Sharing the Love: We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do this on Thanksgiving Day itself or any other day of the year, it really shouldn’t matter; it’s all about spreading the love.
Thanksgiving is an event that is usually celebrated with autumnal tones, but, in Australia, the day falls right in the middle of spring, so I am going to put my own spin on it. As we focus on what we are grateful for, I can’t help but feel extra grateful for the beautiful city I live in (Melbourne), for the fresh air and for the gorgeous vegetable gardens that feed our families and communities, abundant with produce at this time of year. Taking inspiration from a spring vegetable garden for my Thanksgiving lunch, I am moving outdoors and am surrounding myself with nature – something we should all be very thankful for.
Spring is a time when trees come alive with blossoms, and fruit and vegetables bud and ripen, so my Thanksgiving theme is celebrating the new growth that will eventually be harvested. This is a common theme that runs through traditional Thanksgiving celebrations – the earliest Thanksgiving feasts were held in gratitude to the year’s abundant harvest. In the United States, the ﬁrst Thanksgiving was celebrated in the early seventeenth century. It was a three-day feast, and Pilgrims and Native Americans shared in the festivities. The day was formally recognised when George Washington declared it a national day of ‘thanks and care’ in 1789, before Abraham Lincoln made it an ofﬁcial federal holiday in 1863.
What better way to celebrate nature than to set up a Thanksgiving feast in the middle of a veggie patch? I am so thankful for the variety of fresh produce that Australia has to offer, so I set the table in the middle of a vegetable garden, keeping it rustic as a nod to the traditional autumnal Thanksgiving, but adding some Aussie quirk to it.
As it’s all about the garden, I just had to dress my table to suit. At my local gardening store, I found some terracotta saucers that I spray-painted in chalk paint. These acted as my charger plates, adorned with linen serviettes. I used a potting table that needed a little dressing up, so I collected baby cabbages, brussels sprouts, artichokes and asparagus to present down the middle of the table.
On a day that is all about giving thanks, put some thought into where you place your family and friends. A little gift for your family and friends to show that you love and appreciate them is always a special touch.
Chyka Celebrate Book Signing coming to Rustik Café & Foodstore, Benalla
In line with the imminent silly season, Rustik Café & Foodstore in Benalla, North East Victoria, is hosting a special book signing event starring Australian homemaking and styling expert Chyka Keebaugh. Visiting Rustik on Friday, 18 October and signing books from 3:30pm, Chyka will greet guests and personally sign copies of her new book Chyka Celebrate – a complete and extremely gorgeous guide to themed entertaining throughout the year, with each page lovingly designed in Chyka’s signature and accessible style.
The above content is an edited extract from Chyka Celebrate by Chyka Keebaugh, published by Hardie Grant Books. RRP $40.00, available where all good books are sold. Photographer: © Commission Studio
Chyka Celebrate – book signing Friday, 18 October from 3:30-4:30pm
Rustik Cafe & Foodstore
28 Bridge Street, Benalla, Victoria
Tel 03 5762 4686