Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Tennessee Thanksgiving

The early morning sun casts an ethereal, timeless glow across the taupe and buff-dappled fields of Grassland Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Thanksgiving morning is a moment of serenity. There is only the distant clang of a cowbell, the soft mewing of a cat, or the flutter of a bird to be heard.

The regal, white antebellum manor house sits majestically on a slight ridge. There is no actual documentation on exactly when the house – described as “Tennessee Vernacular Architecture” – was built, but the date is thought to be 1825 or earlier. It is known that a Revolutionary war soldier named Alexander Greer acquired the property through a land grant from North Carolina in 1815.

These days, Pittypat prowls the yard as protector of the property...

Inside the brick cook house, preparations for the Thanksgiving Day feast are underway...

Mom slices sweet potatoes for a casserole sweetened with apricot jam. Jim shapes the crust for a homemade pumpkin pie …

The aroma of cinnamon and cloves fills the house as the finished pie cools on the kitchen table …

I join the communal preparations, dicing butternut squash for a puree sweetened with maple syrup …


Ray prepares the turkey, and Jim clips sprigs of fragrant rosemary from the kitchen garden to perfume the bird …


By afternoon, the table is artfully set …

A platter of American artisanal cheeses is put out – including clothbound Cheddar from Cabot Creamery in Vermont and gamey and gooey Green Hill from Sweet Grass Dairy in Georgia …

Soon, the turkey is done, and Dad begins his designated carving ritual …

As the sun begins to recede behind the foothills beyond Grassland Farms …

We take our seats at the table and give thanks for good food and blessings, an appreciation of place and the moment, and – despite any obstacles that might arise – an enduring sense of family.


©2008 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

11 comments:

Kalyn said...

Everything looks just wonderful. Is this the house where you grew up? It seems like a wonderful place to live.

Maris said...

What a beautiful day! Your meal looks amazing as does the scenery.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I can't imagine a more perfect setting for a Thanksgiving celebration.

veron said...

What a great Thanksgiving you had! Oh, I love that wall of copper pans. I just posted my wonderful experience at Little Washington...it was fantastic!

Cakespy said...

What a beautiful Thanksgiving. Idyllic, dare I say?

~~louise~~ said...

Impeccable. Just perfect T.W.

Jen said...

Love the story, love the food! And everything looks beautiful 'round there. :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This looks like something to be truly thankful for, TW. And I'd love to walk among those herbs. It must be so beautiful there.

Giff said...

Well that looks lovely!

Kathy said...

Looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving, T.W. A very nice setting for it, too. Hope Pittypat got some turkey!

Anonymous said...

My brother forwarded this to me. Our family bought this farm in 1964 and lovingly restored in over the next four years. My Mom sold the house in 1999 and moved back to Ohio. We loved spending Thanksgiving there - playing football in the front yard, walking over the pastures and hills and just enjoying the outdoors. My best memories are here at Grassland Farm.