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A Virginia Family's Thanksgiving Menu

For the Nordts, Thanksgiving is a time to come together with their nearest and dearest in a resurrected barn, sharing favorite southern dishes and counting each and every blessing. Learn more about the history of their farm and Thanksgiving traditions here

Farm Team

Dianne and Bill Nordt and their collie, Woody, hold down the fort. Above, in the hayloft, are their kids (from left), Oriana, 18; Willy, 16; and Eudora, 14. 

To Start

Tea and Cakes

The underage crowd sips Dianne's famous sweet orange-and-lemon iced tea, while the grown-ups spike theirs with whiskey or gin. For appetizers, Dianne serves crab cakes made from local Chesapeake Bay blue crabs: "I like to incorporate seafood into the meal because it's light and refreshing," she says.

The Nordt Family's

Thanksgiving Buffet Menu

Mains

Grilled Salt-and-Pepper Turkey with Giblet Gravy

Virginia Ham with Honey-Mustard Glaze

 

Sides

Oyster-and-Bacon Dressing

Pecan Dressing

Buttered Green Beans with Shallots and Lemon

Cardamom-Scented Sweet Potato Rounds with Cilantro

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pomegranate, and Cider Reduction

Spiced Pear-and-Cranberry Chutney

Yeasted Cornmeal Rolls

The More the Merrier

The Nordts serve pumpkin pie, spiced apple cake, and peanut pie, a regional specialty. Nut wreaths (made by drilling holes in pecans and sweet-gum seeds and stringing them onto wire rings) adorn a reclaimed barn door.

Get the Deep-Dish Pumpkin Icebox Pie Recipe

Get the Virginia Peanut Pie Recipe

Get the Spiced Apple Cake Recipe

Barn Raising

"This is the section of the barn where we entertain," says Dianne of the soaring space set for Thanksgiving dinner. "It has high ceilings made from beautiful oak, and it's very close to the animals and nature. It's the heart of the farm."

In lieu of 20 chairs, the Nordts arrange bales of hay along their table and drape them with Dianne’s blankets, which offer warmth and softness. The table is set with various candles and glasses and antique 1920s Theodore Haviland china that she has collected for years.

Southern Hospitality

  • cousins thanksgiving

    Oriana and Eudora Nordt and their cousin Anna Katherine Jones make a tight-knit trio in Dianne’s handwoven blankets.

  • Nordt Barn

    Dianne and Bill Nordt’s new barn, built from rough-cut oak, stands on the foundation of the 85-year-old building that burned down in 2012. Two of the couple’s four horses, Alice and Chance, graze out front.

  • sheep

    A woolly friend strikes a pose.

  • turkey on grill

    Grilling a whole turkey “is easier than it seems,” says Dianne, shown here checking on the bird -- “and the result is perfectly juicy, flavorful meat.”

  • cousins thanksgiving

    Oriana and Eudora Nordt and their cousin Anna Katherine Jones make a tight-knit trio in Dianne’s handwoven blankets.

  • sheep

    A woolly friend strikes a pose.

  • Nordt Barn

    Dianne and Bill Nordt’s new barn, built from rough-cut oak, stands on the foundation of the 85-year-old building that burned down in 2012. Two of the couple’s four horses, Alice and Chance, graze out front.

  • turkey on grill

    Grilling a whole turkey “is easier than it seems,” says Dianne, shown here checking on the bird -- “and the result is perfectly juicy, flavorful meat.”