Thankful at last

I can’t believe exactly a month has gone by since my last post! I think I have been having too much fun, or else I’ve been very busy cooking – same thing really. Today is Thanksgiving, a special day for foodies and a particularly special day for me. My son and I spent some of our happiest days together on Thanksgivings as it was one of the only holidays that came without any baggage. It is a day all about food, our favorite shared passion. This it the 3rd Thanksgiving I will have had without him in this world. And that makes me sad. But I had a funny experience today where I thought I’d lost something in the kitchen and it turned up unexpectedly – I kind of figure he invisibly put it in my path. I’m not really sure what I believe in, but I like to think that if ever something would call him back to this earth from wherever he is it would be food. So I’m imagining him hovering and breathing in the wonderful aromas in my house, the house he never visited. He would be here now if he could be. So he must be, somewhere.

It is traditional to think of things that make us feel grateful on Thanksgiving. While growing up we used to each say something we were grateful for as we were sitting at the dinner table. I did the same thing with my son at our Thanksgiving dinners. So, I might try it tonight with the Nomad Chef dinner guests. I think there are only a couple of Americans coming tonight, it will mostly be Brits including some of my son’s friends and some of my new friends, people I’ve met since starting the Nomad Chef. I’m serving my family’s traditional oyster pie as the starter. I love serving it to people and seeing their surprised, wary regard for it. Not sure why so many people don’t like oysters. Everyone eventually tries it though, and then it is a rush to get seconds of which there aren’t any! I’m happy to have these things from my childhood that I can share with my new friends. It’s especially important to me since I don’t have my son to carry these things forward. Others will do it in his place.

I was hard pressed to think of anything to be thankful for in the other Thanksgivings I had as a newly childless mother. But this time it is different. Maybe it’s the reason I haven’t been writing here as often. I’ve been very busy with my new life. My trip to New York a couple of weeks ago, for example (my post of a month ago was in anticipation of that trip). It was the Nomad Chef’s first pop-up in Manhattan. It was truly fab.  A lot of work shopping in a city Ive never cooked in before, and doing two dinners back to back while jet lagged, 1 1/2 hours apart, one day after another. And cooking all of it in a lovely little apartment in Tribeca with a counter of about 1 1/2 feet square! Thankful for the little coffee table that we used to prep (a lovely young woman I met at one of my dinners in London accompanied me and helped me cook). Thankful that the kitchen was super clean as it had never been used before! Thankful that we did the Chelsea dinner in an amazing space. Our hosts were lovely and shared their kitchen with complete strangers. The only challenge was that it was 7 floors up in this elegant apartment building, so serving was a little more interesting than usual. And then the exact opposite, as we cooked for 35 or so in New Jersey, in an American mega kitchen that only people in the suburbs (or mega rich) possess. Thankful for the strangers who made all this possible. And this is what I am most thankful for today – since doing my secret restaurant I have met a whole new set of friends, including many of the musicians who have come to play at our dinners. Two of my favorites were both in New York and New Jersey and came to sing at those two dinners. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. You will see why if you listen to them sing here at the dinner in Manhattan. Three years into this journey of loss, I’m finally at the point where I can start seeing some of the gains. I am thankful for that. And I wish you all, Americans anyway, a happy day with those you love. I hope you can find something to be thankful for today, and everyday.

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