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Thanksgiving Traditions

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our home was always the site for our family Thanksgiving dinners. That was because my mom was the best cook, by far (great, actually), and no one wanted to go to anyone else’s home. So, we stayed home and hosted the other seven members of the family. My maternal grandparents, my aunt and uncle and their three kids. My sister and I were the young ones in the group, as our maternal cousins were all older than me.

Anyway, mother would bake and bake and bake for a week or so before Thanksgiving, as she considered it the beginning of the Christmas season. Never mind that she was not a Christian. She just liked the season. Anyway, there was always a minimum of 12 different kinds of cookies ready on Thanksgiving day.

Of course, the turkey always took front and center. I do not remember ever helping mom with the turkey. It just sort of magically appeared on the counter in the afternoon, fully cooked. I know mom cooked it. I just do not remember the process. Strange!

Mom always made dressing and stuffing. Simple, plain, and the same recipe for both. I never liked the stuffing because it was too wet for me. To this day, I prefer dressing – crisp, savory, and filled with goodies. Mom always had mashed potatoes (from scratch), caramelized carrots and dill, cranberry sauce (not homemade), fresh rolls (homemade), celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese; a nice salad, a variety of pickles and olives. There was always pumpkin pie and pecan pie. And vanilla ice cream. Oh, and homemade gravy. YUM!

Uncle Roy always carved the turkey. He was a Navy cook in WWII, and was a butcher before that, so he really knew how to carve a turkey. Even when he had “a bit much to drink.” There was never even the tiniest piece of turkey left on any bones at all once Uncle Roy was done with the bird.

My dad always spent the early part of Thanksgiving out in the garage, making sure it was clean, neat, and presentable. Invariably, once Uncle Roy and Aunt Marge arrived, the gentlemen would gravitate to the garage to discuss plans or whatever. I was never part of those discussion, but they seemed to enjoy them! Grandpa joined them once he and Grandma arrived.

Us ladies generally stayed inside and enjoyed each other, baked things, made sure the table was presentable, and set up the “take home” bags. Of course, we all got into the cookie cans, and were never terribly hungry for the fabulous dinner.

I do not remember anyone bringing anything to Thanksgiving dinner except themselves. Perhaps some sodas or the like.

Grandma, after I turned eight years old, and had my piano in my room, would aways ask me to play the piano for a few minutes. I liked that, as she was the only one who ever asked (other than my teacher) for me to play, just for her. I am glad of that.

We all sat down at the dinner table, with all things served family style. We used mom’s best china and glassware, and the linen cloth was on the table. We chattered, ate, chattered some more, told stories, finally cleared the table, and an hour of so later, served desert at the same table.

By about 5 or PM, my grandparents would leave for home, and then an hour or so later, my aunt and uncle and cousins left for home. We always knew that Uncle Roy would eat their leftovers first thing in the morning. That made my mom happy!

This annual event was always a nice one, from my point of view. Generally, everyone was in good spirits and enjoyed themselves. My cousins were particularly fun to be around.

Speaking of which, one time, in the late 1960’s, but before my cousin Richard left for Viet Nam, his parents told him to not come to the dinner until they called him and told him that everyone else was done. When he came over, he ate EVERYTHING LEFT OVER! In no time flat. There were no left-overs that year!

Then there was the year that cousin, Colleen, came down with mononucleosis the day before Thanksgiving. Her mom, my aunt, was a registered nurse, and we all knew that this was a dangerous condition. That was the only Thanksgiving that all eleven of us were not together, at least until we moved to Kentucky in 1970.

The kinds of cookies that mom and we made included: toll house chocolate chip, Missouri cookies (no bake), thumbprints, Mexican wedding cake; date oatmeal wafers, cream wafers, crunchy drops and the like. She also made fudge, divinity, and a cherry divinity sort of candy.

Needless to say, we were well and truly fed!

The last Thanksgiving that I spent with my parents was when my eldest daughter was two. They were living in Yucaipa, CA by that time and had lived there for some years. All of us were together at that event, except for Cousin Richard, who was no longer alive. We had twelve present at that dinner. It was the same as always. Same foods. Same discussions. Same dishes, silverware and linens. Just a different house. After that, my life changed, and I did not spend any more Thanksgivings with the family. I regret that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BAMAJAM 1/29/2013 3:30PM

  Enjoyed reading about your holiday memories. Thanksgiving turkey always meant a fight for the "wishbone" at our dinners. I am curious about those "Missouri cookies" because I am from Missouri. I never heard about this kind and wonder what is a Missouri cookie..?

