By Carleton Varney Special To The Palm Beach Daily News
Like so many Americans, I carry a special place in my heart for Thanksgiving. And I know I’m not alone among those with homes in South Florida who always welcome the holiday as a signal that hurricane season will soon be over — and that the Palm Beach social season has begun. Hard to believe that we will soon welcome the New Year.
The winter holidays seem to come earlier each year, and I, for one, am not always comfortable with the accelerated pace. Tom Turkey, I’m afraid, tends to get short shrift between the frenzy of Halloween and the anticipation of Christmas and Hanukkah, as more people follow the lead of stores by putting up holiday decorations well before the fourth Thursday of November arrives. Sometimes it seems the shopping-rush of Black Friday gets far more attention than the national holiday that precedes it.
Still, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday to many of us who welcome this thankful time, this day to enjoy gathering friends and family for a traditional meal, as home cooks and restaurant chefs bring out the chestnut or oyster stuffing. Thanksgiving Day is a short but I believe very meaningful moment each year.
It’s also a time for memories. I’ll give you a little hint from Grandmother Varney’s kitchen. Granny always boiled her big turkey prior to baking it in the oven. She always wanted the turkey meat to be moist, so before she stuffed poor Tom with corn bread and dried fruit, he would get a 10-minute boil.
Even as I make preparations for the holiday, I am going to be busy at a couple of meet-and-greet events in Palm Beach and Lake Worth this weekend. And I would love to meet you. Although I’ll be signing books, there’s no purchase necessary, as they say in the commercials, if you stop by. I’m always look forward to meeting new folks and to offer advice, preferably of the decorating kind.
One of those events is Saturday at the Flagler Museum’s gift shop in Palm Beach, and I’m particularly happy with the Christmas tree I’ve just just finished decorating there with a Florida theme. It’s all in aquamarine blue, corals, whites and silvers. I hope you’ll come and see it.
Then on Sunday, I’ve been invited to The Book Cellar in Lake Worth, where I’m looking forward to visiting with the authors of “Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth,” published by The Cottage Press. It’s one of my favorite local books , filled colorful photos of the small-scale and vintage houses that make Lake Worth so charming.
I want to wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings. You can bet that I’ll be enjoying pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, onions and peas, and all the fixings that we Americans love so much.
And don’t forget, a quick 10-minute boil before baking will help make your turkey moist and delicious, as Grandmother Varney taught me taught me long ago in her New England kitchen.
Saturday: Carleton Varney will sign copies of his books, including his latest, “Rooms to Remember,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the gift shop at the Flagler Museum, 1 Whitehall Way. Visitors can enter the shop without paying the museum’s entry fee. For details, call 561-655-2833.
Sunday: Varney will sign books 3:30-5:30 p.m., at The Book Cellar, 801 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. He’s joining the authors of “Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth” published by The Cottage Press. Call 561-452-5456.