Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes by Norman Rockwell

I did not have to think a lot about today’s post. I had already thought a long time ago about the art piece to talk about for my Thanksgiving post. I have two illustrations to share. One for this post and the other for the following post.

Yesterday night I was busy helping  my family cook for today’s Thanksgiving meal; so the perfect work of art for today’s post is an illustration where a mother and a son are preparing the food for their Thanksgiving meal.

It’s an illustration by Norman Rockwell and it’s called: Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes. 


Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes by Norman Rockwell, 1945

I really like this illustration. Rockwell is able to capture a very intimate moment between the two characters. I like it because it portrays what is behind the big Thanksgiving feast: the dedication to prepare the meal. The mother and the son are peeling potatoes, one of the most boring jobs to do in the kitchen. They are doing it together, the mother proudly looking at her son. I think she is proud because he is helping her in the kitchen, but also she is proud and especially grateful that he is home. This illustration was made in 1945, so right after WWII ended. He is still in his military uniform, symbolizing he just came home from war, and he is safe and sound to be with his family. I can imagine the dialogue between the mother and the son.

I am glad I was able to help my family cook yesterday night. Thanksgiving is a special holiday, because it’s still a very recent tradition for me.

I was born and raised in Italy, so the first time I experienced Thanksgiving was 3 years ago when I was 17. I was on a year-long AFS (American Field Service) exchange program in Fairfield, Connecticut. I was living with a host family, who I now consider my American family.

Yesterday night I did exactly what I did three years ago. We prepared the cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts, creamed carrots and oatmeal raisin cookies. Some of the recipes and the people helping were different, but the feeling was the same one. I was so happy to experience again these things hat were so new to me 3 years ago. Now these seem like traditions I have been doing my whole life. I was able to find utensils and bowls, I remember where ingredients were kept in the kitchen;  it seemed like I had never left.

This brings me to why I love Thanksgiving so much. First, because I don’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy; second, because it brings back memories of that wonderful and special year abroad, it makes me feel connected to that experience again.

I loved being able to celebrate Thanksgiving again, especially because my family from Italy was here to experience it with me.

As for today’s recipe, this might be a little late, here is a recipe on how to make mashed potatoes, which is probably what the mother and the son are planning to make with the peeled potatoes.


I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving with their loved ones!


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