furnace.

    And most importantly, I want to add my voice to all the cheers for your writing and photographs. They are so well-observed and you have a very down-to-earth, good-humored, but no-BS-allowed point of view that is so dang funny. No pressure! (but I sure hope you will do Christmas posts this year).

    Mary

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary! I so appreciate this lovely comment. I have done Thanksgiving as a road show too and it is quite a bit of chaos! And then trying to gauge different oven can be taxing! So easy to misread a turkey as they are really not honest about how cooked they are! There can be up to 30(!!!!) degrees difference between breast meat 2" in vs on the bone. Ive also found the juice color test to be a liar on a turkey. Really the best is just to push and feel. Or sous vide as you're 1000% positive it's cooked through!

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  43. I started my planning by pulling out and rereading Ellie's Thanksgiving book. I seated 14 adults and 2 children! The menu was a turkey and a ham, dressing with gravy, my 'sweet' sister in law's sweet potato casserole,my homemade cranberry sauce and one fancied up out of the can cranberry sauce (for those that refuse to eat any other kind ) a fresh green salad, my Dad made his tasty southern style green beans (Also Ellie style...smile), mashed potatoes and creamed corn and my other 'not so sweet' sister in law was ask to bring rolls. Alas, The rolls were very undercooked croissant rolls... I used an orange/ gold threaded table cloth with ceramic turkeys and small arranged pumpkins with greenery instead of flowers as my 89 year old mother is allergic to flowers.
    So glad Ellie introduced you and your blog to her other imaginary friends you are helping to fill that Big Void she left! JennB

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    1. Thank you so much! I miss Ellie terribly too! Your Thanksgiving sounds beautiful and I'd love to see the tablecloth! Orange and gold are so perfect together. Is she allergic to all flowers?? How awful!! I've actually never tried the canned cranberry sauce! I really should. We just always did relish and so what's what I love!

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  44. Love your superb presentation, you certainly have a passion for all things nice. I think you did well to obtain your grandma's flatware and dishes. The meat dome really creates a very elegant look. I have a few I bought when the Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong was being demolished. They sold all the silverware and servers for rediculously low prices, so pleased I was in the right place at the right time. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving, Xmas and Chinese New Year is the big thing. Best wishes Lillian.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lillian! I would love to celebrate Chinese New Year! I love the theming with different animals and all the red and gold! Would love to see your silver collection! How wonderful to be there for that!

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  45. Oh my, you know how to do it up right! All your work paid off and not only your guests, but all of us get to enjoy thanks to your generously sharing it all. My little family was all together and one of our traditions is to go around the table and share 3 things we are grateful for. My granddaughters 3 and 8, make it special for me because of their joy and excitement. Our only mishap happened the day before when my daughter fell leaving Disney on Ice. She was holin LuLu, her 3 year old. Thank God, only minor scratches! Thanks again for sharing, I absolutely love your posts and am a faithful follower!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rose! I'm so glad you had a lovely holiday with your family! How wonderful to have grandchildren! Kids breathe so much life into holidays. How awful that there was a fall! So glad the injuries were minor!!

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  46. I can't remember which decorator said - that dogs naturally pick the best spot in the house to sit and rest. Barbie looks good anywhere though. Well I can't wait what tweaks you will have for your xmas menu. I had a early big thanksgiving in sweden and had one of the best meals of my life and then on the actual thanksgiving day I had instant noodles bc it was too late to go out but i was too tired after two planes trains automobiles. PS loving the crisp feel of your home - it seems to be a nice palette to spring festive decorations from too!

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    1. Ooooh what are the details of this amazing meal?! Thank you so much! Haha that is a brilliant quote about dogs and so true.

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  47. My Thanksgiving was an absolute clusterfuck. It was all going swell until someone who shall remain nameless mentioned the election. I had no idea we were white trash. Needless to say I am not speaking to several of my siblings. Ever.

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    1. Hahaha oh no!!! I'm so sorry! Politics came up at first but I screamed over it and was able to get rid of it.

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    2. I'm playing catchup reading these posts, but your comment was absolutely hilarious!

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  48. I just don't comment enough on the blogs that I love and follow, but Stephen your photos took my breath away! Here in Australia we do not follow the tradition of thanksgiving but you have inspired me to create a special table for Christmas day with family and friends. Although I will be working on the day and have decided to have a late lunch early dinner type of meal, as soon as I get home I will be setting my table inspired by you. Wish you could join us. Cheers Suzana xxx

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    1. Hello, Suzana! Thank you so much!! I'm so happy to hear that! What are you going to make? If you can, set your table two days before so you can take time to enjoy it and have one less thing to do when you get home from work! Hope you have a very merry Christmas!

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  49. Your Thanksgiving decor and meal is spectacular. Everything done to perfection. Every detail simply lovely. Having recently lost a 99 year old Uncle I know what you mean about the importance of family treasures. Your grandmother's silver is exactly where it should be, with you! I'm sure she would be very happy to know you have it and use it during holiday gatherings. I am willing to bet, every time you use it wonderful, loving memories emerge. Can't wait to read about your Christmas. Susan

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    1. Thank you so much! It is such a shame about silver in particular that so many people had it for generations in thekr families and then as silver prices climbed they just sold it and had it melted down! I hate thinking of it! And it makes sterling flatware so much harder to collect. I love picking up each piece and imagining all the special family occasions it's seen.

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  50. Next year I'd love to swap you a box of bittersweet (hard to come by in the South) for a box of smilax. It's such a Southern "go to" for holiday greenery and wedding greenery. I don't think you have it "up North" or in the Mid-West.

