Last year, for Dinner 6, we endeavored to home cook our pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner. Laura's menu included a first course of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, followed by a delicious roasted turkey (read about her brining technique here) with Apple and Onion Stuffing Muffins, Peas with Shallots and Pancetta, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables. Everything was a success.
But this year we outsourced the cooking to Cambridge grocery-landmark Pemberton Farms, who delivered to us a hot and delicious pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner. This gave us time to focus on assembling the perfect Thanksgiving table setting featuring Heath Ceramics Chez Panisse dinnerware, a beautifully textured gray Libeco Home Frascati linen tablecloth, Schott Zwiesel Pure glassware, Sabre Djembe flatware, and Match Pewter table accessories. We strayed away from the hackneyed and often tacky typical Thanksgiving colors of bright orange, brown, and yellow, to more muted tones of forest green, gray, and navy; letting the fine glaze work of our deep Heath Chez Panisse plates, the sheen of our Schott Zwiesel Pure stemware, and the soft luster of our Match table accessories speak for themselves, without the glare of garish "Betty Crocker" colors.
As for the food, Pemberton Farm's version of the traditional green beans with almonds wasn't so popular (on that note, I've been itching to try this New York Times recipe for Pan-Roasted Green Beans with Golden Almonds and Shallots), but the rest of the spread--stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and rolls--was. The fixings looked great in the solid Simon Pearce glass serving bowls and the turkey glowed atop the Match Pewter oval incised tray beside the Match gravy boat. The Chez Panisse dinner plates are deep, almost like soup bowls, and our full portions nestled into them well.
The only thing that really didn't get eaten were the apples that our ever-creative table stylist Melissa cleverly used as place card holders. A mum delicately sprouted from each, giving us a touch of that more traditional Thanksgiving color palette.
Over dinner we discussed our individual holiday plans and went around the table (much like the gravy boat did) saying what we are thankful for; Melissa and Jonathan for their family and Pete for pie. The latest addition to the Didriks crew, Justin, who makes sure Didriks customers get what they ordered, turned out to be an accomplished foodie and turkey carver. He gave us all some much needed etiquette lessons, helped with the wine pairings, and taught us to use the gravy spoon (in our case, the Match Pewter Gabriella sauce spoon) as a kind of spade, pushing it into a heaping pile of potatoes so that it leaves a gravy-filled well when you lift it away. We love how this looks in the photos. Although the general mood ran to the adult, Jonathan and Rachel's boys Oliver and Linus were magnets for everyone's attention all night, but cute kids tend to have that effect.
We ended the dinner with slices of pumpkin pie from Cambridge bakery and cafe Petsi Pies, served on redwood Heath Ceramics Coupe salad plates, and coffee in forest large Heath mugs. The Coupe plate's rounded rim and woodsy color made it a great match for the Sabre Djembe flatware, whose iridescent tortoise-patterned handles have an organic taper.
After our coffee and pie this pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving (the Dinner Series' second!) came to an end. While we're all looking forward to sitting down to dinner with our blood relatives on the 24th, everyone was thankful for this beautiful meal with our Dinner Series family. This sophisticated harvest table setting was a pleasure to eat at, and although there weren't any construction paper turkeys here, we were happy to have some young company at the table (when they weren't at their own). Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the Dinner Series!
See more photos on our Flickr.