Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Traditional Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I'm home in Vermont for Thanksgiving and just resting for a few minutes until the cooking frenzy begins.  My sister always plans out a cooking schedule down to the minute so I know that I have exactly 38 minutes before I am due to be in the kitchen.  Woe unto me if I am not there at the appointed time!

We all have our particular roles at Thanksgiving and my sister's is the Organizer.  This is actually her role all year 'round, too.  My role at Thanksgiving is that of Brussels Sprouts Maker, Roll Maker, and Centerpiece Arranger.  I've been doing the centerpiece at Thanksgiving for years now, and I've got my system down pretty well.  I start with a silver bowl, an assortment of dried and fresh fruits and nuts, all in a muted Thanksgiving color pallet (pomegranates, artichokes, pears, chestnuts, lady apples, cranberries, acorns and fall leaves).

First you need a base to build up the height of the centerpiece.  Using the fruits and nuts don't work very well because it's hard to build a tower of round things, so this year I used some of the dried corns we had hanging around.

 Then I added the larger fruit - the pomegranates, pears and artichokes. I chose one fruit to be the top of the heap so the centerpiece was rounded instead of flat.

Then I began filling in the gaps with the smaller cranberries, lady apples and chestnuts.

I filled in the even smaller holes with leaves and acorns.  They had been purchased with long wires attached to them so they could be fitted down into the little crevices of the centerpiece.  Instead of having them sticking out to the sides, I curved the leaves around the centerpiece in a spiral pattern.

Finally, I sprinkled the leftover fruits and nuts around the bowl to give the look of overflowing and I was finished!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


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