I hope each and every one of you US readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent about two days cooking all of our favorites - candied yams, stuffing, roast turkey, pumpkin bread pudding, cranberry salad - and propped the little ones up on stools with great big spoons and aprons. They love it! My three year old's favorite show is The Barefoot Contessa and she gets really indignant when Ina doesn't use all the butter, which is admittedly rare. She loved the Thanksgiving episode where Ina puts the herb rub under the turkey's skin and was dismayed that she didn't get to pry up the skin with her little fingers this year. Sometimes I wonder who's daughter she is. I like my meat in little styrofoam packages with plastic wrap. Or better yet, fully cooked.
This year, we made a "thankful tree" on the table. The girls collected twigs and we put them in an old olive oil bottle with ribbon tied around it. We had a pen on the table and little leaves we'd printed and each of us wrote something we were thankful for on the leaf and tied it to the tree with ribbon.
It's easy to come up with things to be thankful for. In fact, my heart has been a little heavy this season as I've come across so many sad stories of children suffering with attitudes better than mine is at dinner time on an average weekday - kids with a debilitating type of dwarfism in Iraq, a little girl who is afraid of being snatched by human traffickers on her way to school in Albania, a mother in Albania whose kitchen doubles as the only bathroom in the flat.
But at some point in the dinner, it occurred to us that while it's pretty easy to come up with things we are thankful for, a more important question is who we are thankful to. I'm 34 and this is the first Thanksgiving that I've expressly thought about that. So I encourage all of you to thank him, her, them or Him. Whomever you owe thanks to this wonderful season - and maybe if you can spare the time or the resources, give someone a reason to be thankful to you.
** Note: the painting is the work of Morgan Weistling and can be found here.