Inviting Nature to the Table

By: Aran Goyoaga

When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what's inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor's recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, as I grew up in the Basque Country, in Northern Spain. However, since I moved to the US, it has become one of my favorite holidays, in part because it brings to mind the foods that my family cooked during the autumn months and, mostly, because it means gathering around a table full of family and friends.

I am always inspired by what the season has to offer and by the colors of nature — in this case red, orange and ochre. We take walks around forests and explore. I long for the wild apple, pear and hazelnut trees that surround my hometown. We used to spend hours wandering and foraging. During autumn, there are always different varieties of apples on our kitchen table ready to be eaten, cooked with or turned into a dessert at any time. I also have a winter squash addiction, “my collection,” as my husband likes to call it. Different types of squash always end up in my recipes these days, whether it be soups, stews, desserts, warm salads or just roasted with some sea salt for an afternoon snack.

Last year I cooked an apple and squash soup over and over again. We took it with us on picnics and cooked it for our Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Served with clams on top, sautéed curry shrimp or parsnip chips, it makes a fulfilling soup — sweet and savory, just as Thanksgiving meals are.

For more Thanksgiving ideas, visit our Thanksgiving Inspiration Board Gallery.

Aran Goyoaga is the writer, stylist and photographer behind the award-winning blog Cannelle Et Vanille. Named second-best food blog in the world by the UK’s The Times and one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal favorites, Cannelle Et Vanille is also part of Martha Stewart’s “Martha’s Circle” of blogs.

Aran was born in Bilbao, in the Spanish side of the Basque Country, surrounded by the Pyrenees Mountains on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. She grew up in her grandparents’ pastry shop, which is still run by her family. She has always been influenced by nature, seasons and art. She combines all these aspects in her blog, narrating stories about food and life.

Thanksgiving Favorites on Cooking Channel
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