Occupy Grown-ups Table is Part of Living The American Dream

Making waves, rockin' the boat and leading the pack living our American Dream

The biennial Thanksgiving celebration with my husband’s family at the breath-taking Oregon Coast, began with our little family’s “prep” at our home here in the vineyard, fifty miles east.

Baking from scratch:  Four dozen white chocolate lemon-lavender biscotti, one dozen “Fallnut Cookies,” a round of sour cream, semolina herb bread, two loaves of savory pumpkin challah braids, a pumpkin cranberry cake with pumpkin cream cheese and candied ginger frosting and four dozen “Stripy Cookies”, started on Tuesday afternoon.

four dozen “Stripy Cookies"My little daughter, aka, lemon zester, flour sifter, bread kneader, passed out hard at around 11:30 that night.

She didn’t even have the energy to read a book, which has not happened unless she was extremely ill, since she was three-and-a-half years old.

I woke up at 2:11 a.m., to continue the baking extravaganza, to which I added an heirloom recipe of scalloped potatoes, from my husband’s great grandmother’s wedding gift cook book titled, Fifty-two Sunday Dinners.”  This adorable culinary gem was handed down to my husband by his paternal grandmother, and the branch of the family with which we would be sharing this long holiday.

Cranberry pumpkin cake with pumpkin cream cheese and candied ginger frosting.

SUCH a lovely thought my husband suggested, and I ran with it.

I got to use both my mandolin slicer for perfectly even russets as well as my candy apple red, Le Creuset casserole which was a birthday gift from mom and dad-in-law last January.  Perfect.

Baking for people I love is a delicious pleasure for me for two reasons:

1.  Baking is a passion of mine and

2.  When I bake for people, I get swallowed up in thoughts of the ones so precious and life-enhancing to me.

Okay 3rd reason.   I get to bake with my little gal, and kiss her sweet, powdered sugar cheeks, and delight in her beater licking giggles.

With everything loaded in the mini-van and chickens, rabbit, and kitties watered and fed, the four of us were off to the winery.

My winemaking husband stopped in for an hour to check on the white wine fermentations and then we were off to the beach!

We arrived to a spectacular sunset, beautiful family and preheated oven ready to receive the dry-aged beef we purchased from our free-rang, grass fed, cattle farming neighbors three days prior, so we could “cater” this year’s Wednesday evening meal.

My husband, Bryan, did a masterful job with the Roast Beast, we had some lovely glass tinkling toasts, tons of laughter and oh was this experience looking and feeling comfortable and joyful!

All sixteen of us went to bed this “Thanksgiving Eve” (as my little son calls it) a little fatter and a lot happier.

Thanksgiving Day moved along with more tasty food, game playing and watching, hugs and stories, communion of spirit and an ease for which I believe the Pacific Northwest’s ocean waves are largely responsible.

Our little ten-year-old daughter, decided she wanted to “dress” for Thanksgiving dinner, and so slipped out of the picture, unannounced, to attend to her special look.

Just before all were to be seated for the big feast, my sweet-petite in all of her finery, took a stand.  Factually, it was a seat.

At the grown-ups table.

Her auntie pointed out that there was a different table for her to be seated at.  Her niece politely stated that she didn’t want to sit away from the group.  Auntie then “insisted” that my daughter’s place was elsewhere.

If the pilgrims and Indians sat together at the first Thanksgiving, why can’t a family sit together at this one?” came out of the mouth of my babe.

Feelings were hurt, auntie raised her voice, and I ran after my daughter who was in tears as she descended the stairs down to our room.

I listened with my heart as she poured her feelings out.  She decided to change her clothes, wash her face, hug me about a dozen times, and when we returned. . .

Grandpa, bless all that he is, found an eight foot banquet table down in the garage, added more chairs, and mixed young and not-so-young together, for our family’s evening feast of thanks.

Talk about GRATEFUL!

Friday morning around the giant table with coffee and cakes and breads and cookies, cereal and sunshine, there was a feeling of change.  Small change and real change.

Savory challah-pumpkin bread.It was very, very yummy.

On our way back to the valley to check on the fermentations, feed and water the animals and give our new kitty his giardia medicine, I turned back to tell my daughter that I was very proud of her.

She wondered why and how I could be proud of her for causing such a scene.  I expressed that as a child, young lady, my child, and as a person, her actions, combined with true loving emotion helped me to know that she will be okay as a teenager.  I said she could be a great leader as an adult, too.  To which, my husband said . . .

“But you’ll have to sit at the kid’s table.”


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  • My mom’s youngest brother Uncle Jaime sat at the kids table with us for years, cause he was kinda in the lost generation….14 years younger than my mom, 14 years older than me. It was always hysterical! We have a baking day tradition that 6 girlfriends get together the first weekend in December (THIS SUNDAY) and we all bake all day and then exchange….its a great time of year and we learn a lot about our lives and our dreams for the coming year…its really a great day….and I’m not really a baker! lol xo Rem

  • I love this story of your daughter. I bet grandpa just about died when she got upset. I used to hate eating at the “kids” table when I was a kid and couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t at the same table either. I always wanted to hear the family stories told by aunts and uncles rather than have some cousin try to stick his fingers in my drink.

    Your baking looks amazing. I want a cookie … right now!