A Sobremesa Thanksgiving

Please don’t confuse this title with “A sober Thanksgiving,” because I assure you, none of us was sober throughout the process of prepping, cooking, or enjoying this years’ meal.

What? We’re all adults here…

Speaking of being an adult, something shifts when you transition from simply sitting back and enjoying the feast prepared by relatives much older than you to actively engaging in the process. This year, my husband and I took the reigns with his family’s gathering and executed 80% of the meal ourselves, including the turkey.

On top of assuming the responsibility of feeding 12 plus people, I am also confronted with the cognitive dissonance that hits me every Thanksgiving.  Yes, I have always cherished this holiday, I love the family connections, the *cough* sobremesa *cough*, but there’s a deep sadness that taints this holiday once you know the truth about the white man’s relationship with Natives, and let me just say it’s not all happy pilgrims, neighborly kindness, and pumpkin pie.

This American Life did a great story called “Little War on the Prairie,” where they report the story of a terrible battle in Minnesota:

“Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in US history of Dakota warriors. 38 of them were hanged by the order of Abraham Lincoln, more than 150 years ago,  the day after Christmas, 1862.”

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/479/transcript

I’m not trying to rain on your Macy’s Day Parade, but the reality of our existence in this country doesn’t produce the sanguin sentiment so many of us cherished as children.

And yet, despite being conscious individuals, there are still turkeys to roast, pies to bake, potatoes to mash, and relatives to cherish during this thoroughly manufactured holiday.

Michael and I had the privilege of visiting family in Knoxville, TN and I couldn’t think of a better setting to celebrate this Autumnal holiday, surrounded by Smokey Mountains and brilliant fall colors.

Since we were so instrumental in doing the cooking, I didn’t have time to grab the beautiful photos that usually accompany our posts… ie Carole wasn’t there to offer her photog skills and Michael was elbows deep in turkey juice.

Despite the lack of photos, I can assure you this was a Thanksgiving meal worth writing home about.  Michael brined the 23 lb turkey for 12 hours and then stuffed the skin with butter and drizzled olive oil and herbs over the top as it roasted. All the usual suspects were also on the table: mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, plus some stunning homemade quick pickles and jalapeño poppers.

The star of the whole occasion was the merging of extended family members, all of whom were new to me, coming together and sharing 3 days of stories and memories.  It was, in a word, perfect. A true Sobremesa Thanksgiving, indeed.

From us over here at Sobremesa Waco, we hope your holiday was filled with all the joy and good food you can eat.  Also, do your part to be a good citizen and help your fellow man on Giving Tuesday coming up on Nov. 28.  As privileged white people who built a nation on the mass murder of natives, it’s the least we can do.

I want to highlight an organization that’s doing incredible work across the world, and now, has started a branch in Waco, Texas:

 “Rlabs’ passion is solely to create systems and environments where the lives of many can be impacted, where individuals may find empowerment and transformation can occur through hope, technology, innovation, training and economic opportunities.”

You can donate and make a difference here: https://rlabswaco.org/donate/

Women We’re Currently Crushin’ On…

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Taylor and Sam

In case you didn’t notice, this blog is produced by two powerful, fierce women who love food, our families, having fun, and freakin’ lots of WINE! In honor of #WomenCrushWednesday we wanted to start a series that features the badass women in our lives that inspire us to be our best selves while practicing self-love through our failures (which happen daily).

We decided to kick this off with our dear friend, Taylor, who recently packed-up, put Waco in her rear view mirror, and relocated herself + her son, Sam, back to Nebraska. This was a sad day for me particularly, because Taylor embodies this vibrant feminine energy that spills out on everyone around her. When we first met, she opened her heart and shared her journey with me.  A story too incredible to fully share on this blog–one marked by sickness, miracles, healing, sorrow and love.  Taylor’s a fighter, and she pushes to find beauty in the midst of chaos.   I find her openness rare, and I will forever thank Taylor for her willingness to “go there” when so many others just will not.

Before Taylor left Waco, we made her dinner, got her a little tipsy on this killer cocktail, and asked her to answer some questions about life, food, and what it means to be a woman.  Here’s that interview mixed-in with photos from our dinner together.

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Carole used Balcones Baby Blue 100% blue corn whiskey to make her fall cocktail

A: We are primarily a food blog, so I’d love to hear your philosophies on food and how they have evolved over time, especially since becoming a mother.

T:  Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine.” As a nurse, and as someone who’s lived through chemo, I understand the need to take care of our bodies.  The condition I had when I was younger, that my dad was able to diagnose, is directly related to a high presence of pesticides found in our food sources.  This is why I try to exclusively eat organic, clean food.  It’s life and death for me, and I want Sam to always be putting good food in his body.

A: Speaking of Sam, how did your approach to food specifically change once you became a mother?

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Fire smoked apple and blood orange whiskey cocktail

T: Everything changes when you become a mom because you think about every single detail of your life and the corresponding implications of each and every choice.  When it comes to food, I initially wanted to lose the baby weight, so I became more food conscious, but then I discovered how much more energy I had and how much better I felt when I ate good, real food.

A: What food items could you never live without?

T: I live off of sweet potatoes and almond butter with shredded coconut. I eat that every day for breakfast and it’s just the best. Ultimately whatever you put in, you get out, so I’m just big into healthy food in general. But I seriously inhale food way too fast, I love it so much. I am also obsessed with Indian food.

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April and Taylor

A: Sobremesa is a philosophy that speaks to creating community by gathering around a table and eating great food together.  What do you love most about cooking with friends?

T: I would say the communal aspect of experiencing what you create together and the joy that comes from sharing that with loving, kind people.

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I was a single mom before re-marrying last year, and although my experience was vastly different than Taylor’s, there’s something deeply meaningful when you find a woman who embraces your story with a “me too.” There’s just something about having to start your life over, alone, with a child, that creates a resilience deep within your soul.  There’s this mama bear that comes alive when the universe and circumstances threaten everything we love and hold dear.  Still, after walking through that fire, we shine all the brighter, and Taylor’s brightness radiates from her deep within her beautiful soul.

On the food side of things, we made butter chicken with roasted butternut squash and naan for dipping. Michael has a killer recipe for butter chicken that involves layers upon layers of flavor. Comment on this blog if you want the recipe!

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You do you, girl!