It was a nearly perfect day. The cold snap that turned the trees into flaming reds, golds, and oranges let up for the day, and the predicted rain did not arrive. Nico has a bad cough and didn’t feel his usual self, but he went outside to help Monica rake a few leaves and to swing with Daddy and Gabriella.

Nathan brined the turkey, starting the night before, and the children were impressed with this HUGE bird we were going to eat. I had made a French sourdough round and a ciabatta loaf with sun-dried tomatoes (there is another one in the freezer).

We had brunch at 11:00. Nate made individual omelettes for all of us, and I made pumpkin-molasses whole wheat muffins. A little too healthy for the children, who didn’t dive into them as they usually do baked goods. After that I made a Polish Apple Tart from Monica’s cookbook, Home Desserts, and Gabriella helped.

Nate put the bird in the oven about 1:30. Monica set the table with her grandmother’s beautiful Bavarian china, candles, and the place settings the children and I made from construction paper. Then we all played, rested, whatever we felt like doing. The kids were angels. Closer to zero hour, which was 4:30 pm, Monica made the wild rice dish from the November issue of Cooking Light*, Nate cooked and mashed potatoes, and finally I assembled the green bean, bacon, and shallot dish I had prepared the day before, also a recipe from Cooking Light. After Nate pulled out the bird to let it rest, Monica made the gravy.

AT 5:00 pm, we sat down to dinner. Or should I say, the adults sat down to dinner, while the children, so helpful and co operative all day, suddenly fell apart. They weren’t interested in anything, though they were persuaded to eat a reasonable amount of the bird. They were waiting for the main event, the vanilla ice cream Daddy had made the day before.

From my perspective, this was one of the most delicious Thanksgiving meals I’ve ever eaten. The turkey was most and tender and full of flavor. The brining really worked, and the probe Nate inserted into the turkey meant that it was not overcooked. The wild rice stuffing Monica made, which included chopped dried cherries and apricots, as well as pecans, was a delight, as was the delicious gravy made from the turkey drippings. The green beans were crisp, light and tasty, the mashed potatoes a triumph. I’m not sure what Nate put in them, but they were yummy. We had planned roasted vegetables, but when the expected guests had to cancel, we stuck to mashed potatoes, without which no Thanksgiving dinner can be complete.

The apple pie was okay, the ice cream very good.

The only thing missing was the rest of the family to enjoy it with us.

*I will include recipes when I get the magazine back. I left it at M & N’s.