2016 has been a rough year — can we all agree on that? Between the passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and Prince and Gwen Ifill, to the catastrophic presidential election, to my opening the year with shingles…2016 was just awful.
But thank goodness for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has always been a time for family and food. But this year, there was extra importance in giving thanks for what we have. Even in the face of uncertainty, there remains some beacons of hope.
The day after the election, I called my parents. I was weary, sad, frightened, and overall down. My dad described the way he felt as similar to being in a pitch-black room, where you don’t know how large the room is, or if the floor suddenly drops, but you are forced to walk anyway. I don’t think I could come up with a more apt description.
But Thanksgiving this year offered a respite from that darkness. The real world — filled with Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions and Mike Pence and conflicts of interest — is still there. But for a brief moment, we could focus on other things.
I came home on Tuesday afternoon, surprising my mom (since I told her I would return home on Wednesday). Seeing her jaw drop in shock and joy when I walked in the door was definitely a highlight of the holiday.
On Thursday, we busied ourselves with cooking.
And this year, we could eat in the dining room, unlike last year.
We had homemade cranberry bread, corn pudding, stuffing made with homemade bread, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce (classic), brussels sprouts cooked with bacon, sweet potatoes, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and the juiciest turkey paired with gravy made with the turkey drippings.
Papa Teng got in the Christmas spirit while carving the turkey.
Despite being grossly full, we still had pie.
I continued my blueberry pie tradition with the Fourth Annual Famous Blueberry Pie.
This year, I also added salted maple caramel apple pie (yes, I made my own caramel).
And over the weekend, we continued the feasting with Chinese hot pot.
I returned to Manhattan to find that the city is preparing for Christmas as well.
All in all, a lovely weekend of family, food, pajamas, and remembering that there is still so much to look forward to in this world.