Suzanne Somers’ family plans to continue to honor her legacy on Thanksgiving this year, a little more than a month after her death.
“This year will be our first Thanksgiving without Suzanne and none of us can imagine it,” Caroline Somers, the late Step by Step star’s daughter-in-law, told People in an interview published on Tuesday, November 21. “She was Thanksgiving to us.”
In the years before Suzanne’s death, she usually hosted her family at her home in Palm Springs for “a week of family, nature and decadent holiday tastes.” The California native was married to Alan Hamel for 46 years and was a mom to son Bruce Somers Jr. from her marriage to Bruce Somers.
Suzanne died on October 15 at age 76 after battling breast cancer for several decades. The Three’s Company alum passed away one day ahead of her 77th birthday on October 16. This year, the family plans to “be together, gathered around Alan and leaning on one another for support, sharing stories and laughter [and] recreating the tastes that she passed down from years of feeding her beloved family.”
For Suzanne, Thanksgiving always kicked off with her making the turkey and gravy and she would set the table with “antique linens, precious collections of china, Baccarat green crystal glasses, beautiful peonies or roses and a ton of candles,” Caroline recalled.
Last year, Suzanne was “particularly proud of how good her drippings were and how the gravy made the whole meal come together.” Cooking was always a way for the Somers family to bond before losing their beloved matriarch this year.
Caroline penned a touching tribute to Suzanne in the opening acknowledgement of her latest cookbook, Served: From My Family Table to Yours.
“Your contribution in my life is too vast for a paragraph in this book,” she wrote. “You picked up the pieces of my shattered maternal history and put it all back together. You nurtured me, you taught me, you believed in me and you provided a beautiful life for our family. I love our history of cooking together. It’s one of the greatest joys of my life.”
Suzanne echoed the same sentiment about her daughter-in-law, whom she collaborated with on projects a number of times over the years.
“Caroline is hands-down, one of the best cooks I know,” she said in a statement before her death, per People. “I like to think I taught her a thing or two in the early days, but now she’s surpassed me in the kitchen! I am lucky to have eaten every recipe in this book and I’m telling you, the flavors will knock you out!”