At the Thanksgiving Table

by Carolyn Foster Segal
Print Email

peterrabbitplateThere are ten of us for dinner this year, ranging in age from 2 ½ to 91. My granddaughter, who is clearly her mother’s daughter in terms of her young culinary interests, feasts solely on (in this order) pumpkin pie and cranberries. At least two other guests besides the two pescatarians opt for salmon. Five traditionalists dine on turkey and sweet potatoes. Everyone except the two-year-old has several helpings of green bean casserole, that holdover from the fifties that is about as healthy as—but even more delicious than—Twinkies. I have a large and lovely glass of the wine selected by my daughter-in-law and contemplate the table.

The plates are Fiesta, in shades—in homage to the season—of yellow, orange, and green, to mirror the last leaves on the maple tree outside the window. I have been careful, however, to make sure that my mother’s setting is pink. My granddaughter has a plate that features Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit. She doesn’t believe me when I tell her that it used to be her Uncle Ted’s favorite plate. The water glasses—an anniversary gift—are from Spain; the wine glasses are from a set my husband and I bought for a housewarming party for our first home.

Later, tea and coffee will be served in the bone china teacups that my husband’s Great Aunt Bess collected. The gravy boat, with a spout at either end and an attached saucer, came from the home of my husband’s Grandmother Sarah. The sectioned glass relish tray is the one that my mother’s mother used on special occasions.

turkeycandle1oPerched next to the vase (found in an antique store on a Cape Cod visit with my mother-in-law) in the center of the table is a small turkey candle from the 1950s; if you turn the candle upside down, you’ll find its price—15 cents. It’s one half of a set; my sister has the other one. Long ago, there were two wax Pilgrims as well (my sister and I melted those down one year in a post-Thanksgiving-dinner experiment).

The largest serving bowl is from our set of wedding dishes. We didn’t want fine china—we chose stoneware instead, with a painted daisy—like a secret or a surprise—at the bottom of each bowl. The plate that holds the pumpkin pie made by my mother for this meal belonged to my father’s mother: Art Deco chrome, its wide rim decorated with an ivory-colored Bakelite ornament of two apples. (Why not plums? The official name of the plate is “Jack Horner.”)

It’s a minor but pleasing mystery, soon lost among the other conversations and memories that swirl about the Thanksgiving table. And in a few weeks, the pie plate will sit on the glass coffee table in the living room, filled with white candles and a garland of tiny silver stars.

 

Carolyn Foster Segal is an essayist and a teacher of creative writing at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Cheese Steak Phanatic
Philadelphia
by Emily Fox

steaksign.jpg I am from Philadelphia, and when I meet someone who isn’t from Philadelphia they always say “Oh! You are from Philadelphia. You must love cheese steaks,” because this is the only thing people...

Read more...
There’s a New Cake in Town: Lady M Boutique
Los Angeles
by Annie Stein

LadyMLosAngeles zpsa394e794There’s a new cake in town. Actually, it’s a whole boutique full of cake and it’s here to stay! Lady M, the glorious cake boutique with three locations in New York City opened in LA last August,...

Read more...
A Magical Night at Dry Creek Kitchen
Northern California
by Maylynn Morales

dry-creek-kitchen-healdsburg-ca-95448-signIt was my 33rd birthday and I decided to treat myself to a nice trip to Sonoma Valley. Some call it the “Jesus year”, but I like to call it another excuse to play in wine country! With all the...

Read more...
Little Rascal
New York
by Michael Tucker

littlerascalsWe went to the Lower East Side the other night to see what the young people are up to. Our son, Max, was playing a gig at the Bowery Ballroom with a great band called dinowalrus. They totally...

Read more...