Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tradition

Candle flames of red and gold...the pistache trees are in their full fall blazing glory along the road into town.  Rounding a corner and seeing one of these spectacular trees almost takes your breath away.  After wearing the dull, drab browns of summer, Nature seems to be putting on her finery in preparation for the holidays...russets, gold and topaz, green velvet on the ground.  The frost and snow diamonds won't be brought out until closer to Christmas. 

It's almost a joke...the menu never changes for Thanksgiving dinner in our house (although we move the date around at will).  My Kids are traditionalists, down to the last detail.  The bread for stuffing has to be torn by hand into pieces "just this big."  (I make a lot of stuffing...six or eight loaves' worth.)  One year time was short and Steve suggested cutting the bread into cubes...a lot faster.  I told him the Kids wouldn't like that, and his reply was, "They'll never notice."  As the bowl was passed around the table, one said, "You didn't tear this bread, did you?  You cut this bread!"  I just looked at Steve.  That was the same year I served a frozen pumpkin pie instead of making it from scratch.  That also got a less than favorable response.  There are always three kinds of cranberry sauce, potatoes and a couple of gallons of gravy.  A fruit and nut laden Jello salad that my mother always served and called Christmas salad...always served at Thanksgiving and never at Christmas (?).  New Orleans Bourbon yams, and the omnipresent green bean casserole.  I see no sense in cooking a little turkey, and it took some effort for the counterman to find a twenty-three-and-a-half pound turkey for me yesterday.  This is one meal from which I want lots of leftovers!  Hearkening back to the days of little money and even less experience, the bread rolls are the brown-and-serve variety.  One year I made fresh rolls, and got asked, "But where are our Thanksgiving rolls?"  I was discussing this with one of my sons recently and he said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  As Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof says, "Tradition!"

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

We all have so much in our lives that we can't control and can't anticipate...some things that are pleasant and some that cause pain or money to flow out of our wallets...so when we have something that we CAN control, that is as glorious as a Thanksgiving feast with traditional food and loved ones to share it with...bring it on...and yes, play that fiddle on the roof for all to hear. I think I can even smell the preparation from here. And how fun that we get to share in your prep - and hopefully the final results!!!

PS - are the Silkies fully settled in???

M said...

The bulk of the work population here are from Thailand and I enjoy their cooking. Yet, we all know the Thais weren't the ones who are credited for landing at Plymouth Rock and throwing a party in November. I'm sure there will be some pressed turkey on the cafeteria menu but man-oh-man does your menu bring out the yearning for home! Bo, your traditional menu is so very close to our feast. The oft-scoffed green bean casserole (with dried onions on top?) must be there and the jello ring with fruits & nuts and sometimes the green one with cottage cheese. Only made during the holidays. What's up with that? Is jello harvested fresh only during November and December and too expensive the rest of the year? I love that jello ring. My only personal departure from the tradition is fresh baked yams instead of the canned variety. Those traditions aside...does anyone have a good receipe for Thanksgiving fish?

Bo said...

"M" (as in James Bond's M?), of course the yams are fresh-baked! Pre-baked and then peeled and sliced into a casserole with butter, bourbon, a little sugar, and nutmeg. I don't do "canned." The recipe for gr. bean casserole originated with Durkee French fried onions...and Steve dubbed it Dorky Beans, so that's what goes the menu. Maybe your Thai cooks will make you Pho for T-giving. I hear that's something to be thankful for.