Every year on Thanksgiving, for as long as I can remember, my mother has prepared our feast. Sure, I helped a little here and there, but she was always the one responsible for bringing it all together – from homemade mashed potatoes and noodles from scratch to pumpkin pie made from the pumpkins we grew in our garden.

This year was different.

I took on the biggest task this day has to offer: cooking the turkey.

A day or two ago, I began with SusieJ’s instructions for brining a turkey. (Check out Dave’s commentary on the brining process. It’s worth the click.)

This morning, I was the first one up. The house was silent and still, except for the hungry kitty cat circling my feet. I sat in the breakfast nook, tears streaming down my cheeks as I chopped onions for Ree’s stuffing recipe, and in that rare moment of solitude, I realized I was happy. Not just kinda happy. Really, exceptionally happy.

I never thought I’d be the kind of woman that would get a thrill from bringing food to the table, but here I was, basking in culinary glory as the oven preheated. I had barely slept the night before because I was so excited to get started today. With enough quiet to actually think about it, I realized it wasn’t the cooking that made me feel so good. It was the people I was cooking for – the ones who would stir as the aroma wafted up the stairs.

And it wasn’t long before their noses led them down.

Fresh out of bed, Julia dutifully offered her assistance in assembling Angela’s Caramel Pie Recipe.

Pie Assistant

She was kind enough to sample every ingredient to insure it was of the finest quality. Although she wasn’t too sure about the chocolate. She had to try quite a bit before it passed inspection, but the result was worth it.

Caramel Pie

I took a break to watch The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my girl. By the time it was finished, so was the turkey. Here it is, just out of the oven.

The Turkey

And that’s the last photo because after that, the eating began. What came next was a psychedelic blur of food, wonder, love and relaxation that I imagine feels a lot like doing shrooms.

But, before I head back for seconds and thirds and the rest of the chocolate pie, I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Of all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for, you all are pretty high on my list.