One of the things I love about cooking is the way in which it connects us to our memories. I always offer a little prayer to my mother in law when making her stuffing and I can't help but think of Gram Pam when I'm mashing turnips or making gravy. I know they're both looking down on me and smiling as I cook and think of them. While preparing for Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to all the wonderful holidays that have gone before and the good times shared with my family.
Since today is a travel day, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few of those memories with you. I could talk about how we'd always forget the cranberry sauce and someone would have to run to the store. Or how my mom would usually leave the rolls in the oven, forgotten until the aroma of singed roll filled the air. Or even the year my aunt's boyfriend decided to help Gram Pam out - and roasted the turkey in a paper bag ... upside down! So many meals, so many laughs - each one delicious in its own way.
Yet, today, I'm thinking of one particular Thanksgiving, decades ago. I was somewhere around college-aged and working as a waitress in the restaurant of a retirement community. The restaurant was open 365 days a year, which often meant we were called to work on the holidays. I drew the Thanksgiving lunch shift that year and was absolutely devastated that I would miss our traditional holiday meal at Grandma's. I was also dating the husband at the time, and he graciously offered to include me in his family's meal. See, my family always ate promptly at 1 p.m. - and his chose to dine at 6. There was a method to the madness of that early afternoon meal - I was blessed to have two Grandma's cooking Thanksgiving. We'd dine with one in the afternoon, then spend the evening talking and laughing around the table of the other. It was the best of both worlds, but I digress.
So off to the husband's grandparent's house I went that year. Worried, of course, about the grim prospect of that meat stuffing and already missing my treasured family favorites. Stuffing, as it turned out, was the least of my problems. You can imagine my shock when it was announced that his family was serving ... wait for it ... lamb that year! I kid you not. Its a wonder I survived. Here I was, young and in love, anxious about making my holiday debut with his family ... and I was somehow supposed to remain gracious and choke down a portion of my least favorite food on earth? Its all kind of a blur. I think I nearly fainted and I know I was beside myself with horror - but manage, I did.
Fear not, this story has a happy ending. It was at that strange Thanksgiving meal that I had my first bite of the cherished pork stuffing and I've been a fan ever since. Frankly, the stuffing may be the only thing I ate and I can remember little else - save for the warm welcome I received ... and the huge laugh I had about it with my parents when I got home later that night. Its been a good 24 or 25 years since that peculiar holiday - and both families have been laughing about the lamb ever since. We used to tease my mother in law about it mercilessly - and she found it as funny as we did!
I suppose I should explain a bit - the husband's grandfather was no great fan of turkey. He was the chef that year and he simply didn't feel like eating turkey. Go figure! It makes for a great story and an even better memory. We tell it all the time.
So, what's your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Curious Diva wants to know!
Needless to say, I'll be gone for the rest of the week. Regular posting will resume on Monday, so stay tuned for a holiday round up and new recipes to come.
I wish you all a wonderful, blessed, happy Thanksgiving. Bon appetite!