Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Favorite Holiday / Beethoven's "Song of Thanksgiving"

{A centerpiece made of leaves collected on our block - yes, we have fall in Los Angeles!}

Thanksgiving is by far and away my favorite holiday of the year. I suppose that preference befits a gluttonous agnostic like myself. But besides the annual comforts and traditions, I love how our country slows down for several days to reflect on the things we are grateful for.

{Place cards}
Thanksgiving 2010 was the first we'd ever hosted. We had a blast -- and my parents were more than ready to pass the torch to us after decades of hosting themselves. This year, we enjoyed the company of both of our families, plus a few friends.

{Thanksgiving Family Photo 2010}
My husband made two of his signature pumpkin pies yesterday. (Doubling the cloves is his secret; adding orange blossom water to the whipped cream is mine). I prepared my usual tangerine cranberry sauce on Tuesday, and couldn't have been more proud to have scratched even one item off of my T-Day to-do list ahead of time. Pre-turkey, we munched on this delicious goat cheese tart -- smothered liberally with the fig-rosemary jam I made earlier this fall:

For as long as I can remember, my family has prepared the Silver Palate Cookbook's Thanksgiving Turkey with hazelnut, green apple, dried cherry, and sausage stuffing; I can't imagine a turkey any other way. To accompany the bird, we made these pretzel rolls (which were added to the annual recipe canon as of last year), these brussels sprouts with bacon, and a salad with persimmons, pomegranate seeds, candied pecans, and goat cheese. My mom brought over a buttermilk cake with mascarpone whipped cream and fresh berries soaked in sherry; even Poochini was intrigued!

Everything was delicious; but as usual, I found that the best way to savor the holiday was in the company of my family. For a musical pairing, enjoy the third movement of Beethoven's String Quartet in A minor, Opus 132. Written after Beethoven had recovered from a nearly fatal illness, the piece is titled "A Convalescent's Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity." It's about profound, humble gratitude for life. I am hard pressed to think of a more appropriate piece of music to encapsulate the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Hope you all enjoyed yours!


  1. These food photos are INCREDIBLE. yum!

    x. jill
    those ghosts

  2. Wow, talented a pretty!

  3. Nice post, I like it so much! These photos are so beautiful!!!

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  4. Wow - that sounds delish. I totally want to make that tart with the fig jam you brought over, but I'm avoiding dairy at the moment. Boo!!!

  5. The center piece looks beautiful!

  6. Awww your dog is named poochini? That is too cute, the dessert and the tart looks amazing! Glad you had a great thanksgiving and I love Beethoven!

  7. Thank you so much for your sweet comment!! Of course I follow you back!
    Come back soon to visit my blog, I'll be waiting for you!!

    Fox House giveaway on my blog!
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  8. Ciao Maia, I'm always so happy and honoured to receive your lovely messages. I enjoyed so much reading your post and pictures are gorgeous, especially the center piece. The fall atmosphere is so strong and romantic...and the little dog waiting for a piece of cake is my favorite....adorable! I send you a big hug. Pat
    P.s. You met two incredibile people like Michael Bouble' and Barbra Streisand (i adore her) and you are not jumping around like a crazy?

  9. That food looks amazing! Love your blog, I'm your newest follower! I hope you'll follow me back and we can keep in touch, I love finding new blogs! xoxo

  10. Thanks for your sweet comments! Now following you as well :)

  11. that tart looks scrumptious! Sounds like you had a very tasty thanksgiving!

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  12. Such a beautiful table and tasty menu, Maia, but your family photo said it all! (Belated Happy Thanksgiving and early Merry Christmas!)

    As I was listening to the Beethoven piece, I kept thinking how wonderful it must be to play something like that -- have you? Really a fitting song for this post -- gratitude in every note.