A Tropical Thanksgiving

Kait Carson lives in and writes from Florida. Her latest book, DEATH BYKait-cover BLUE WATER, was released by Henery Press on Veterans’ Day 2014.  In it, paralegal Hayden Kent discovers a man’s body at 120’ beneath the sea. She thinks she is witness to a tragic accident. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect when the victim is revealed to be the brother of the man who recently jilted her, and she has no alibi.

A year ago I spent Thanksgiving in Florida, but this year I’m at home in Pennsylvania. Unlike my guest, that was only a sometime visit. But Kait remembers past Thanksgivings and has her own way of celebrating in the tropics. Let her tell you about it…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Known to my family as Turkey Day, it was a favorite childhood holiday. Whether it was at home or away – there were two constants. A groaning table of food (followed by groaning family members), and cold weather—sometimes snow. SNOW, what has snow got to do with a tropical thanksgiving? Well, nothing. But my childhood turkey days were usually spent in the north. Sometimes on my great grandfather’s farm. He was a hardy soul who lived into his 100s. Family history varies on whether it was 103 or 106. I doubt he knew. He was born in the ‘old country’ at home on, yes, a farm. No records were kept, or no records that he kept were kept.

Turkey day on the farm in upstate New York was special. All of the dinner was homegrown. Since both of my great grandparents were immigrants, keeping American holidays, especially Thanksgiving, was a religion with them. Our location made snow a frequent visitor on Thanksgiving Day.

Fast forward to my late teens. Here comes the tropical part. I fell in love with Miami as a five year old when we visited cousins. I never fell out of love. When the time came for me to go to college, it was UM or bust—Go Canes! Once planted, my roots grew in the warm, sandy soil, and I’ve never left. My adult reality has Thanksgivings far removed from anything resembling snow, unless you count white sandy beaches. Temperatures of 80 and above are the norm. But it’s Thanksgiving! It’s autumn. It needs to be COLD. I don’t know who invented air conditioning. I could probably Google it, but that’s been my solution since I moved here. Crank the A/C down to 60, pull on a sweater, turn on the oven and have at it. Turkey, brussels sprouts, yams (a Southern staple I might add), mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato pie (nod to the South) and pumpkin pie. It all pours out of my oven and on to the table. I close all the drapes to block out the green grass and palm trees, light the fireplace, and voila, a cool, Florida, Thanksgiving.

Hayden Kent, the heroine of DEATH BY BLUE WATER, would never understand. Hayden is a Conch. Born and bred in the Florida Keys. Her idea of Thanksgiving runs to Florida lobster stuffing (very good by the way) and ambrosia (also very good). She’s probably going to spend her early morning SCUBA diving to celebrate having a day off, and then hosting a dinner for her friends Mallory and Janice, and maybe her boss, Grant. Any way she slices it, the pie will be from the bakery, and everyone will have a late night, a great time, and leftovers to go.

Come to think of it, that sounds like the perfect turkey day. No matter where or how you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Kait-photoBIO: Kait Carson lives and works in South Central Florida. She shares her home with her pilot husband, a Cherokee Six airplane, eight rescued cats, and three birds. So far, there is no partridge in the avocado tree. Kait is a rabid SCUBA diver and can be found underwater most summer weekends. A self-styled warm water wimp, the diving stops on Columbus Day and the day trips by air begin. Visit her at www.kaitcarson.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor.

Kait’s mention of her favorite foods, especially that ambrosia, reminds me of our family specialty—a necessity for any holiday meal, officially known as apple pudding, but also known as red stuff. Do you have a favorite for holiday meals?


A Tropical Thanksgiving — 11 Comments

    • Nope, I’ve got a palm tree, live oak (that has a dragon fruit cactus growing on it) and a bougainvillea right outside my window. But, and this is big news for me, our temps are in the 60s now, heading to the 40s tonight and more 60s tomorrow. I’m so happy!

    • Thanks EB, I will e-mail you off line. It would be great to bake him a pie for his birth day. Yep, working on Hayden #2 today. Chapter 17 is in the books – 18-20 outlined (as much as I ever outline). Thanks for asking.

      Happy Turkey Day to all. Norma, thank you again for asking me to blog today. I had a blast!

  1. Kait–you bad girl, ranking the air up and putting on a sweater! That’s not very green–however–air conditiong is less energy intensive than heat, so everyday you are using less than the rest of us up north during winter. Guess that gets you off the hook, so for one day crank away.

    Everything you’re baking sounds good, but I have to admit I tried sweet potato pie and found it too sweet for my taste. I’ll stick with pumpkin, which I made with a gluten-free crust this year for my daughter. (I also made a chocolate pie for everyone else.) I’d agree–Hayden appears to like takeout better than cooking. At the beach, we’ve had fresh tuna instead of turkey, and it never broke my heart. Have a great Thanksgiving, Kait!

    • LOL, I know, it’s awful to crank the a/c so low, but for one day…most of the time in the winter I have the windows open. I love fresh air – depending on the humidity 🙂 I don’t add sugar to my sweet potato pie. Nor my pumpkin pie, but I use 1 can sweetened condensed and one can evap milk. Both fat free. I double the amount of filling of course to handle all that liquid but I bake in a deep dish. My husband hates sugar. Even my cookies are cut by half. So far, no one has noticed, so we are good. Would love to know how to make a gluten free crust. My neighbor is 103 and gluten intolerant. He’ll be 104 the day after Christmas and I always want to bake something for him – not so easy!

      • Bless his heart! 103! It’s an easy recipe, Kait, although baker that I am, as far as taste is concerned almost all “gluten-free” recipes I rate at B minus. This recipe looks good and stays together, which is the problem with anything gluten-free. It’s the gluten that holds the dough together. So it will hold a pie filling. It’s taken my daughter a year to get her iron, minerals, and vitamin levels back to normal after switching to a GF diet. Let me know off line if you’d like the recipe. Mostly GF recipes increase the fat and eggs to replace the gluten. I’m getting use to it, but it isn’t any less calories!

        I hope you are working on the next Hayden ms.!

  2. Kait, loved your blog and bio. I lived in South Fla for 47 years after being raised in NJ. I loved it down there until the last 3. My husband who was also raised in the north and I were yearning for the real change of seasons so we moved half way back – to the Asheville, NC area.

    I do remember the a/c on while cooking the turkey and when it snowed down there in the 90s. Lots of good memories.

    Your book sounds very interesting. Best of luck with it.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family and to Norma’s too.

    • Thanks Jean – Don’t tell people, it blows my cover, but I was born in Bergen County! I was just up in Greensboro, NC for the Writers’ Police Academy. What a glorious area. I can see why you moved. Thank you for the kind words about the book. I hope you and your family–and Norma and hers–had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was fun here in Florida, and we had naturally cool temps, in the 60s. I still had the a/c on though 🙂

  3. Thanks all. We had a Happy Thanksgiving too—the roads were clear for our drive to Delaware (50 minutes) for holiday meal with daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Lots of turkey, dressing, both sweets and mashies, red stuff, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Hope you all had a happy, as well!

  4. Pingback: A Writing Room | Norma Huss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *