cornu copiae

The “horn of plenty,” cornucopia in English, has long been a symbol of abundance and prosperity…

one of the Penates holding a cornu copiae and a patera (Source)

one of the Penates holding a cornu copiae and a patera (Source)

In ancient Roman material, it is very often seen in the hands Roman household divinities…the Lares, and especially the Penates, who were the guardians of the household pantry.

In more recent times, the cornucopia has become a symbol of the abundance of the fall harvest, and for Americans, a ubiquitous symbol of Thanksgiving.


This year (like last) I have declined the summons of my sister that we trek 60 minutes to the north to join the “whole family” for Thanksgiving dinner.  I have decided that I am lately most thankful for the newfound ability to say “No thank you.”  I’ve even tempted my parents to own that they’d rather not drive that distance to endure the inevitable angst that had become our “whole family” gathering.

So, this year my parents are taking the 1.5 mile trek to my house for dinner.  I’m shooting to eat around 4pm (dark enough for dinner, but leaving time for digestion  🙂 )


Since there will only be six of us (one who doesn’t eat meat “if bones are present) I’ve opted to make just a turkey breast instead of the whole bird.  The turkey is kind of a secondary attraction…at Obscura’s house, it’s all about the sides – mostly veggies (I count 7 individual vegetable dishes not including the mandatory mashed potatoes)  I don’t entertain often, so I’m also especially delighted to have the opportunity to use the beautiful crockery (pictured above) that I picked up near Kalovryta, Greece this fall.


Last but not least, there’s the pies.  I baked them last evening (I’ll thank you to ignore the broken crust on the pumpkin pie…maybe I’ll pipe on some cream to camouflage it!).

I’m off to grab a last minute latte at the Kwik Trip before I settle in to begin the prep in earnest, but before I do, I wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone who celebrates it a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving…and a Blessed and Happy DAY to the rest of Armitageworld!

21 comments on “cornu copiae

  1. Servetus says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! I totally agree that a breast is the way to go nowadays, esp with a smaller crowd. Much less angst.

    You have rutabaga. Wow. Hardcore.

    • obscura says:

      Hubs and MiniMe love the rutabaga (plus, I couldn’t find kohlarabi anywhere)

      • Servetus says:

        I don’t know when it’s in season here. (In Germany it was January). My grandmother used to grow it and store it in the cellar.

        I saw your pie picture and was thinking about hickory nut pie, too …

        • obscura says:

          I love hickory nuts, but so hard to come by these days. I think the kohlrabi is in season at the end of the summer…I can always find it at farmers markets then, but never at this time.

          • Servetus says:

            There’s a tree at the farm, but I doubt anyone is harvesting the nuts now. I should ask.

          • obscura says:

            What I’ve found is that hickory nuts – because they are relatively scarce and very hard to shell – are in extremely high demand and fetch a pretty good price.

  2. Perry says:

    Sounds like a great menu and a good plan, but what are “funeral beans?” BTW, just saw a link on Twitter that made me think of you. Complicated connection between Virgil (Vergil) and Thanksgiving Have a great day!

    • obscura says:

      Thanks for that article…lots of interesting bits!

      “Funeral” beans are probably what I’d call a local thing. It is a kind of sweet and sour creamed green bean with bacon and onion that was often served on table for funeral dinners in the area. Interestingly, when I Google it, I get recipes for what I call “Calico” beans (a variation on baked beans) Curious 🙂

  3. Guylty says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Your menu looks delicious – I would love to try some classic American home cooking, including the grieving beans. In fact, I am getting a distinct appetite for some roast turkey right now. Gotta wait until Christmas, though, that’s when it’ll be eaten here (apart from the sauerkraut…)
    And great occasion to use the Greek pottery. I am now wishing I had bought some souvenirs that were practical, rather than ornamental. It’s just so nice to be reminded of a great holiday on a daily basis by the things we use. I think we need to go back to Greece so I can buy some crockery, too… *hinthint*

    • obscura says:

      You are welcome at my house for dinner anytime 🙂

      LOL – Don’t worry…I’ve been to Greece many times – I bought the usual souvenir stuff long ago (I only have room for so many mini Diskoboloi 😉 ) The last few years I’ve started to pick up the more utilitarian things like olive wood cutting boards, gigantes, and now the pottery. Definitely calls for a repeat trip!!

  4. Hariclea says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!! I swear i read horny instead of horn, but that’s due to coming here straight from the post before!
    I hope by now all dishes are ready, they sound delicious!! Glad to know what funeral beans are, i just wanted to ask about that. I will google rutabaga! And i can’t believe you can find colrabi where you live!! So envioussss.. i love them and they are not to be found in the UK 😦 Back home we have them stuffed with minced meat and rice alognside big red peppers stuffed with same cooked in over with tomato sauce. Sigh.
    The dishes look amazing, so glad you get to use them on this occasion. They remind me of home too, we have folk pottery with exactly the same pattern except they are on brown glazed pottery and patterns are in green/blue/yellow 🙂
    Enjoy the meal and family time!

    • obscura says:

      LOL…touche! Everything was delicious…except for the funeral beans – which my mother didn’t make after all! No matter…I added pickled beets to the table to make sure we had more veggies than people 😀.

      I really love those dishes…when I go back, I’m getting some bigger ones!

  5. Esther says:

    I love the “No thank you” thankfulness! 🙂 Menu sounds great, especially love the look of pie! Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten pumpkin pie. Pumpkin soup yes, but no pumpkin pie… Enjoy the cornucopia and have a great Thanksgiving!

    • obscura says:

      I had a conversation with my Greek foodie friend George upon seeing pumpkins in Greece this trip…he asserted that he didn’t like pumpkin pie and then described what sounds like a savory version. American pumpkin pie is definitely sweet, but not overpoweringly so. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with the hint of sweet…delish. 🎃

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Obscura! And it’s great to see someone else who like’ rutabegas–though we didn’t cook one up this year. Years ago, we used to travel to both sides of the family on the same day for so many years–one side 50 minutes away. It was exhausting and digestively difficult. But now that our fathers have passed on, there isn’t that pull to try to get to both families. So we once again enjoyed a quiet and private, we two, Thanksgiving dinner at midday, with all the trimmings–except for the rutabega. Ha! It’s nice to be able to eat at home, cook the foods I want–and cook them my own way. Though my hubby worked in an evening meal as well, I’ll just skip it and have more tomorrow. Glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Hugs & Cheers! Grati ;->

    • obscura says:

      We’ve always done a sort of potluck where everyone brings a pre-assigned dish, but I really do enjoy being able to craft the meal the way I want it 🙂

      Sounds like we both had a nice day!

  7. jholland says:

    Love that your beautiful new crockery went straight to use! Creamed au gratin onions? OMG that sounds amazing! I had to skip the part about the cornucopia… I don’t know why but I’ve had an aversion to those my entire life. I can’t stand to even look at one. Neurotic, I know! =)

    • obscura says:

      This is my second attempt on the onions…last year was a saltravaganza…this year was better, but I need to tinker with that recipe a little.

      Huh… Maybe something from a past life horror cornu?

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