I know that my role in this family is to make holidays happen. Not because they are holidays, but to create traditions for framing memories and celebrations to avoid getting lost in the mundane. I honestly don’t enjoy Thanksgiving. It’s a meal as a family. We eat meals as a family every day. Some of those meals are straight from cans and boxes, but some of them are pretty amazing. Thanksgiving feels like a manufactured day to buy the mandated groceries.
As a child, Thanksgiving at home was the required meal of turkey, cranberries and dressing. It was delicious, but so was everything that my mother cooked. Thanksgiving at my mother’s parents was the required foods with something new that my grandmother found in a magazine and venison. Venison was what they had in abundance, so that was what we always ate. Again, it was all delicious, but my grandmother cooked an obscene amount of amazing food every time we visited. Thanksgiving at my father’s parents was the required foods plus duck. My father’s mother loved duck and it was her holiday treat to herself.
It was food. It is food. I like food. I eat it every day. Eating food doesn’t cut it as a ‘holiday’ to me. It’s more of a stopwatch that declares it socially acceptable to get out your Christmas decorations.
Pajama shelf bra: Bib for dropped late night popcorn.
Everything that I love and hate about our kitchen in 45 seconds. Bonus points if you can identify two East Tennessee iconic businesses whose products are visible in the video. Double bonus if you know which child flashes a peace sign near the beginning of the video.
“Our Christmas grapefruit is here!”
“How do you know that it’s grapefruit? It could be oranges or pears.”
“Oranges and pears come from the grocery. Grapefruit comes in a box from UPS.”
Maybe we should buy grapefruit more often.
“I’m putting the leftovers out for dinner. Where are the green olives?”
“I ate them.”
“Where are the shrimp?”
“I ate them.”
“Where are the black olives?”
“I ate them.”
“Do you want me to fix you a plate of meat and vegetables?”
“No. I’m not hungry.”
The plan was simple. We would cook the meats and dessert. Granny would bring the sides.
After spending Tuesday shopping for and purchasing our assigned groceries, we returned home in the evening to discover that Granny had purchased ham and turkey. Now, we have lots of meat and zero side dishes.
What kind of lazy bones person waits until Thanksgiving eve to buy groceries for side dishes?
When I was about 11 or 12, my grandmother took me to Miss Daisy’s Tea Room in Jackson, TN. I was less than pleased with the absence of burgers and fries on the menu, so my grandmother was thrilled when I finally found something on the menu that I enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much that my grandmother asked the waitress, who then asked the restaurant owner, if I could have the recipe. It was so simple that it became a family tradition for me to prepare this dish every Christmas. Regretfully, Sarah doesn’t like it but I have my fingers crossed that Amy will take over the family tradition.
Frozen Cherry Salad
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 large container of Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
Mix and freeze. Thaw to serve.
The restaurant served it like a scoop of ice cream on a piece of lettuce, but we just skip the formalities.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts
pastry for single pie crust
Mix sugars, corn meal and flour. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, nuts and butter (sliced thin or melted). Mix and beat well. Pour in 9 inch, unbaked crust. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream on top.
*This was a recipe for beginning Home Ec students.
**I leave out the nuts.
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes – Peel and cut 4-5 raw sweet potatoes. Cook in water until fork tender. Mash.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Mix together and pour into oven safe bakeware.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter (Do not melt. Soften on counter.)
Mix with fork and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
Bake 20 minutes at 350F.