Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!


HektikLyfe said...

Have a great Thanksgiving! We didn't really start celebrating Thanksgiving until really late in our lives. It was always a "get ready for Christmas" type season which we would just ignore and enjoy the time off from school.


I wish we had thanksgiving here - one more excuse to eat turkey!!
But seriously, I'd be stuffed ad it would be weird considering you look forward to your xmas dinner and then you must realise "but I only ate this 3 weeks ago".

Happy Thanksgiving!

Scarlet xoxo

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving...

You have been tagged Diva, check my blog for details,

this is not some form of revenge, you've done nothing wrong (that I know of), but it's a great way of expanding your readership for the sake of a few moments. Please leave a comment on my post when you have put the Meme on your blog.

Thanks for being such a good sport.


Deb said...

My most cherished early memories center around the prep on the day before at my grandparents house as my Mom and Grandma and Grandpa worked to make the meat stuffing I still make today. I loved the sights and sounds of the preparations and of course most of all I loved those grandparents who are no longer here.

Happy thanksgiving dear diva


Astra Libris said...

Happy, happy, thanksgiving! Your story is such a wonderful one - you brought a big smile to my day! One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is of the time when I was home from college for the holiday, and my mother and I decided to make a cashew cream soup for the feast... All went well until we poured the soup into food processor to puree - and forgot to leave the lid cracked to release the steam... The built up steam cracked the lid and blew it clear off the processor, showering the ceiling with a fountain of cashew soup!

Anonymous said...

I will never forget the first thanksgiving at my (now former) in-laws house. My MIL, dear though she was, just threw a bunch of homemade bread in some broth and that was the "dressing". This was such a difference than the cornbread dressing I was accustomed to. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to force the brothy bread down my throat, but I did. It wasn't long before I asked my Grandmother for her dressing recipe so I could always have a cornbread dressing if I so desired.

Thanks, Diva, for sharing your wonderful stories and recipes. Cindy

The Diva on a Diet said...

Hektik - I hope you and your wife enjoyed a cozy holiday together! :)

Scarlet - we do the whole turkey dinner all over again on Christmas too ... and still look forward to it! Its all so good, we can't wait to have it again. :)

Argentum - no worries on the tag. I'll put it up later in the week and will link back to you as soon as I do. Thanks!

Deb - aw, what lovely memories of cooking with your grandparents. Thanks for sharing them and I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family! :)

Astra - LOL! Isn't it funny how such "disasters" can turn into treasured memories?! That made me smile too and I thank you for sharing it. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful too!

Cindy - OMG, that dressing - ack! Its a wonder you were able to get it down at all. Yikes. I so wish I could have some of your cornbread dressing as its one of my favorites and I'm sorry to say I have yet to master the dish. You'll have to share your recipe sometime. Thanks for sharing your memory as well and for your kind words. Lubba! :)