In some ways, I am a true traditionalist. When the temperature drops, the food I most crave is roasted chicken. Juicy and tender with crispy seasoned skin, sitting on a bed of roasted root vegetables is how I imagine it, golden and radiating warmth and lustful smells throughout the house. And that is how I spent two good hours Sunday evening, prepping the perfect bird for its shining moment under the oven light. Garlic is diced ever so finely and gently rubbed beneath the skin. The cavity gets stuffed with the fresh herbs that have survived the first few frosts (parsley, lavender, and marjoram) and half of a lemon. The skin gets a quick rub of olive oil, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. In it goes, reclining next to the baking whole wheat bread, beneath the winter squash that are roasting for a future dinner, and all is right with the world. The house is full of smells that normally only come around at Thanksgiving, and I start dreaming of stuffing and mashed potatoes. In fact, I wish so hard for stuffing that I decide to make some, adding celery, shallots, and parsley to cubes of rye bread. The star vegetable is brussel sprouts, roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are brown and carmelized. The funny thing about my pre-turkey day feast is that I inadvertently play this same part every year. Not matter where we are having Thanksgiving, I feel the urge to do nearly the whole dinner a couple of weeks before. One year I even bought a turkey---a 10 pounder for Matt and I, not caring one bit that I would be eating the exact same meal in a week. Matt doesn’t understand it, especially the turkey part, since he never even liked turkey when he was little---his grandmother would make lasagna for him instead. But I love being able to imagine and make my perfect Thanksgiving the way that I want it, without anyone else’s desires to fill.