A Russian Thanksgiving

This year we had an untraditional Thanksgiving. We originally planned to buck tradition and head to New Orleans for a week of feasting leading up to turkey day. We had gotten tons of restaurant suggestions and eventually settled on Galatoire’s for Thanksgiving, Commander’s Palace for brunch, and dinner at Jacques Imo’s to start.

The New Orleans trip had been my father’s idea – a week of family, not just a day. We booked our hotel and flights over the summer but our plans were derailed last month when my father had a stroke. From rehab, he cobbled together a question about the weather in New Orleans. He remembered; a good sign. But, it wasn’t to be. While he is doing remarkably well, travel was not in the cards.

So I found myself in New Jersey with my parents, but without the usual Thanksgiving Day plans. Our Russian neighbors across the street invited us over for Thanksgiving with one caveat. They would not be serving turkey. Instead we enjoyed a Russian feast with some American touches including baked apples and sweet potatoes.

The first course was an assortment of salads. There was a colorful beet salad with dates and nuts; an American salad with goat cheese; an Olivia salad with eggs, potatoes, pickles and who knows what else; deviled eggs with a mushroom pate; stuffed peppers; and caviar from Greece.

The second course was a bird, but what exactly I don’t know. There was no white meat so it wasn’t turkey or chicken and I didn’t I ask, I just ate (it was good). Although we didn’t have stuffing, I was stuffed when I learned that there was also a pot roast coming. However that never got served as everyone was full – the markings of a true thanksgiving. We did manage to muster up some room for a sour cream cake and chocolates.

Although it wasn’t the Thanksgiving we had planned, it still had all the right fixings – we were together.

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