Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chicken (or why not turkey?) pot pie. On Thanksgiving and giving thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and as much as I would like to celebrate it with those I love spread around the world, it is just any other day here. F and I will go to work, my kids will go to school, we will get home way after dark and with very little time to cook dinner, let alone roast a turkey. F has soccer night and although he very kindly offered to cancel it to spend the evening with us, I didn't have the heart to accept. After all, the kids go to bed at 8:15, especially on school nights, and he only gets back after 7:00. So even if I had been extremely organized and planned a menu ahead (which I didn't), there is actually no time to make a big deal. Normally we celebrate with our American friends on the week end but this year we have a wedding in which F. is best man, so it just won't be happening.

Thanksgiving Day Parade - NYC 2009

The first and most important thing about Thanksgiving (yes, together with the food of course, I know!), however, is stopping to think for a moment about what we are thankful for in our lives.

This past year I had a few close encounters with illness, so first and foremost, I am thankful to be spending Christmas in NY with my father (who gave us quite a scare a few months ago) and mother, which is not as obvious as it may sound, given they have been divorced about 35 years and that my mom lives in Europe. I am also thankful for the wonderful Barolo we shared with A., his family and our closest friends the other day at their house. Seeing him smile and watching him in turn watch all of our children playing together meant more than words can say. A little over a year ago this was also not a given. You can be rich, you can have a big family, you can have a loving partner, but if you are ill, money will not buy health (granted it helps) and hospitals and the unmentionable will keep you far from those you love.

I am thankful for that look F. gives me across the table when one of our children does something special that only the two of us can really appreciate, understand and share, because no one else in the world except him will ever love our family the way I do. I am thankful for his support in all my endeavours (including this blog), because he is never judgemental or critical, because he has never ever tried to change me (so many of us are guilty of this). I am thankful that we will be celebrating 10 years of married life next week and that a few days ago, in  the middle of my work-induced chaos, he reminded me in an email of our first kiss 16 years earlier.  

I am thankful for those little blond curls on the side of my son's head that are longer than the rest of his hair, for the cherry-colored birthmark on my daughter's back, for the way their right ear sticks out exactly like their dad's.

I am thankful for the wonderful family and friends I have all over the world and only wish I could see them all more often.

I am thankful that, despite an article being printed today in the financial newspaper confirming that our division is being sold, I still have a job that allows me to live in a nice home in a country where war, persecution, hunger, fear and child mortality are not a daily threat.

I am thankful that through this blog I have found a niche, a place just for me, and a community of people who share my passion.


What are you, American or not, thankful for?

                               You see those curls I was talking about?

Today I am posting a recipe for the ultimate comfort food. This is for those who need a break from the Thanksgiving frenzy in the blogosphere and for all of you who, like me, live in places that do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It is also a complete meal and an easy way to get your kids to eat lots of vegetables, almost without noticing.

1 chicken breast (or breast and dark meat mixed)
1 onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 or 2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup frozen or fresh peas
2 tbsp parsley
lemon juice
puff pastry

Chop up the onion, celery and carrots. Put a little butter (not the 1/2 stick above, you will be needing that later) or olive oil in a pot. Soften the onion and then add in the chicken. When it is cooked on the outside add in the carrots and celery. Sautee a little longer and then add the chicken or vegetable stock. In the meantime melt the butter in a saucepan, add in the flour and whisk, letting it brown for about a minute. Then add in the milk, preferably warm, and mix until the sauce thickens. Pour into the pot with the chicken, adding some freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped up parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together and let cook a little longer. In the meantime preheat your oven to approximately 400°F (or 200°C). When the carrots are soft but not fully cooked through, pour the content of the pot into a baking dish and cover with puff pastry (I used a store bought one). Prick the top to let out some steam (I didn't! My pot pie resembled a hot air balloon for a few minutes). Serve in bowls with a piece of pastry.


  1. Senza voler sbrodolare,
    I'm thankful for having such a good colleague who's also a friend and an example and for a number of other things which more or less resemble those of your your list and can be summerized as: love, health and work.
    Bacio, Ile

  2. Grazie cara Ile

  3. what a delicious blog! here is so many uncanny inspirations!

    have a nice time,

  4. Very well written. I feel the same as you; thankful to live in a country where we can feel safe to live our lives and where we have rights to be who and what we want to be.

    Your dish looks so hearty and tasty. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

  5. What wonderful sentiments, thank you for sharing your thoughts & gratitude. We Australians don't celebrate Thanksgiving either, so its lovely to hear the gratitude.

  6. Your post made me smile, and think of so many more things to give thanks. Thanskgiving is such a wonderful occasion to stop and think about all that we have, instead of what we lack.

  7. My dear, I've been very busy these days but I still want to wish you happy thanksgiving, although I'm super late :)
    Thank you for your inspiring blog ;)

  8. Paula - glad you enjoyed. Thank you for putting a translator on your blog!
    Julie - Yes, we are truly lucky. Hope you had a lovely holiday.
    Anna - Thanksgiving is a great occasion to remember what is really important to us, even in countries like Italy or Australia, where we do not celebrate. I agree.
    Sophia - Absolutely, we spend way too much energy feeling sorry for what we don't have.
    Jasmine - Thank you! Things have been crazy here too and I have been MIA for a few days. Look forward to meeting you in person real soon.


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