Garden Diary - November 2023

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A Family Thanksgiving
Thursday, 23 November 2023

"Come around noon." we were told. Loaded up the car the evening before, last things in the morning. Off we go. Almost entirely on highways: Rte 78 to Rte 287 to Rte 440 to the Garden State Parkway. Traffic was amazingly smooth and moving right along. Arrived about an hour early. People were already there, more will arrive later. Some are driving, some were flying. Coming from Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, New York State, New York City . . . 20 travellers and 4 who live here in south Jersey.

Picture taking went like this. Me and another with an actual camera, everyone with cell phones doubling as cameras. Both random and selective family photos, you know, "Oh come here we need a picture of the cousins, Wait, I want another one." I figured there are enough head shots, I'll focus (yes, pun, I know) on food and things.

Some seasonal decorations here and there, with a focus on pumpkins.

Main meal scheduled for 3:00 p.m. But we won't be going hungry because appetizers are ready and more coming out.

Almost too beautiful to eat. Love the way my daughter cuts the kiwi.

Two ladies busy in the kitchen, assisted by a rotating cast of helpers
(who always seem to be female . . . though men carry out trash.)

Appy skewers, embelished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Skewers are one time use. Pity.

Appetizer plate with only scraps left, not so decorative after we've eaten its delicious offerings.

Two cats live here. I only saw one. He'll let me pet him, but not hold.
Twenty four people = 48 feet. Up on a bench is safer place for a snooze.

And more acceptable than on the table, even if the food is not yet on it.

Clever and useful - a small stand with cutlery in jars, with sturdy slate-like plastic labels.

Now it is time for the main meal. Dish after dish is brought from stovetop and ovens
(of which there are three.) Buffet assembled and we start filling our plates. There is

Turkey - of course, it's traditional! and spiral ham and
shredded beef pot roast that had been quietly simmering in a slow cooker overnight
two kinds of gravy
stuffing and cornbread and mashed potatoes (I helped peel the 10 pounds of them)
broccoli casserole and braised Brussels sprouts and braised carrots
almost forgot! green beans too
a salad . . . and probably more but I don't remember

Wait! Other photographer needs a picture before eager eaters start to fill their plates.

Everyone is quite full of delicious food and holiday cheer. We sit around,
talking and desultoriously watching (what else, it is also traditional)

football on the enormous TV that's over the fireplace. (More with the TV later.)

Desserts replace the main meal. I brought chocolate dipped fruitcake bonbons,
two kinds of cookies, and three cakes, with cranberry cherry apple ginger chutney

to go with my cheesecake. There were at least six other cakes and two kinds of pies.
We were spoiled for choice. Not a bad fate, right?

And that other TV "thingy" I mentioned before? One of the two young men
(who also lives in this hospitable home) creates fantastic geometric repeating patterns

and shared a few with us, putting up on the TV. More interesting, for me, than football.

It's now Friday, 24 November. The family feast is not yet over. Let's have brunch! It's all part of the plan.

Brunch also had a display of a magnificent appetizer tray. Or should I call it charcuterie board.

Whatever. The yummy items it offered did not remain for very long.

Today the cherry tomatoes and mozzarell balls are tossed in a bowl and garnished with torn up fresh basil.

A platter of genuine New York City bagels. Your choice of three types of cream cheese for
a schmeer. There was also thinly sliced smoked nova (salmon) but that went very fast.

But wait, there's more! And more! And more!

Your choice, take sliced hard boiled eggs or have some of this eggy casserole. Or both.

And / or a portion of this good looking fresh fruit salad.

and when we ran out of Keurig cups our host graciously made a Starbucks run.

Replete, once again, people who had driven were about to start home.
A lovely, loving, delicious time was had by all. And we'll do it again in two years.

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