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    1. Yes I would love that!! One of my faaaaaaavorite things about when I'm in Hilton Head for Thanksgiving are the greenery and berries at my disposal! Haha I have actually thought about buying land in South Carolina just so I can plant a holiday cutting garden but believe it or not that wasn't a good idea! Haha even if the land was cheap the irrigation, taxes, paying someone to check in on it, etc. haha! But I do always think of taking a stock up trip down there right before the holidays in which I just drive around and steal those gorgeous southern holly berries and fabulous long needle pines! And of course magnolia!

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    2. Well, maybe we can work something out next October and swap some berries for greenery!

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  51. Beautiful table. We had my tacky turkey collection from the fifties and sixties down the middle of the table.

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    1. Thank you! Oh I loooove vintage turkey collections!

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  52. Late to the party. I've been on technology break. Your Thanksgiving table, buffet and floating sideboard are perfectly beautiful. Elegant but not stuffy. I love the dome and the roses! Love the roses. And that is the most gorgeous and appetizing plated up sliced turkey I've ever seen!

    Disaster? Oven quit and problems with the burners...but after a prolonged and intense bout of SOSing including an episode of dishes flying off the deck (of course not the good ones; this event is quite humorous in hindsight but I think that might depend on your proximity to the projectiles), a stove was ordered and it arrives in three days. I'm beyond thrilled. I will never have to roast another turkey or bake pecan pie in my neighbor's oven. They travel for Thanksgiving so it was actually OK to spend four hours in quiet, reflective solitude and not have to field questions as to how long should the bird really be in the oven??? And is the temperature high enough??? It was a bitch though, transporting the cooked bird back home. But I'm taking the new stove as a sign that things will only get better. At least in my kitchen.

    So looking forward to your Christmas posts!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you've been enjoying a technology break! The electric carving knife makes all the difference with the turkey! I'm pretty good with my knives but could never get such perfect slices and so quickly. For $20 it's definitely worth it. Oh no! That is a disaster of epic proportion! So lucky you had your friend's kitchen. I've had to do that before and it is some very comical chaos. Meryl Streep tells a story where one Thanksgiving her oven died so she borrowed her neighbor's--Gwyneth Paltrow! She said it was a space age device and she could hardly figure it out!

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  53. Hi Stephen: I "posted" a comment yesterday, but for some reason it "didn't take". I'll try again because I wanted to tell you how happy it made me to know that you had purloined your Grandmother's silver. I have used my sterling flatware every day, every meal, for over fifty years. I used to put it in the dishwasher, but stopped because the patina was wearing off. I recently discovered the joys of bidding for silver on Ebay! What fun. I think I started three new patterns. I am also now the proud owner of several olive spoons! I think I got a bit carried away. I adore the monogrammed pieces too. I can always make out that they spell "Isla"! Isn't that amazing? It touches me to know that someone before me loved these pieces and used them. Peace and blessings during this season of Advent.

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    1. Thank you! I've had little luck finding silver on eBay! It seems to go so high! My pattern is mainly Virginia Carvel so if you see any good opportunities on that, particularly forks, let me know! Although maybe I should pay the high price to reward the sellers for selling it rather than having it liquidated. Just had a duuuh moment there.
      I love the monograms too!! I collect S A and J monograms, and any combination thereof.

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  54. Hello Stephen Andrew,

    Well, I was right. You are a force to be reckoned with. What a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration you've created for your fortunate family and to incorporate all of your family heirlooms is so very special. So glad you ended up "acquiring" the family silver. Obviously, you were destined to be its rightful owner one way or another.

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    1. Thank you so much! Haha I like the way you think. I agree, when I think of my grandmother I have no doubt she would prefer it with someone in the family and being used.

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  55. Absolutely beautiful! Just enough romance and elegance as to create a soothing atmosphere. And Barbie as always, lounging on the furniture and in front of the fire says this is home. Lovely...

    Our holiday? Don't even ask. Suffice it to say that my beautiful bottle of wine was my favorite part. I personally drank the whole thing... :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Uh oh...politics?! I had to fiercely shut shut down a political argument that started with a loooong, overly technical, bad joke!

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  56. I always live vicariously through your elegant table settings and flawless feasts. And I love to see Barbie!

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  57. Absolutely beautiful, the bittersweet and candles are my favorite . Although those Doulton plates are definitely a close second, and that rose centerpiece is breathtaking. The breakfast spread looks delicious and your turkey must have been a showstopper. Love it all, and Barbie is so adorable.
    Pat

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    1. Thank you so much! I love the candles and bittersweet too! I had fun collecting the brass candlesticks all summer too! Barbie loves to model :) hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

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  58. That is the most stunning table setting! However the dog steals the show!!

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  59. Virginia Carvel! I'll be on the lookout and also for letters in your monogram!

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  60. SAJ thought of you when I came across this recent New York Times article. o Sous Vide Gadgets Face Off in a Kitchen Thought it was interesting.

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  61. Magnificent, Stephen. Just simply magnificent. I'm late in responding because I left for Boston the day after and just got back. Told you about the pre-Thanksgiving trick of falling downstairs with the pumpkin pies, but disaster averted by the local bakery. On Thanksgiving day, all went well. DIL got a little behind when she forgot to prepare the brussels sprouts and did them at the last minute. I just kept everyone's wine glasses full until the dinner was ready to go. I did end the evening, however, by locking the car keys in the trunk which necessitated a trip, by Mr. K., with someone's car back home to retrieve the spares, a 70 minute round trip. Oh, well!

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  62. If you see someone creeping around the outside of your house it is just me trying to steal those flow blue dishes.
    That is all.
    xoxo

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  63. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Stephen. I, too, speak a version of German. When we meet (I'll come to Ohio for that haircut someday), we can talk about life in Germlish or Engman or whatever combination we please. And, yes, life is bittersweet....each quality making the other more endurable.

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