It’s nearly 1am and I haven’t yet gone to sleep from yesterday. This is, hands down, the longest I’ve willingly stayed awake since Hutchy was born. This late, long night has been spent prepping for Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow. Last year, with me pregnant and tired, Sean stayed up till 2am making pies. This year, he was exhausted and after much persuasion, I put him into a restorative yoga pose which he hasn’t yet arisen from. This year, it’s my turn to plan Thanksgiving.

I’ve been making pumpkin pies from scratch, a veggie chilli, a kangaroo chilli, a pot of rice, quinoa-black bean “salad”, and some experimental pumpkin squares. (We over-roasted pumpkin this year… Not that I’m complaining).

As much as I know that I’ll be tired tomorrow, it has been nice to putter around the kitchen in silence on my own. Thanksgiving was always my favourite holiday growing up – no fuss with expectation or gifts, a (fairly) low stress feast with friends. As tainted as the concept of Thanksgiving is by the actual practice of it by colonialists, I believe modern-day Thanksgivings are one of the most beautiful ways to get together with neighbours.

As I cooked tonight I thought back to the Thanksgivings of my life, and to the people who have been a part of them. Of course, Shell Lake, Saskatchewan with Art & Judy up the hill. Those were my favourite Thanksgivings – huge smorgasbords of homemade dishes thrown together by a warm, eclectic, caring group of people that filled in as pseudo-grandparents. Judy passed earlier this year, but I’ll set a spot for her at our table tomorrow.

Later there were the Thanksgivings with friend’s families when I lived in Toronto in my early 20s. A decade later I appreciate being included more now that I did then.

In Belgium I hosted my first Canadian Thanksgivings at my beautiful apartment in an 18th century grand maison, inviting coworkers. Reflecting on it now, I feel it was a bit sad that my only guests were people from work. However, I likely only have that awareness now that I’ve landed in a place I call home, so maybe – when everything is taken into account – it isn’t that sad.

Then there was the Thanksgiving with Sean in Canada the first year we were together. Pumpkin pie hooked him – he asked me to marry him a few days later.

Returning to Sydney, we hosted the next few at our place in Bronte, bringing together a varied crowd. They didn’t all have a lot in common except for being really good, really interesting people. Something about feeding other people is so nourishing.

And now, here we are. Canadian Thanksgiving 2020 in Congo. Hutchy’s first. I hope he’ll grow to love it as much as I have, and to look back on his childhood Thanksgivings with fondness. I don’t think he could feel otherwise. Pumpkin pie is in his blood.

Thanksgiving 2018
Thanksgiving 2018 (best homemade pie to date – Classic filling with vegan crust)