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!"