therevdrnye (therevdrnye) wrote,

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The Thanksgiving Memo

Recently, a friend asked (on FaceBook, a terrible monster which consumes time like snack cakes) what constituted a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I had this to say about that:

A traditional Thanksgiving meal was one in which our house was crowded with relatives from both sides of the family. Before my mother's illness, it was not unusual for us to have 25 to 30* people at dinner, which was usually served at 3-4 PM. I didn't escape the "kids table" until I was 16, and then mostly because Mom was too ill for us to have the usual mob over that year.

[* added comment - this included Thanksgiving at most of our relatives homes - I had a lot of aunts and uncles on my mother's side, and 2 aunts on the other side]

[I go on to mention gustatory specifics...]
Turkey, my father's stuffing (which was and remains the definitive turkey stuffing), mashed potatoes, green beans (I started to keep mine out of the cooking process after I found that I preferred them raw), cranberry sauce (which I never cared for, and still don't), corn on the cob, biscuits or rolls, and my (paternal) grandmother's cole slaw, which she would patiently prepare herself, chopping a couple of cabbages and grating pounds of carrots, and then patiently using a rolling pin to crush the vegetables as she gradually sprinkled the rest of the ingredients into the mix.

And always pumpkin pie. We'd usually have a fruit pie (apple, or sometimes cherry or peach) for the mutants who didn't follow the Gourd, but always pumpkin pie, which was also my father's domain.

Additional food as needed or offered by those who came to eat with us. Sometimes a ham, and if so for some reason it was usually accompanied by sweet potato in one form or another. Green bean casserole, cornbread,

[and here I suffered a failure while writing on FB - I somehow lost part of a sentence when posting there, and I can't remember what I wrote...]

Oh - also gherkins and bread-and-butter pickles.

Thinking back on it, it amazes me that none of us exploded after dinner.
[FB quote ends here]

This year I went to my younger brother's house. The meal was simple - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole (which his ex-wife Robin brought over), and rolls, with pumpkin and apple pie for dessert (and Cool Whip for the pumpkin pie). I have numerous reasons for wanting to beat Tom with a stick, but he turned out a fine meal, including a good recreation of Dad's stuffing (which apparently involved a phone call and live discussion of the matter at hand with the Master himself). Credit should also be given to Tom's daughter, who undoubtedly did a lot of the heavy lifting (he is currently wheelchair bound, and thus unlikely to have placed the turkey in the oven or to have removed it therefrom).

Overall, it was a good day. The beatings will have to commence some other time, but that is another story.
Tags: holidays
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