Back in the day, school teachers would assign a poem for their classes to memorize for the month. The poem was usually thematic to the month, if possible, connected with a holiday. Around the month of October, I reflect back to a poem my father learned in school. It’s so easy to remember. It’s also a menu. Though I have yet to accomplish in my kitchen what the Thanksgiving poem lays out as the “real Thanksgiving” deal, and have no idea who the original scribe of this poem was, it remains my connection to my father’s happier memories of his childhood in Virginia.


Pies of pumpkin, apples, mints.
Jams and jellies, peaches, quince.
Purple grapes and apples red.
Cakes and nuts and gingerbread.
That’s Thanksgiving.

Turkey, oh a great big fellow.
Fruits all rich and ripe and mellow.
Everything that’s good to eat
More than I can now repeat.
That’s Thanksgiving.