Family traditions are fun to share between generations during Thanksgiving gatherings. Our Franco-American family sometimes entertains as many as five generations of cousins and grandchildren during Thanksgiving reunions. This year, I decided to share a family heirloom along with recipes and other memories of times past.

Our Thanksgiving dinner is a sprawling affair, enjoyed while gathered around multiple tables, spread throughout the house, wherever they happen to fit. Card tables draped with vintage table cloths are very handy seating extenders. Family members share the prettiest serving dishes for the multiple dinner courses, especially the desserts. Obviously, the large number of place settings doesn’t entirely match because there’re too many people for even one or two sets of dishes. Our multiple Thanksgiving tables look like museum collections of antique dishes with various service pieces.
Thankfully, our family’s collections of vintage crystal bowls reflect beautifully with the colorful groups of nearly everything else decorating the tables.

Each year, we take the opportunity to reminisce about where our various serving dishes and special patterns originated. For example, old fashioned celery dishes and relish trays for traditional condiments are especially important on the Franco-American Thanksgiving table. We value faded patterned serving bowls, with or without signs of wear; because, they remind us of the wonderful gatherings they’ve served in the past.

Over the past several years, I’ve wanted to pass along the thoughtful silver service wedding gift my husband and I received 46 years ago, from his late Aunt Laura Morin Valliere, of Biddeford ME. So, I decided, this is the year! I’ve included Aunt Laura’s silver service as a Franco-American family heirloom to share with another generation along with memories of our past Thanksgiving gathering.
It’s an old fashioned design service for eight, with serving spoons, with the Rogers company logo stamped on the insides of the utensil’s handles. The set is an heirloom because it was a silver anniversary gift Aunt Laura received in the 1950s, a gift for her silver wedding anniversary, when she was married to her late husband Edmund, in Biddeford.

Aunt Laura and Edmund lived on a farm in Biddeford during the 1930s through the 1950’s. We can only imagine how many special occasion dinners this old fashioned service entertained during the past 70 years. Certainly, I’ve set many tables with the set, especially before my husband and I could afford to buy our own silver tableware.

All of Aunt Laura’s pieces retain their lovely silver sheen, as they’re neatly nestled in their original home, lying in a felt lined maple wood silver box.

I’m particularly fond of the wonderful soup spoons included in the set. Each spoon has a long and elegant handle, supporting a generous oval serving end. This special design helps the dinner guest to easily scoop the broth and the soup’s contents, while minimizing any drips, during eating.

Now it’s time to pass this generous memory of Aunt Laura’s hospitality to another generation of the family. Hopefully, future generations can protect and use it for their Thanksgiving dinners attached to Aunt Laura’s loving legacy.

During the past decade, my husband’s niece Andrea L’Heureux Imbriaco of Sanford now hosts family Thanksgiving at her home in Westford Mass. Since she knew and remembers Aunt Laura, the silver service will be her special heirloom. I believe Aunt Laura would whole heartedly agree with this generational decision.

Meanwhile, I’m baking traditional tourtiere for the family dinner. Tourtiere (pork pie) is our Thanksgiving dinner hors d’ouerve. As a matter of fact, a collection of tourtiere recipes sent to me from readers over the years is available. Click here.

Happy Thanksgiving!