This was my nineteenth Thanksgiving dinner as hostess :) I cooked two as a young person when my mom had to work that day, but really started doing this tradition in my own home as a junior in college. I've been doing Turkey Day for Strays ever since. It usually averages around 25 people in attendance and 2009 was spot on the money.
Early in the morning, Mitch checking out his saltwater reef tank, with one of the tables already set up.
This year things were ubercalm in the kitchen the morning of. Doing it as a potluck helps for sure. Here you can see the gravy simmering, the apple cider mulling, the bird waiting to be carved, and the spinach... waiting to be saladed?
Some flowers for the tables..
I'm lucky to share Thanksgiving with old friends. Elaine and Ajay have been coming to my Thanksgivings for a few years now, and their adorable daughter Yana is always a delight..
Jack, Lisa and Lawrence...
Marc and Kal...
Lawrence and Ajay..
Jack, Lisa, Bernardo and Kal..
Yummy cranberry-walnut bread and butter to whet the appetite..
Leah (and her dad Bill, not in the picture) has been coming to my parties since she was little-little. Now she's all grown up and gorgeous. Elaine, Lawrence and Ajay enjoying some conversation before dinner..
Bill, Leah, Jack, Lisa and Ajay..
Bernardo and Paul...
Marc, Mark, Richard, Ulises and Dan.. Mark is one of my new friends, well-met at a Marcelo Garcia seminar at Mark's school in the Dallas area... Dan's another new friend, acquainted through the internet and united in our affection for jits...
Bernardo's pomegranate-rum punch in the foreground, Mitch sneaking a pinch in the middle, and Leah peeking in the background..
About ready to eat and I was really hungry..
Set up a buffet line in the kitchen, with stuffing and gravy in the crockpots... my jits instructors killed some wild hogs and the resulting sausage, with jalapenos and cheese, made it into one of the versions of stuffing ... mmmm!
This 23-pound bird was done in record time..
Mitch did a lovely job carving the turkey-
Green bean casserole and chili'd sweet potatoes-
Mmm, buttermilk biscuits dipped in melted butter..
After I said a totally-screwed up blessing (rushed because I was hungry!) we started loading our plates. Bernardo, Kal and Ali in the buffet line..
Ulises, Kal, Dan, Mark, Paul, Jack, Lisa and Bernardo in the dining room..
Ali and her kids Braden and Parker, Richard, Mitch and Marc in the foyer...
And Lawrence, Bill, Leah, Yana, Elaine, Ajay and myself at the last table..
Ulises digs in..
Bill and Lawrence...
Lawrence and Kal after dinner..
Leah and Elaine..
The dessert spread was quite voluptuous. Everything from homemade pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie, cheesecake on chocolate-chip-cookie crust, to cheese pie, key lime pie, apple pie, and flan-- even mangoes with chili.
Of course, weight cutting for NAGA is now actually a necessity-- but it started today, not Friday. :) Had to get in a visit to the churrascaria and two more slices of the key lime pie!