thanksgiving in december

December 3rd, 2008 · 73 Comments

the beloved: rudrani devi

i rarely get too personal on ceF. i pretty much keep it to food. but i felt the need to share this with you and if at all possible to even ask you for a small favor…

together, just this past week, we all watched in horror as mumbai became a war zone. we saw the death and destruction – and the innocent people who were being terrorized. as a nation we felt shocked, angry, even helpless. and we also felt thankful that we were home and that our loved ones were safe. we sat around our thanksgiving tables and spoke of what was happening in india, saying "can you believe this?" and  "how incredibly insane the world is"…

late wednesday night when i got home from a decadent pre-thanksgiving dinner with friends, and i finally got around to checking my voice mail, all i can remember was a message from my dear friend santos. he said he had bad news and went on about something to do with his wife "the beloved" and that she had been shot in mumbai and that he’d almost lost her but after emergency surgery it seemed that she would be ok… i didn’t even play the whole message. i was confused. i’d been busy all day and had seen something on the news that afternoon, but in the midst of my life, i had turned it off – never so much as thinking… so i immediately called his number and his sister answered. santos had been sedated but she patiently filled me in while i broke down and cried. she told me that rudrani was stable, and that santos was leaving in the middle of the night to get to an airport to fly to baltimore to go to the embassy to get his papers in order, so that he could immediately fly to mumbai and be by her side…

rudrani had been at my house for a dinner exactly 2 weeks before – just 2 days before she left for india.

but let me start at the very beginning…

i met santos about a year ago on the nashville scene’s food blog called ‘bites‘. there was no denying that this guy knew his food, but he could also make you laugh out loud with his witty repartee and seemingly endless trivial knowledge on virtually everything. on occasion, the ‘bites’ contributors and commenters would get together for lunch and so, santos and i finally met for the first time at prince’s – a nashville institution, and immediately became fast and furious friends. santos is a 110% latin american man from venezuela, and well, santos loves women. so being a woman around santos is delightful. he pays attention to detail. but make no mistake about it, at the end of the day there is only one woman for him. the beloved. his beautiful wife, rudrani about whom he can’t stop talking – and with the kind of adoration and devotion that you rarely see. and he never calls her by name. it’s always "the beloved".

and then i finally met her. and ok – so she’s gorgeous. but she’s also majorly fun and well, just lovely. and smart. and caring – to all creatures (she has bonded with my cat, merle) and she LOVES to eat. let me tell you, this woman is a serious carnivore. and so there were gatherings and dinners – and well, then i had two friends…

rudrani devi is a very spiritual woman, a true shaman who was fulfilling a deep desire to journey to india in the wake of her teacher, master charles cannon, joining him and about 20 other people on a meditation retreat. one week ago while having dinner in mumbai she was shot execution style while under a table at the oberoi hotel. the man next to her was shot in the head and died in her lap. alan scherr and his 13 year old daughter, both from the meditation group were killed.

santos lopez holding his beloved, rudrani devi at the hospital in mumbai.

santos has called me a few times from mumbai. one of the things he has mentioned is his desire to make a wonderful thankgiving dinner for his wife and their families. a thanksgiving dinner like no other. a day of food and celebration, a way to rejoice in the gratefulness of rudrani’s return to him, their home, their life together… and he asked me to help make it happen.

so in turn, dear readers, i come to you. because this year i traveled to nyc to be with family and i didn’t cook a lick. and so i need recipes. and i know they will be tried and true and fresh, not only in your mind but on your palate.

if i may ask you to leave in the ‘comments section’ some recommendations, or perhaps even a link to a post of a dish that was an absolute winner… that would be so nice. and if you would, please be specific. and i’d like it to be something traditional, something that really wowed you – the dish that you’ll be sure to make next year. we need it all – from the perfect turkey, a classic but out-of-this-world stuffing, a wonderful cranberry dish – to a few sides and of course desserts. oh, and there’s only one stipulation. no pork. at all. i know, i know. but we can do this….

and with your help, from these recipes we will comprise our menu. and i will be sure to report back to you with pictures and huge thanks in making rudrani’s december thanksgiving even more memorable…

i know that i can count on you…

i mean if not you, who?

Tags: local · not food · other

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