The best way I could think of to share Thanksgiving with you is by sharing a family recipe. My husband's Aunt Mary passed it along over the years. But it was his sister, Ann Burckhardt, who brought it up to date for us. She's great at that. Her last book, which was considered one of the best cookbooks of that year by The New York Times, revisited all the standard hot dishes and made them work in today's kitchens with the best ingredients. It's called Hot Dish Heaven, published by the Minnesota Historical Society. Ann's been a kind of food detective in Minnesota, bringing back many of the grand old favorites.
This year, we finally decided to give up on the baked mushrooms we've considered a holiday standard. We forgot to bring the recipe west with us and neither of us could remember it exactly. Additionally, I'd noticed that the past few years guests just weren't thrilled with it. We're trying a new vegetable dish instead. But we're going to try it out before it makes its way to our Thanksgiving table. It's always a good plan.
A few years ago, The New York Times printed a letter I wrote about Thanksgiving and the joy of sharing it with others. It was in response to an article about how annoying it was to have "orphan" guests. I guess the author of the article had a poor experience. My experience has always been just the opposite. And in New York, there were always people who couldn't get home to be with their own families. These guests made us even more thankful that we could share what we had with them. Having them grace a seat at the table was a precious tradition. That's a recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving.