Kitchen angels know how to do Thanksgiving feasts

SANTA FE, NM – Imagine a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter sandwich for your Thanksgiving dinner. That’s about what 300 very ill people would have been stuck with were it not for Kitchen Angels, the organization whose mission is to provide free, healthy, hot meals to people living with chronic or terminal illnesses.

The Annual Thanksgiving Feast is sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty with financial support, kitchen labor and meal delivery. Top real estate brokers in sterile gloves and hair nets could be seen dicing onions and celery for dressing, stirring hot, popping cranberries and filling individual containers with meals for regular, restricted and vegetarian diets, all from delicious, gourmet recipes with natural ingredients.

This is not hospital food, folks! This is sophisticated, tasty and nutritious fare that you would like! I got to scrape the gills out of the enormous portabella mushrooms that were going to be stuffed, while my son scissored sage for the sage butter that would baste the turkeys. A group sliced apples and pears for a dessert.

This kitchen functions like a military operation. Theresa at the command post by the walk-in fridge directs traffic from her clipboard of duties and assigns tasks one after the other with precision timing. Finish your job, and on to another one. Get a knife, get a color-coordinated cutting board for the job at hand, green for vegetables, yellow for poultry … hup two three!

Those who deliver the meals report intense feelings of gratitude afterward. Being so close to so many people who are disabled, immobile, alone, lonely (no, it’s not the same thing) is a poignant reminder to be appreciative of own’s own blessings and capabilities in life, and full of thanks-giving.

St. Nicholas Bazaar

Here’s a holiday game: Would you rather have hand-knit scarves and baby clothes, or machine-knit? Homemade foods, or manufactured? Handmade ornaments or Hello Kitty? In a world of mass-produced junk, few people make beautiful things by hand with love, old-fashioned expertise and talent, and those who do don’t usually sell them, so they are not easy to find.

Very easy to find is the St. Nicholas Bazaar, which has been held in December by the ladies of the Holy Faith Episcopal Church Guild continuously for 132 years. The guild meets once a week all year to make a myriad of useful and lovely items, all by hand, which they save up and offer at this old-fashioned sale in the parish hall. Here is a place where you’d expect to see George and Mary Bailey serving cider. The income goes to the guild’s scholarship funds and ministry.

Here you can find hand-made dolls and teddy bears; velvet gift bags of all sizes; baby clothes hand-knit on little needles, #6s or #8s, like our mothers and grandmothers did for us, in complicated patterns, with pretty trimmings, booties, caps, and blankies; and stylish scarves and gloves. Who hand-knits gloves anymore? These ladies do.

I have now thrown away all my singed, stained, grubby potholders, and replaced them with brand new, beautiful ones, stuffed with old mattress pads of pure cotton (“They’re getting harder and harder to come by!”) and darling embroidered kitchen towels, some stitched by Mary Louise Graw, who turned 100 this year. In a day of mass production, these lovingly handmade items are works of art, and a delight to the eye!

In addition to the fine handmade items, there is a petite briccante, a little estate sale room. You find gently used, special, antique, passed-down items like jewelry, china, crystal and linens, and objets d’art like a treasure hunt.

The delicacies are wonderful! Also, all homemade from old family recipes. Of course there are divine cookies, cakes, pies and candies, but you must try the Kerr jars of borscht, green chile stew, pickles, and Cathy’s Cranberry Chutney!

For the perfect little thoughtful gift for someone you want to give a present to, and didn’t have time to call Tiffany’s, how about a precious jar of Martha Jones’ Lemon Curd? Martha, and Harriet Hehr, have volunteered in the guild every Wednesday and done the bazaar for 35 years. God bless them, one and all!

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

Kathleen Gormley Bonewitz and Mary Louise Graw made some potholders.

 

Mayor Javier Gonzales, Denise Filcher and Tony McCarthy carry some dishes at Kitchen Angels.

Oliver and Per Olsen shop at the St. Nicholas Bazaar.

 

Carol Silva passes out shopping bags at the St. Nicholas Bazaar.

 

Elaine Swetland sells some homemade wares.

 

Kitchen Angels Penelope Vasquez, Ann Bunsen and Lynden Galloway of Sotheby’s International Realty prepare a Thanksgiving feast.

 

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