I love Thanksgiving! A true family holiday, no gifts, no forced professions of love, no candy for over stimulated kids, just good food, friends and family.
16 years ago when we opened EVOO Colleen and I thought it would be great to have family Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant. Having enough space to gather both of our familys and friends together would no longer be a problem. Back then dinner at my house was not really an option, 800 square feet, a closet sized kitchen and only one bathroom would have made it very difficult for more than just a few people getting together. Colleen and I both have large familys that get along quite well and we thought it would be great fun to get everyone together without worrying about space. So a tradition was born.
Every year my parents arrive from Florida, my sister from Saratoga, brother from Maine, most years another brother shows up from Madrid with at least part of his family. Some years my other sister even shows up from St Augustine, Florida. Colleen’s family is not as scattered as mine, most of them are still in eastern Massachusetts. With the exception of a brother who lives in Moultonborough, NH. To that we add our extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and their family’s. That’s not it, add to that friends, people we work with who either do not have local family or are not close to them. We end up with a real rocking family party, with infants, kids, teenagers, young adults, us middle agers and elders.
Me with my sister Kathleen and Brother Dennis, Dennis is sporting the purple and orange Gobble Gobble Gobble shirt from the road race that we ran earlier in the day.
I obviously cook the main course, a very traditional roast turkey with all the fixings. Others bring first courses, cheese and desserts. I order 4 each 25 pound organic turkeys from a farm in southern Vermont. The days prior to Thanksgiving I prep most of the vegetables, make turkey stock, prep the stuffing. I always make 2 kinds of stuffing, one is referred to as Harrington Stuffing, plain and boring. The other changes each year and will be full flavored and interesting. This year’s was packed with spiced pork sausage and leeks.
a close-up of the delicious real stuffing.
On Thanksgiving morning there is usually a group of us that run Somerville’s Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 mile road race. This year we were surrounded by slackers, only my brother Dennis and I ran the race. After the race with some combination of mine and Colleen’s brothers and brother-in-law, some of which are professional cooks, show up to do the final cooking. Roasting the birds, finishing up the vegetables and making gravy. By the time we are slicing the turkey, beer and wine are pouring freely.
Dennis and I pulling together the last of the dinner prep.
The main course, one of 4 turkeys that were cooked.
We set up a big buffet line and let people have at it (tradition is my mother-in-law, Marilyn Harrington is first in line), replenishing as needed. For the most part everyone shares in the clean-up. Kids enjoy pouring soda and bussing tables. The past few years I have scheduled (paid volunteers) 2 dishwashers to help with the cleaning. I insist that they join us at the table for dinner. They get to see how this large dysfunctional American family celebrates it’s uniquely American holiday.
The buffet line showing off 8 year old Shane’s hand written labels.
5 year old Cate showing off her bartending skills.
Inevitably dinner is finished, each year the same group of us ends up watching, with limited interest (unless the Patriots are playing), football. Friends who had dinner with there own family’s will often stop by for a night cap.
Cate and Julia doing what girls do best, talking.
My 16 year old nephew Zach McCarthy recorded and produced the this time-lapse film documenting our day.