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NUTRON3 1/26/2013 9:09AM

    What good memories

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PATRICIAAK 1/25/2013 7:46PM

    pleasant memories

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Breakfast musings - eggs

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I like eggs. I hate that we were taught that they are bad for us. I do not understand WHY anything that tasty can possibly be bad when used in moderation. I only have two or three eggs per week straight up. I prefer them fried, over easy. But I was raised with over hard fried eggs. YUCK. I did like those as a kid, though. I had no idea that eggs could be better if fried over easy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRICIAAK 1/24/2013 9:52PM

    The studies were done on dried eggs (which doesn't have the lethicin). Eggs you crack are fine in moderation.

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LINOVER 1/24/2013 8:37PM

    I too love eggs but, like you, I limit myself to two or three a week!

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-AMANDA79- 1/24/2013 9:12AM

    Oh, I love eggs too! I prefer them over medium (white done, yellow runny), but I'm not very good at cooking them that way. Nowadays, I just boil a bunch and keep them in the fridge for a quick breakfast.


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NUTRON3 1/24/2013 7:52AM

    I love eggs!

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Breakfast musings - Bacon

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I like bacon, too. Thick, smoked bacon. Two or three pieces. I cook them on my griddle. My mom taught us to place the bacon, pieces pretty much overlapped, on the hot griddle, and then slide the bottom one out, one at a time, to fry. That way, each piece was partially cooked before the cook slid it out from underneath the others. Of course, I now buy my bacon in 1.5 pound packaging (and freeze what I do not need), and it is packaged stacked, not tiled. So, I just spread the pieces out on the griddle. But every time I cook bacon, about once a month, I think about the way Mom did it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUECHRIS50 1/23/2013 3:32PM

    kinda reminds me of the commercial"give me whats in the bag,I'd get it myself but i dont have thumbs,I love bacon I love you!! :)

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PATRICIAAK 1/23/2013 2:30PM

    fond memories are a joy.

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NUTRON3 1/23/2013 8:01AM

    I love childhood memories

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BOOKWORM27S 1/23/2013 7:47AM

    Brings back memories of my childhood.... I never liked bacon and my mother was always forcing me to eat it. I finally found out why I hated it so much.... I'm allergic to pork! I even dislike turkey bacon, I guess it just reminds me of the real thing.

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Breakfast musings - Juice

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Juice. I never grew up with any fruit juice. We had tomato juice for lunch on occasion. But orange juice was a breakfast event only in the fall. No apple or pineapple juice either. We had milk for meals. Always and ever. Whole milk. I suppose there was reduced fat milk in the late 1950’2 and 1960’s, but I have no awareness of it. We received milk for a short time, when I was little, at the front door from a milk delivery man. I remember mother bringing in the milk bottles (quart sized, I think), into the kitchen. But that all ended about the time I started kindergarten in 1958. Now I drink juice (about 4 ounces) every couple of days or so. It feels strange!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUTRON3 1/22/2013 8:17AM

    I use to drink juise every morning in high school

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PATRICIAAK 1/22/2013 7:43AM

    I remember when milk was not homoginized and we had to shake the bottles.

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JGRAY76 1/22/2013 7:19AM

    I was brought up in a family that drank milk with every meal too. I like juice and will occasioinally buy the no-sugar-added kind but prefer to eat my fruit. Thanks for the stroll down milk's memory lane.

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DMEYER4 1/22/2013 7:18AM

  I drink 4 oz every morning of fruit juice. It is a good source of vitamin c

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Back to Work

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The fever finally broke overnight. I am going back to work today. I will take it easy and come home as early as I reasonably can.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOKAPHILE 1/22/2013 8:59AM

    Good plan. I hope you are fully on the mend.

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PATRICIAAK 1/22/2013 7:44AM

    don't overdo

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DMEYER4 1/22/2013 7:16AM

  glad you are feeling better. Take care of yourself ,drink lots of fluids and get your rest.

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