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Thanksgiving. Over, Done and Out!
After the dust settles on Thanksgiving Day, I took a minute or two to not only survey the damage, but to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving
Its late and the last of the feast has been put away. Theres a load of kitchen linens in the washer and the house still has that heavenly aroma of roast turkey and stuffing. And the tryptophan coma has begun to wear off.
Another Thanksgiving has been put to bed and as I sit and reflect on the day...all the hustle and bustle, frantic last minute mashing of potatoes, stirring of gravy, and carving of turkey...I am smiling. For as tired as I am, its always worth it.
I have my family for Sunday dinner most Sundays'. If you know me then you know how big I am on tradition and making sure the grandkids know their grandparents and share in the love and closeness of family. So the Sunday dinner has become a regular feature of the week and the grandsons have come to expect it.
But Thanksgiving is different. Its not just the menu, although certainly its on a grander scale than an every Sunday dinner, but its so much more than that and I try very hard to make it that way.
Its special. Because the day itself, is special. For me, it ranks right up there with the best of the memory making days...Christmas, 4th of July, Easter. I know I can look back to my own childhood and remember Thanksgivings shared with family and friends and I remember that almost overwhelming feeling of belonging..of mattering enough for an aunt or grandmother to go the extra distance to make the day a big deal.
Its not about perfect food. I dont mess around with what works and when you have a small kitchen, not enough counter space and arent adept at making pies....you make compromises and offer no apologies. I know my limits and I dont try to pretend to do what I know I cant do.
I buy pies or have someone else buy the pies. I wish I had inherited my Mom's talent for pie crust, but I didnt and truthfully? I hate making crust, so Ive always opted for the easy ones or good quality store bought ones and Frisch's pumpkin pies and chocolate cream pies have always served us well.
Turkey is turkey...you can fix it many different ways but its still turkey, so why drive yourself crazy worrying about the perfectly browned turkey? My mother made delicious gravy and always used Kitchen Bouquet to darken the gravy and add flavor. One year, as she was at my house making the gravy and found out that I didnt have any Kitchen Bouquet, she went absolutely crazy and really ended up ruining our Thanksgiving dinner, Now, years later, my kids and husband and I laugh about it and the standing joke is to ask if I remembered the Kitchen Bouquet, but at that time, it wasnt humorous and I think it taught me a good lesson.
NOTHING is so important while preparing a special holiday meal that you lose sight of what the meal is supposed to be all about. So you learn to roll with the punches, improvise and make do. A good cook should be able to do that anyway.
I want my five grandsons to feel that sense of belonging that I felt so many years ago...I want to build bridges from now until they are adults and God willing still have Gramma and Grampa's house to go to for Sunday dinner and Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner and all the special dinners throughout the year.
Sitting down at the Thanksgiving table, surveying the incredible array of foods, I feel blessed and thankful for the good life we have in America. But looking around the table, at the faces I love the most, is when I truly realize what the day is really all about.