We asked some of our favorite scribes to riff on the part of their down-home Thanksgiving they simply couldn’t do without. Here’s what they said. (Stay tuned for more…)
I grew up in Atlanta in a tight-knit Jewish family. We had distinctly casual dinners—old photos show ketchup and cans of cola on the table. But my Mema strove to make holidays special, and she did that by breaking out her fine china.
When she passed away, I asked my aunt and mother for the only thing I really wanted: her plates. Beautiful and delicate, they are made of gold-rimmed porcelain decorated with rings of tiny pink roses and blue violets.
My taste tends toward modern; these plates are Old World—they suggest high tea, corsets, and monocles. The back of each is not stamped with “Wedgwood” or “Lenox.” Instead it says “Celebrate Czechoslovakia.” When I look at them, I imagine all the places these dishes have been: Prague, Bratislava, New York City, Atlanta, and now Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I imagine all the cooking and the eating, the distinctive personalities.
When is a plate not a plate? When it’s a symbol of where I’m from and where I’m going. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them.