We traveled to London recently to have an early Christmas with the family. Guy has few days off over the New Year, because the Civil Service is like that; and Mary has swapped her festive holiday time with fellow doctors so she can have weekends free for fencing competitions. So we rented a small flat in Holborn and around Thanksgiving Day celebrated with what the children dubbed ‘Cohengiving,’ with balloons, Christmas stockings and as much festive cheer as a drizzly London allowed (a lot).


Kathy had acquired four copies of Sam Sifton’s book on Thanksgiving Dinner, and sent each of the children one. All four copies, pages turned down and filled with notes, made it to Holborn, and the mini-kitchen was soon filled with five Cohens making their allotted courses (somehow totaling eleven different dishes), with regular cries of ‘Sam says not too long,’ or ‘Sam decrees marshmallow isn’t necessary.’ Sam S — one of the sons of our friend Elisabeth Sifton — would I hope be very pleased about his disciples. The meal worked out splendidly, and Kathy ended up with (from Toby) a stock t-shirt emblazoned with ‘I told you I wanted grandchildren and all I get is this lousy t-shirt.’