A Turkey with Whiskers

I am an unabashed fan of Thanksgiving, a happily non-sectarian holiday all about our deep abiding love of sugar, salt and fat. I even love that it's wrapped around a ceremonial protein of questionable historical relevance everyone pretends to like, knowing full well it's all but impossible to get right. The challenge of cooking turkey ~ and believe me I’ve tried every crazy recipe out there ~ is one of those culinary conundrums that for someone who hates to give up is the gift that keeps on giving. Side dishes ~ with all manner of roots and berries and nuts, pumpkin cakes and sweet potato pies ~ now that’s where Thanksgiving comes into all its harvest glory. And say what you will about the veracity of the Pilgrim and Indians story, it's always nice to put bounty, humility and gratitude together before you sit down to eat.

For the decade we lived in London we threw great parties every Thanksgiving.  Lukka would hang American flags from his balcony and everyone we knew would come over for a long afternoon of what can only be called debauched eating and drinking, after which we’d sit around the huge disheveled tables unable to move while the children, high on sugar and just being together, created mayhem in the gardens.

If I’ve learned anything over the years celebrating Thanksgiving ~ mostly at home, sometimes in restaurants, once in a country where a giant fish with whiskers stood in for the turkey, it's that after the fact it's never actually the meal you have a desire to recreate. Whether served on silver platters or paper plates, with vintage wines or plonk, in the end it's the people you share it with that make it special. It's the people you will miss.

So here's to Family, Friends, Food and Wine.... From our kitchen to yours we wish you a Happily Rambunctious, Thoroughly Delicious Thanksgiving.

Then Let the Holidays Begin...

Barndiva is always closed on Thanksgiving so our hardworking staff can eat themselves silly, but we open the next day with a Bang. The Downtown Holiday Party on Friday is Healdsburg's official kick off to the season, a chance to experience our town "drinks on the house" style, all lit up and ready to party. We haven't decided yet what special libation to concoct for you, but we've  managed to get Octavio to agree to make a  croque-en-bouche ~  a towering French pastry made of cream puffs and spun sugar. How high will it go? You'll have to come and see. This is a wonderful evening, a chance to reconnect with the community and maybe pick out one or two special things for Christmas you won't find in the boring big box stores. We hope to see you here.

Join us for Cocktails and Croque-en-bouche ... at the Downtown Healdsburg Holiday Party... in the Gallery  from 6-8.

And don't forget...

Dining Out For Life ~ Thursday December 1- countywide, a wonderful once a year event to support Food For Thought, which in turn supports the Sonoma County AIDS Food Bank.

Strolling Dine Around ~ December 7, 8, 14, 15- a chance to enjoy a delicious multi-coursed meal served at various restaurants across town, benefiting the Healdsburg Shared Ministries Food Pantry.

All text Jil Hales. All photos Jil Hales and Dawid Jaworski (unless otherwise noted).