Thanksgiving Memories

We’re nearly there, folks. Well, those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving in the US of A. The Canucks beat us to it and the rest of the world doesn’t celebrate it. Still, as I’ve said before, Thanksgiving is a special holiday to me. It’s about food, family, friends, and taking stock of what’s good in life.

Some of my favorite memories spring from the Thanksgiving table, too. For instance, I will never forget the year my staid and dignified grandmother was given the honor of one of the turkey legs and my cat decided he wanted to share. They played a brief game of tug-of-war before my grandmother – the most ladylike and non-violent of women – took the tukey leg and used it to smack my cat on the head. No, she didn’t do it hard enough to hurt him, but it sure startled the heck out of him!

And then there was the year I was seven when I’d just learned to make pie crust. That was the year I started making the pumpkin pie. I’ve made it every year since, but nothing matches the pride I felt that first time when everyone around the table was so impressed – including me.

The first Thanksgiving after my mother died was rough to get through. Mom had ruled the kitchen and the holiday table with a velvet-covered iron fist. She’d been an amazing cook. In fact, pretty much the only thing she was no good at was…pie crust. With Mom gone, my father and I were a bit lost. I will never forget the good friends who invited us to share Thanksgiving with them that year. They fed us well, both with food and with comfort for two people in mourning for an extraordinary woman. Every time I think of that night and those friends, my heart is filled with gratitude and love.

Then there was my first Thanksgiving with Mr. Twistie, when I came to realize I had a second freakish kitchen talent: in addition to the always-successful pie crust, it would appear that I’m incapable of roasting a dry turkey. It turned out crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside.

I can’t wait to see what new memories we make this year.

So what about you? Do you have any great Thanksgiving (or other holiday feast) memories you’d like to share?

3 Responses to “Thanksgiving Memories”

  1. MsChilePepper November 17, 2008 at 5:41 am #

    The day before Thanksgiving many years ago, my parents got a bad-news phone call. My Dad’s uncle and aunt (really like surrogate parents to him) had been in a terrible car accident. She was severely injured, and he was so badly hurt he was not expected to live. It was clear my folks needed to get in the car and zoom from Seattle to Montana, ASAP.

    My grandmother had been living with us for several months; she’d had several heart attacks and couldn’t live by herself, so we’d brought her from Minnesota to live with us. My two brothers and I still lived at home, so we could take care of her for a few days. “You’re gonna have to make Thanksgiving dinner for everyone,” Mom said. Besides my brothers a Grandma, one cousin would be there for dinner, too.

    No problem! I grabbed a notepad and took notes while she gave me a crash course in stuffing-making and turkey-roasting. The pies were already baked, so that was no problem. I was an experienced cook, but I’d never roasted a turkey before. Mom said, “If you have any trouble, ask Grandma, she’ll tell you what to do.” I figured I’d be OK, but I tell ya, I had big shoes to fill; my Mom and Grandma are/were FIERCE in the kitchen, people.

    Next day, I got up and rocked that dinner, pretty much by myself. I did it all: mashed taters, gravy, sweet potatoes, salad, dinner rolls, veggies, cranberries, the works! I did end up asking Grandma a few questions, mostly just to confirm what I thought was right, and she was very pleased to be consulted. She also insisted on peeling the potatoes and yams, and I let her, ’cause really, there’s no glamor in that job.

    The funniest part of the day came when we tried to take the turkey out of the roasting pan and bag. It was so done and so moist, it was falling apart! My brother and cousin tried to use big spatulas and spoons, but it was obvious it would just explode the second they lifted it up. Desperate, my brother looked around, and spied a frying pan in the dish drainer rack. He grabbed it, slid it under the turkey, scooped it out all in one cohesive mass, and deposited it on the platter. Success!

    Everything was timed perfectly, everything tasted great, and we ate ourselves silly. That was a great day. It was also my Grandma’s last Thanksgiving, so it’s an especially sweet memory now.

  2. Twistie November 17, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    MsChilePepper, that story warms my heart. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Never teh Bride November 19, 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    I have one…it’s not a great memory, but it’s a really good one. When I was about eight or so, I had a bad bout of pneumonia around Thanksgiving time, which meant that my mother’s partner and her baby daughter had to stay elsewhere. My mom made Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us, with a roast chicken instead of a turkey, but everything else (fixins-wise) was just the same. It made me feel a bit better about ruining the holiday for everyone.