wild turtle crossing

slow: writer at play

Vivian Henoch

Vivian Henoch
Northville, Michigan, USA
June 17
Writer and editor:myJewishDetroit.org
I write around. Follow me on Twitter @vivianhenoch or @myJDetroit


Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 21, 2011 11:41AM

To Brine or Not to Brine? Plight of the Long-Distance Bird

Rate: 13 Flag

For best holiday recipes, food blog and app ever!  See Food52


Left  to my own devices, at my desk with the solitary pleasure of blogging,  my concentration drifts . . . to food.  Beautiful, seductive food.  On this: our Week of Feasting, I find myself fixating on The Bird. To brine or not to brine?  I’m thinking exuberant Vegetables in wild abundance, sauced and complemented: fresh greens or beans?  Contemplating plates of Potatoes, mashed or roasted?  My mind, as if cramming for an exam, is stuffed with ingredients, a recipe surveillance, a shopping list, garlic to mince, rosemary and thyme to chop, cornbread to bake, cranberries to relish, cream to whip, and on it goes.  




There was a time when Thanksgiving was simple.  My task was to polish silver and fill candy dishes (remember candy dishes?)  All matters of menu and its prep were my mother’s domain.  


There was a time when Thanksgiving was a given.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles, sibs, children under wing - relatively speaking, we lived in one place and sat down to one meal. Together.  



No more.  Thanksgiving is now a day we navigate long distance and share in a gentle negotiation between cities, scattered to the wind, answering the calls of newlywed and extended families, and welcoming their invitations.  We pack. We load cars.  We fly.  We cook as guests in kitchens not our own, all in a merry collaboration of effort and expense.   And even so, we miss that ease of true homecoming, getting together.  


Our iPads and cell phones will come to dinner with us this Thursday.  For his first Thanksgiving, we will greet our grandchild on an Apple.  From my nephew’s kitchen in Evanston we will google-chat with both our sons and their wives and new in-laws, enjoying a Thanksgiving poolside in Palm Beach, Florida. From Sarasota, my sister will join us “Up North” -- a first Thanksgiving without her beloved husband, Rick. From Dallas, cousins will jetset in on Thanksgiving morning, carrying bags of groceries from Whole Foods around the corner.  

Best Pumpkin Bread Pudding Ever! "The Last Thing You Need" 

See my first Editor's Pick, Nov. 14, 2010. 


Like a trifle but not as rich. Like a souffle, but heavier. 

Like a pie prepared in a Bundt cake pan. 


And so, the dance before the dinner begins. And what a fuss we make.  And what pleasure in the prep.  (Starting with a shot of bourbon at noon is highly recommended.)  No doubt, there are too many cooks giving hand in the kitchen. There are cats jumping on counters.  There are spatters and spills to mop up all day. And when all is said and done, simmered, stirred and served up on steaming platters and pretty dishes, sliced, spooned, tasted and lapped up to the last impossible bite. . .there’s the discovery of so much more in the dinner than the food. 



What we’ve done in all the fuss and muss, chatter and chaos, we’ve done for love.  And this is our thanks.


Happy Day. 


(Cook well and be well.)


(Gotta share: latest shots of my delicious grandson, Mason.  Will miss him (along with his parents, aunt and uncle)  at our table this year, but Hanukkah latke-making and Christmas cookie-baking ... just around the corner. )






Photos: VHenoch

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A wonderful story with even better pictures.
My god Vivian, when's the book coming out? That real-life cherub hurts my eyes, he is so darling.
Congratulations on the EP!
Your photos are amazing!
I'm totally making that pumpkin bread pudding!! ...and no cell phones at the table!! xoxo
I think you render us all back to our childhood with fine cakes like this MMMMmmmmm.
He does indeed look deliciously adorable.

I need another dessert and your pumpkin bread pudding just might fit the bill! (Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.)
Oh, and congrats on the well-deserved EP!!!!!
Do you have room for me and my blended family? There's only six of us and I'd make my brussels sprouts dish...seriously, a lovely piece and wonderful pictures. Your family sounds fabulous and your grandson is a doll.
Thanks all... for your comments.
The pumpkin bread pudding is fab and a favorite (my nephew's wife and I just made it up one thanksgiving -- maybe the day after. Serve with bourbon sauce (N'Awlin's style) and whipped cream. The dessert got voted off the island this year (too many cooks? ... but I'm bringing the ingredients anyway, just in case it's got immunity...)

The baby will be in FLorida. Alas... but all the more for others to enjoy.
Pauline: where are you? Dinner is in Chicago.
Vivian--a wonderful post. And, apparently you're using the "blessing" of technology to do what John Naisbitt advocated "high tech/high touch". That's what it's for--the next best thing to being there. Have a wonderful holiday.
Beautiful pictures, wonderful recipes. And what a doll face/grand child. Congratulations on the EP. Hmmmm, delicious.
Midwest --
My post isn't about cranberries and turkey. With pix of food, it's written mostly for my family - spread all across the country - and beyond - and for those who care to read and enjoy. With many thanks for your comments.
Great pics.We are are going to brine the Turkey this year.Not the easiest process.You have to clear room in your fridge on a busy holiday to soak it.

Thanks Lee Bergeron
I love that first picture. The baby isn't half bad either ;)

Distance tugs at us, especially when meals cannot be shared. Enjoy your iPie!!
love the piece, vivian, and especially that third pic of mason, the boy cheesecake. he does know how to pose, doesn't he? i predict grand and handsome for that child. have a terrific thanksgiving, avec les appareils électroniques.
OH,the sweet baby!!!

Happy Thanksgiving

Families are spread around the world these days.

So much love in your words and pictures. And yes, a taste of pain and longing, too. May we all be so blessed.