Almost anyone who would be reading this knows that Mr. has not been entirely well, which is one of a few things that have kept me from documenting our lives here for some time. 1L would be another one of them, as would the sun’s awful habit of abandoning its shift a little earlier each day.

This Thanksgiving break Mr. and I flew down to Washington, D.C. to see my in-laws. We love Thanksgiving as much if not more than any of the other holidays. New Year’s Eve is amateur night, loud, exhausting, and expensive, and when Christmas’ sugar-and-consumption rush wanes, I always feel a little moody. Thanksgiving requires no stressful gift giving, unless you count bringing a dish to share. It fills a home with enticing aromas for hours. It provides for conversation, for napping, and for leftovers. The only downside I can imagine is there’s only one Thanksgiving per year, which means we cannot see all three of our families on this delicious day. While we sat around three (!) tables in my mother-in-law’s dining room, sharing a meal with sixteen friends-and-family-members-and-friends-who-basically-are-family-members, I certainly thought of my loved ones scattered along the East coast: my mom, having a rustic Thanksgiving in the mountains of Pennsylvania, as she and my stepfather always do; my dad and stepmother, in Long Island with my grandmother, sharing traditional Italian-American specialties, like butter cookies, that my grandpa used to make; my other grandmother, eating Puerto Rican food in the Bronx; our aunt and uncle in Massachusetts, cooking a feast for forty-two people. It was a rich Thanksgiving all around, and Mr. and I would have felt fortunate to sit at any one of those tables.

We ate unbelievably well for the weekend. While most of you were having pizza the night before Thanksgiving (an awesome tradition in its own right) I was spoiled with oysters, pasta, and lamb. And while I never actually enjoyed Thanksgiving food when I was a vegetarian, Thursday’s supper of stuffing, mashed potatoes, buttered brussels sprouts, two kinds of turkey (one in the oven, one on the grill), gravy, and cranberry relish was the perfect fall meal. A full Thanksgiving plate will always mean a lot to us, because four Thanksgivings ago Mr. took me home to meet his parents, even though we had only been dating for a few weeks.

When we reached our apartment in Massachusetts last night I could not help but feel a little cold. Mostly because the temperature is a few degrees lower here in Cambridge than in the District, but at least partially because our home was missing and assortment family members, cooking aromas, and a fridge full of memories leftovers. Well, we could fix at least one or two of those right off. Having already booked a Zipcar, Mr. and I rushed off to Whole Foods to stock up our fridge, and came home to make pancetta, white bean, and chard potpies from Deb Perelman’s new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The book was an early Christmas present we picked out at D.C.’s excellent independent bookstore, Politics and Prose. We obviously could not wait to try a recipe or two.

By the time we were done, our house smelled amazing.

Here’s one suggestion I have for this recipe: if you have access to really beautiful pancetta (my father-in-law makes this for his restaurant), use it; if you only have access to insipid, floppy, deli counter pancetta, do yourself a favor and just buy really awesome bacon.

I am one of those people who believe that a new apartment doesn’t smell quite right until I cook some onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in the kitchen. Of course, the garlic hasn’t joined the pot yet here.

Winter greens.

Butter on its way to becoming a roux. Foamy butter mesmerizes me.

By the time the filling looked like this, I was starving, and not because it took long to make.

The finished pie had a super flaky crust. There is a little bit of sour cream in the dough, but the main aromatic component was butter. Oh dear. These were hearty, and I ate about half of one, even though we made them a little smaller than Deb does in her recipe. Oh well, that means more servings of gorgeous potpie!

How did you spend your Thanksgiving? What do you make when you’re seeking comfort? This was my very first potpie – if you like potpie, what sort do you like? Chicken? Lobster? 

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