Over the years, I’ve often invited others with no place to go on Thanksgiving to share our feast, but I’ve never set aside a special day for Friendsgiving. My younger son and his wife have done that for a few years, and today, I took a leaf from their book. I invited 11 of my friends and neighbors at my new home to come and share a special feast I created just for them—to thank them for accepting me as a friend exactly as I am, and for being here when I need them. They’re an extraordinary crew. I had expected 11 people, but two couples bowed out at the last minute. (We sent plates of food over to them for later.)
Here’s the menu from my teeny-weeny kitchen: Roasted chicken quarters and breasts (12 lbs raw); four pounds of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes; gluten-free cornbread stuffing; chicken and mushroom gravy; cornaroni and cheese; French cut greens beans; broccoli crowns; glazed carrots; cranberry-orange relish; stewed apples with raisins and rum; cucumber salad; charoset (apples, pecans, cinnamon, sweet wine, and a bit of sugar); pumpkin custard; and pumpkin and pecan pies with whipped cream. My Filipina neighbor brought rice noodles and another neighbor brought a sweet potato pie. Another brought a two bottles of wine, and Bailey’s for after-dinner coffee, and another not only supplied all the plates, napkins, cups and utensils, she came early to help set up, and stayed late to help clean up!
I’m awash with gratitude for my mom, although we had a very difficult relationship for many years, for teaching me to love cooking at an early age; for all the tools and utensils from her kitchen; and for giving me their Kitchen Kraft waterless cookware set (amazing stuff). And in the mix, thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law, who sent me home from a visit this summer with more of Mom’s stuff, including her ancient Hamilton Beach hand mixer, which got a real workout today! For many years, I had so few happy memories of Mom, but today, many came flooding back. It was a very good day.
I made sure to prepare enough food for everyone to take some home. I don’t like to take hostages after a big meal, mostly because my dinky refrigerator doesn’t have enough room. What I have left over, I put in a cooler out on the patio until I can make room tomorrow. It’ll probably all be frozen by then, as we are under a winter storm warning.
We have a wonderfully diverse crowd and I’m delighted that everyone who came enjoyed themselves and stayed all afternoon! We had a blast. I am so grateful for their friendship, and especially for all the nice things they said about my culinary efforts. I love to cook and I love to feed people! Seems I’ve started my own new tradition in my new little apartment and my tiny kitchen.