“I am grateful for what I am and have”. I am thankful for the love of my husband Scott, my sons Alex and Scotty and my beautiful granddaughter Daniella and Aubrielle. I am also thankful for my family and friends in the United States, Italy and Australia.
As we decorate our home with Christmas tree and ornaments, I couldn’t help thinking what today mean and why we give thanks.
Thanksgiving is an important American holiday, the only day that everybody independent of their heritage and religious beliefs celebrate with friends and family.
There is no doubt that this day is a distinctly American tradition, but on this day immigrants and children of immigrants, carry on the Thanksgiving celebration and say thanks.
I too look forward to this special holiday to spend time with family and friends and give thanks. You see, Italians love food. Italian family life revolves around food, so it was natural for me to embrace Thanksgiving because this holiday is about giving thanks while sharing lots of food with family and friends.
Italy doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving as we know it; the Romans celebrated a harvest festival called “Cerelia” which honored Ceres the goddess of fertility, agriculture and grain. The festival was held each year on October 4th. On that day the first fruits and vegetables of the harvest were offered to Ceres. The celebration included a feast, music, games, sports and parades.
Nowadays “La Festa del Ringraziamento” or Thanksgiving refers to a variety of religious holidays held through the year for patron saint. In some parts of Italy we observe the Harvest Festival in September during which we thank God for a good harvest season.
Today I would like to share Grandma Helen’s mashed potatoes, one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dish. I was a bit nervous changing a perfect recipe but pleased with the results.
3 Lb. baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup parmesan cheese
4 tbs. butter room temperature
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan cover the potatoes with cold salted water; bring to a boil, lower heat to medium for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, reserve some of the broth.
Mash the potatoes with the butter, mayonnaise, milk and cream; add some of the broth if needed. Season with salt, pepper to taste