The thing you realize about Los Angeles, after spending any extended period of time in the city, is that most people who live here are not actually from here. It’s a rare occasion to meet a born and bred Angeleno. And so it follows that the friends you make here become your family away from family, the ones you call when you need a ride to the airport, or when you need help moving something heavy, or when you lock yourself out, and other such occasions. They are also the ones you call upon when you find yourself in town during the holidays.
Many of those in our own circle of friends hail from all over the country, from Massachusetts to Hawaii and many states in between. Each year, those of us remaining in town gather together on Thanksgiving to share a warm and bountiful feast. The host may change from year to year, but the one constant is that the meal is a joint effort with each person contributing something, a pie perhaps, or maybe a casserole, and for some of us, a signature dish that goes without saying we’ll make. We’ve done it for so long now and have developed our own little rhythm that it takes very little effort to plan it. The convivial nature is what I most appreciate about our yearly gathering of friends – the more, the merrier, when it comes to Thanksgiving.
There is something inherently comforting about traditions, which is why, I suppose, in the absence of old ones you make new ones. In this case, our little ritual of coming together for Friendsgiving is something I look forward to every year. From the first year we all got together, so young and fresh-faced, huddled in a tiny apartment around an even tinier table, to the current year, I enjoy reflecting on the bonds of friendship, how it really is a blurry line between family and friends. On a day dedicated to gratitude, being surrounded with friendships that have endured for so long is most certainly a reason to be grateful — well, that, and all the delicious food.
Because every good meal calls for a cocktail, here is a recipe from my husband to you, featuring the wonderful flavors of fall, and sure to complement your Thanksgiving table.
Ingredients (serves 1):
1 ounce Calvados
2 ounces apple juice or cider
2 dashes bitters
Apple slice for garnish
Fill a tumbler glass halfway with ice. Pour in Calvados, apple juice, bitters, and stir together. Top with ginger ale and garnish with an apple slice.