est. 2008

giving thanks

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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It’s a time of year when we finally stop to slow down. We gather around a table with family and friends by our side and enjoy the meal we have perhaps worked hardest to prepare. Of course, everyone chooses to celebrate differently, but in our house it’s always been about the tradition. China, cloth napkins (that’s a given) and even individual little salt dishes so that… it’s one less thing to pass? We grew up celebrating at my dad’s parents for Thanksgiving and there was a certain pride in setting the table with your finest and requiring everyone to be on their best behavior. Now that those grandparents are gone I suppose it’s the holiday I remember them most at.

This year we celebrated with my immediate family in Michigan. My parents planned to go to the parade downtown, which meant that Matt and I were at home to keep things going and as it turns out – cook the turkey. While we have done it several times before, we decided to try a new method as demonstrated by Tyler Florence on instagram. Matt cut out the backbone and we cooked the turkey flat, essentially, which was very efficient as it only took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish (17 lb bird). We also took care of the mashed potatoes and I had already signed up to make our signature stuffing… but it didn’t occurred to us until the night before that perhaps we were hosting Thanksgiving without being at home. So apparently if you invite us over you can easily get a meal out of it if your kitchen is stocked and you start to talk about food.

With everyone over at the house and home from the parade, we started to plate dishes and put on the finishing touches. I stepped up to carve the turkey and first removed the leg and drumsticks, then worked on taking the breast off of the bone and then slicing perpendicularly. It was going fairly well except for the small stream of turkey juice dripping on to the floor. The dogs had found the drips and stood licking them off the floor, only to begin licking each others faces as they soaked up was falling overhead. Quickly we put an end to the dog fantasy of turkey juice waterfall and got back to work carving.

Thanksgiving was a success. Not because it was perfect, or because we used china and cloth napkins, but because we spent it together. I know that looking back I will be grateful that I was there with family to share good food, laughter and patience as we spent a few days together. I hope you were able to enjoyed the same!


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