Discover more from Jillyanna's Woodfired Cooking School Newsletter
Love and Loss at Thanksgiving
November/December Classes, Parties, Chicken Kiev Recipe
I used to love hosting Thanksgiving here in Maine for my mother and her significant other, Peritz. They always drove up from New York and arrived a day before the big event. My mother loved to get here early so she could rest up and then watch me prepare everything from scratch. Everyone who knows my mother admires her high standards, especially when it comes to food. I’m sure some people, afraid of my mother’s educated palate, thought twice about inviting her over for dinner, and no one in their right mind would let her come a day early to watch them prep, but I wasn’t intimidated. I was raised to be a perfectionist. I had attended many special occasion meals planned and executed by her excellency. I knew her likes and dislikes like the back of my hand.
I never had to worry that the conversation would get too political or too religious since we shared similar beliefs when it came to those topics, but we always disagreed about the stuffing. She wanted it made with challah and celery and onions and moistened with Kosher chicken stock. She wanted it stuffed inside the turkey. I wanted it made with focaccia, sausage, chestnuts and dried cranberries, moistened with stock (not necessarily Kosher stock) and butter and served in a casserole dish on the side of the bird. I usually won this battle. But I gave in when it came to her favorite side dishes and desserts: mashed potatoes with rich gravy, roasted Brussels sprouts, fresh cranberry compote, pumpkin and pecan pie.
As essential as the traditional American menu was to her, though, the table was probably even more important. It had to be set with my grandmother’s 22 karat gold Royal China plates, delicate cut glass wine goblets, polished sterling silverware and embroidered linens. Mother gave me these antiques long ago and I knew how much it meant to her to reunite with her fine friends.
This year will be different. My mother’s partner died a few years ago and Mother is losing some of her super powers. She can no longer travel. Instead, I’ll be visiting her for Hanukkah and we will make another of her favorite meals: Chicken Kiev, latkes and applesauce. If you are foregoing turkey this year, due to the shortage or expense, or because you are tired of turkey, you might want give Chicken Kiev a go.
All of you who follow me know that my father died a few months ago and it has been impossible and I think inappropriate for me to sugarcoat my life right now. The bright spot continues to be the support and love of family and friends and the classes and private parties held at Jillyanna’s Woodfired Cooking School.
We do adore celebrating your birthdays and anniversaries and special celebrations and hope that you will join us for some classes or private parties before this year ends. In November and December we are offering a new Introduction Course for Pizza Lovers. In this class we will be making Detroit Style and Roman Style Pizzas in the home oven and you will have the opportunity to watch me make a Neapolitan Pizza in the Woodfired Oven. Also in November and December we will be offering a special Chicken Parmesan and Pasta Night. If you wish to enjoy this meal, but would prefer a different night for your private group (minimum 4, maximum 8) feel free to contact us: 207-967-4960 and we will set up a date and time that is mutually convenient.
Of course, with holidays coming right up, this is the perfect time to buy a gift certificate for loved ones who want to bond and celebrate scrumptious Italian comfort food in a beautiful setting. Val and I look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, we hope you cherish your time with family and friends this holiday season.