If you’ve read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen and enjoyed the dysfunctional banter between family members, you’d have thoroughly enjoyed a visit to our family farm over Thanksgiving weekend.

We left New York last Thursday, Ontario-bound on our favorite mini airline, Porter. Settling into the plane, we found ourselves in the usual seats. Me and my three kids occupying all four seats across, with Rodney in the luxury seat behind.


In all fairness, he does end up with his share of work when we travel but I definitely got the short end of the stick on this leg. Fortunately the beverage cart came quickly, giving me some liquid stamina for the ride.


At long last, we arrived at the farm in Caledon, an hour north of Toronto. The sun was setting, and after a late dinner, we settled in for the night.

The next morning, my Dad got the tractor out of the barn to give the kids a tour of  the property. I’m not sure what my Dad was thinking when he set up the scarecrow over the vegetable patch (top right), but to me it bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Myers from the Halloween movies.


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Farm Collage

This weekend we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving and for the first time in 10 years, I headed home for the holiday. Our family farm has been a part of my life for over 30 years. It’s hard to believe that I was about Lauren’s age when my parents bought it. Some things are still the same – the pond, the forest, the vegetable patch, the old meandering creek.

And some things are new – the renovated kitchen with the long-awaited gas stove, the screened in porch with a view of the pond, and most important, the coyotes who have built a home for themselves near the barn.

Travel is tough when you have young kids, so we don’t get up to the farm often. And I’m lucky enough to have my family visit me in New York. Particularly for American Thanksgiving every November.

Learning to cook Thanksgiving dinner was a turning point in my cooking career. It goes without saying – this dinner is a beast, the most fearful night of cooking for many a home cook. There are high expectations, loads of prep work, and biggest source of angst – the turkey itself.

If you’ve ever dealt with a raw turkey before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Forgive me for being blunt, but it’s not often that most people need to handle an 18-lb dead animal.

Prepping a raw turkey can make even most die hard carnivore squeamish. Lifting it up is strenuous, and that wingspan! It’s impressive and horrifying all at the same time.

To this day, prepping the turkey is one of my least favorite activities in the kitchen. But I buy organic, sustainably-raised birds to ease the guilt factor, and handle it with care, brining it and layering it with butter and herbs. It’s cooking as spectacle to some degree, but it’s tradition, and Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without it.

In 2003 I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. I’d been cooking actively for a few years at that point, but had yet to venture into Thanksgivingdinnerland. 

Fruit and veg

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