Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving brings back
many happy memories and creates many more!
Oh! How I love to think of Thanksgivings at my grandmother’s house. What a big deal they were as she was cooking for days ahead. She was a detail planner and carried off big dinners with clockwork precision. The menu was always the same because there was no way to improve upon it. Besides, everyone counted on it from year to year.
Let’s celebrate this woman’s efforts to provide the
perfect Thanksgiving, half a century ago. Where is she?
In the kitchen, of course!
My grandmother was also a great club woman as she loved to go to meetings and socially participate for the betterment of mankind. Most of her meetings were luncheons, so I remember that every meeting she went to, she would come home and recite the menu and describe the table with its tablecloth, centerpiece and place settings. She kept a hostess book, listing every gathering she gave and the menu presented. And, she kept track of what other ladies in Maryland were serving as well. So, I am smiling to myself when I recite my grandmother’s Thanksgiving menu here because the voice in my head, as I type it out to you, sounds just like hers.
Endless tasks accomplished with seemingly endless energy.
Where? In the kitchen, of course!
On a big table that was “U-shaped” and started in the dining room, ran out through the hall way and up into the living room, she served thirty people roast turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, homemade giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, buttered kernel corn, big luscious pans of macaroni and cheese made with New York sharp cheddar, green beans almondine, homemade cranberry sauce, a relish plate of celery, pickles and olives, AND “Brown and Serve” rolls.
Lots of love on this Thanksgiving dinner table. Just
look how much is heaped in with those mashed potatoes.
And where is this loving cook? In the kitchen, of course!
They had to be “Brown and Serve” rolls, because they were the latest and greatest back then in the 1950s when each labor saving innovation was hailed as an additional blessing for which one should give thanks. I know my grandmother blessed the Brown and Serve rolls. She was the oldest girl of a family of nine children and had made many a pan of rolls, so buying them and popping them in the oven to brown before serving was a treat. Her delight and enthusiasm, as she brought the bread baskets to the tables, was infectious.
“What? Oh no! I don’t need any help. I’m almost done.
I’ll just be a few more minutes…”
The routine of it all was so comforting then. Not boring at all, like it might appear to this sound byte world we live in now. We knew who was going to be there, what we would eat, how wonderful the food would taste and, on top of it all, had the childhood luxury of thinking these Thanksgivings would last forever. We believed they would stretch out in an endless twelve month Thanksgiving cycle, connected like a string of cranberries from one year to the next.
The only problem was, of course, it didn’t last forever. Things changed, as they always do. The older people got even older and then finally weren’t with us. Then parts of the family moved away and some families broke up as the parents got divorced. But, I remember when that wonderful part of childhood, thinking everything was forever, was such a comfort in itself.
If I close my eyes, I can still bring it all back. Everyone is seated at the “U-shaped” table, laughing and talking, eating and getting full. They are all there and all I have to do is take my seat to start joining in.
How about you? Can you close your eyes and bring it all back?
I hope so…
Much love to you and please pass the gravy.
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