The View from Halcyon: A Thanksgiving Table

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We are shocked that it’s already Thanksgiving! Recently, we’ve been consumed with the re-opening of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s American Wing and 100th Anniversary Gala, which took place last weekend. The great main entrance on Art Museum Drive re-opens for public use on Sunday, November 23, so please come and see all of the hard work, new galleries and great art!


Here at Halcyon, Thanksgiving is all about the family. They are arriving from up and down the East Coast and we’re excited to see them. Thanksgiving Day is low-key and slow. The menu has been planned ahead and the shopping has been finished. The kitchen is essentially the heart of the home, with a small sitting room with a fireplace just off of it and a couple of comfortable chairs.

Dinner is traditional, with the turkey as the centerpiece. We don’t have to tell you about cooking it, as there are plenty of others who will do so! But–and this is a critical piece that many forget–let the turkey rest before you serve it! The reason that people think that turkey is dry is because it’s served too quickly after it comes out of the oven and the juices haven’t been re-absorbed by the bird. And in the 10-20 minutes that it rests, it won’t cool off significantly. You will thank us for this tip!

Of course, you will want to bring your turkey or ham or goose to the table on an amazing platter. Spode has a beautiful one with a turkey on it, and it’s perfect for this season.

tg platter(1)

Or if you have a gorgeous old silver platter, use that. It will add an air of elegance to the table, and then the sideboard, because you don’t want to leave it on the table during dinner.

meat platter

Each family has their own tradition for side dishes and stuffing or dressing. But you will want to serve the side dishes in covered dishes to keep them warm.

veg dish

And we will tell you, if you have good china, this is the time to bring it out. Even if you have to hand-wash it after dinner, when else will you use it?

If you use a china platter, then use china for the vegetables, and if you use a silver platter, use silver. Another tip: about ten minutes before you serve dinner, run everything, including dinner plates through the dishwasher on the rinse cycle, but don’t use any soap. It will heat the plates and serving pieces up wonderfully and keep the food warmer as you serve it. Alternately, run under very hot water and dry.

It’s always nice to have the table set ahead of time, with the silver and crystal, and of course the flowers! Yes, you can order up a gorgeous arrangement from the florists ahead of time, but wouldn’t it be more traditional to take a long walk before the meal, find interesting branches, leaves, pods and nuts, and assemble them into a centerpiece? Think about keeping it long and low, so people can see over or through it. There’s nothing worse during a dinner than peering around the centerpiece at the person across from you.




Regardless of what you do, and how you do it, make sure you have fun! If something goes wrong, it just becomes a story for the next year and another piece of family lore.

From all of us at Halcyon Farm, and Halcyon House Antiques, Happy Thanksgiving!


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