Saturday, November 17, 2007
On Thanksgiving we'll be using my Aunt Alda's Spode Buttercup china. I have loved it since I was a little girl and feel blessed to have it.
As the holidays approach, I'm always conflicted. My anticipation and excitement are tempered by the fact that my family is far away. Growing up in Illinois, I never imagined that my sisters and I would be separated by thousands of miles as adults. We are indeed bi-coastal, with Sharon and Patty in California. Only Sue remains in our home state.
I've always been sentimental and am becoming hopelessly more so each year. I long to have holidays in our home exactly as they were in my childhood. Consequently, our Thanksgiving menu is very much like the one Mother used. As a midwesterner, I do have to lobby for mashed potatoes instead of rice; pumpkin pie instead of pecan. I have learned to like 'stuffing' baked in a pan as opposed to the moist 'dressing' Mother cooked in the turkey.
My parents worked along side one another for as long as they were married. They weren't into "gender specific" rolls. Daddy could do nearly everything Mother could do and vice versa. This was not uncommon for farm families in the midwest. So it was not unusual to find them both in the kitchen preparing the Thanksgiving feast.
They would arise very early to put the birds in the ovens to roast. Because my father was German, we had goose AND turkey, both raised on our farm. Almost everything on the menu came from our garden with the exception of special store-bought olives, butter and Libby's pumpkin for the pies. Yeast rolls were always home-made.
I don't ever remember a Thanksgiving without tons of relatives around. We cousins were never bored as we waited for dinner, as there were many areas to explore in our outbuildings - especially the haymow. If there was snow, Daddy would hitch a team to a sleigh for rides. I can close my eyes and still hear the jingle of the sleigh bells on the horses.
When the meal was finally ready we'd rush inside, shedding our wet mittens and coats. The warm air, heavy with deliciously tempting aromas, met our cold, rosy cheeks. Our eyes were wide as we glimpsed the food-filled tables which stretched from one end of our connecting living and dining rooms to the other.
Almost time to EAT!