Thanksgiving at our house tends to look like a simple affair, since the dishes are mostly unadorned. The planning underlying it, however, is complex. This is because there are even more individual proclivities than there are allergies. This year Sandy and her family were not with us, as she was camping with about a hundred gluten-eating family members on her husband's side. (For the curious, she carries in her own food!) Even with four members missing, we had to do a complicated tap dance around what people here will actually eat. And guess what?! We had a great feast. My gluten-intolerant lactose-intolerant sister made wonderful dinner rolls using a Jules recipe, as well as a very lovely pumpkin cheesecake. My daughter-in-law Analida made both a much welcomed gluten-free pumpkin pie and a gluten-laden chocolate pie which had all the “normals” moaning and groaning from overeating. The turkey, which had to be cooked from frozen – Hey! It happens, okay? – came out very well and was quite succulent. It was probably underseasoned for many, but that is why I put out all those tiny little salt and pepper shakers that I have had in the cupboard all these years, but never used.
Since it happens that pretty much all the males in the family, and possibly several of the females, do not like condiments of most kinds, salads are by necessity very simple or creative. There is almost always a jell-o salad, made with lots of fresh fruit and fruit juices (cranberry-pineapple for this time of year) and a green salad served with separate salad dressings of one's choice or a homemade salad that is citrus based. The green salad this year was torn red lettuce leaves with chopped pears. The salad dressing, served separately as always, was a lime honey dressing. I have to say it was really great, even if I did make it myself. The fresh green beans were served steamed and unsalted; sweet potatoes were mashed with orange juice and brown sugar; and we had plain white rice, which everyone in the family can/ will eat. It was a lovely feast and everyone ate well, had a good time, and did not get too overladen with fats and salt. That's probably something to be thankful for.