We spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents. This Nicadeimos. He's grateful for the woodburning stove that fronts this chair. Every year, I go over to Mom's a day early to help clean and cook. I don't have the space to cook Thanksgiving dinner - my oven is the size of a bread box - much less host the proceedings in any comfort. My sister is also in a small space. If we're going to gather at one table all at one time, it's either my folks' place or a restaurant some where. But like Mom said on Wednesday as we were making our third run to the grocery store for ingredients for our recipes, the dishes we cook on Thanksgiving have history. They say a lot about who we are as a family and they're the things we cook only once a year. Here's a sampling of what went on our table:
- Squash Casserole
- Green Bean Casserole
- Baked Beans
- Brussels Sprouts (sauteed with onion and bacon)
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Oyster Dressing
- Mushroom and Artichoke Heart Dressing
- Orange/Cranberry Sweet Potatoes in maple syrup
And that doesn't include the pies or the turkey. Thing is, we can tell you where every single recipe came from, trace the lineage of the food along with our family tree. The casseroles are from my mother's southern family, as are the biscuits. Oyster dressing and baked beans are from my dad's midwestern family. The brussels sprouts are unique to my parents. Mom and I heard the recipe on TV one day while I was still in high school. We tried it out and now, it's a rare day at my folks' place that you can open the fridge and not find brussels sprouts. The sweet potatoes come from my husband's family. They are one of his childhood favorites and the recipe has been absorbed into my larger family's tradition.
My gratitude list for the year includes the foods that connect me to previous generations. I'm grateful that I get to go to Mom's house a day early every year and make certain that the entire burden of prepping for the holiday doesn't fall solely on her, because, you know, have a look at Pikachu here on the right. He's so not into vacuuming the house or peeling potatoes. We're a lucky bunch. Right now, everyone is healthy and relatively happy. We live where we want to live and everyone who wants a job currently has a job. It's been a good year. And yesterday, we got to remember that.