Thanks for Friends with nosurefooting and The Purplest House

This past Saturday, after all familial obligations were fulfilled, nosurefooting and The Purplest House got together for our first collaboration: friendsgiving!

Maggie made sautéed kale with walnuts, a roasted root vegetable salad with arugula and goat cheese, and (the real star of the evening) spoon fork bacon’s pumpkin butter. One of our friends brought grilled sweet potatoes and a delightfully smokey poblano pepper soup. I did my pumpkin beer roast chicken (I went to three different liquor stores to get pumpkin beer, apparently it’s impossible to find as of the day after Thanksgiving), and Smitten Kitchen’s caramelized shallots.

People, these shallots are what’s up. They’re the most decadent candy dessert that you feel ashamed to eat, in shame-free veggie form. More than one person said to me during dinner, “I really don’t like shallots or onions, but these are amazing.” Forget every other method of caramelization you’ve ever seen, use this recipe.

How lovely does our table look? Full credit to Maggie for that one. The seat cards are hard to see in this photo, but so cute. Maggie printed the bigmouthed head graphic from this Design*Sponge post about bookplates. Easy, peasy, adorable.

And don’t forget dessert! Pecan pie, pumpkin chocolate chip pie, lemon bars, and of course… more pumpkin butter.

This Friendsgiving was actually a repeat, a reunion of sorts. In my senior year of high school, a small group of friends got together and had their own Thanksgiving dinner. It was, in fact, this same group of people. And we ate our dinner at the same exact table in Maggie’s house.

That year I was applying to too many colleges and drowning in essay questions that needed answers. I remember one prompt in particular, it seemed simple enough: write about dinner with your family. I was in high school and suffering from the most horribly clichéd kind of teenage angst—the last thing I wanted to write about was the sullen, uncomfortable dinners at my house where inevitably my mother would ask, “Do you really think you’re going to leave the house wearing that?” The solution seemed simple: to my moronic-but-sweetly-naive seventeen year old self, my friends felt more like a family than my actual family. When I sat down to write this post I dug through the bowels of my old email account and found the essay in question. Here’s a little taste:

Today is December ninth, an odd day for Thanksgiving, but we’re an odd group, made from the odds and ends of other high school cliques. We came together slowly, surprisingly, sometimes reluctantly, but always with the strange sense of coming home. We’ve somehow managed to cram twelve chairs around the long table; everyone overlaps at the elbows, we step on each other’s feet a lot. My knee collides with someone else’s under the table. We have six different types of potatoes. 

Reading the essay I was struck by how much things have changed. The Boy was present at the first dinner but sitting next to someone else, some of the original cast members couldn’t make it this time around, and we had only one potato dish. When I was seventeen, I spent every waking minute with these people. At 22, I hadn’t seen some of them in six months. But looking at that last picture I know that even though we’ve all grown up, the second we’re together in a room everyone is suddenly seventeen again. I would rather chew off my own arm than go back to high school, but every once in awhile it’s nice to be moronic but sweetly naive.

All photos courtesy of Xander Keeping, endless thanks to all the old friends who brought food, booze, and good cheer to Friendsgiving II, especially Maggie, our rockstar hostess.

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