November 22, 2012

My Thanksgiving Table

While I'm waiting on the turkey to stop hogging the oven I decided to share a couple things. I like to believe I have a very special Thanksgiving Dinner every year. I'm sure that most of you do the exact same thing that I do, but maybe not everyone see's it the way I do.

My Thanksgiving table represents many members of my family. Some who are gone from us and some who are thankfully still here. I've been helping prepare Thanksgiving since I was probably about 8 or 9. In that time, I learned the family recipes and I still prepare most of them to this day. I also learned a few from other families and adopted them as well.

When I make a dish that I learned from a certain person, it reminds me of them. I might think about what they were like back when I was a kid or I might think about how the person affected my life. Obviously, they must have been good experiences or I wouldn't want a dish representing them on my table. They might not have been perfect, but there was something about them that stayed with me.

Now, this doesn't apply to ALL the dishes. Some of them are handed down from family but I have no idea who or have anyone that stands out with a certain dish. So not all of them are accounted for here. Just the special ones.

So, in no particular order, meet my Thanksgiving Family.

Aunt Carol's AMAZING Fudge Pecan Pie. One Bite and you'll never touch a regular pecan pie again. Ever! Aunt Carol has been gone from us for over a year now and I miss her. You never knew what she was going to say and she wasn't always easy to like, but she commanded respect and got it. She did the best she could with the life she was handed and she lived it like it was the one she wanted. Maybe it was...........she never said otherwise to me.

Aunt Terry's Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole. I haven't made it yet this morning so there's no picture yet. That's okay though because it's awesomeness is really too much for the Internet. It'll blow everything else away! There's a funny story that I remember the first year I even noticed it on the table. I can't remember now if it was both Aunt Terry and my Uncle Marshall that were shopping or if it was just one of them. What I do remember is that by the time they got back from shopping for the ingredients needed for this casserole, they were just about ready to scream! Apparently that year, broccoli was a hot commodity and it was nowhere to be found. As I recall they had to go to several stores to find it. They finally got some, not without a bit of trouble along the way. When they were recounting the story, I was sitting there wondering "What's the big deal? Make something else!" Sheesh!" And then I tasted it and it all became clear........"Oh THAT'S the big deal!!". Now even my own kids would feel they'd been horribly slighted if the dish wasn't on our table and while they might not know her, they definitely know OF her thanks to that dish!

Ethel Parrish's Cornbread Dressing. Technically, the person I think of when making this is my former Mother-In-Law. She's actually the one who taught me to make it, but her Mother taught her so she gets the credit. It is almost indescribable. It's flavorful, hearty, comforting and tastes even better when it's reheated. She left us awhile ago and while I know she's in a better place, I wish the kids had known the woman *I* knew back then. She adored her grandkids. She literally did everything she could to be a good Grandmother and show her love for them. She made them some pretty "interesting" things when she first started crafting that, well, we took pictures of the kids wearing them and then put them away.....forever or just made play clothes out of them. You had to see them! They were horrendous, but they were made with love and that's what mattered. She put effort into it! Something many don't bother with anymore. She was a good woman and I hate that life took the turns it did that made her end up the way she was. I remember the good though, I think she'd appreciate that.

Granny's Waldorf Salad. Nothing said Thanksgiving when I was a child like her Waldorf  Salad. OMG, it is the BEST! I didn't need Turkey or stuffing back me to the Waldorf Salad please! There are rumors that hers once contained banana's. *I* don't eat anything with Banana's in it unless they are completely unrecognizable and baked about the same. Blech! HATE HATE HATE banana's. Anyway, I remember asking Granny one time when I was very young if she had put banana's in it and she said "Of Course not Vanessa June! You don't like them!" She knew my feelings about banana's and while I seriously doubt that she took them out of her recipe for me, it's a good memory. Granny was more the type to look at you all stupid like and say "Pick them out", like you'd have never thought of that on your own. It was just her way. She DID do a great deal for us kids though and she loved us without a doubt, so who knows?

Mrs. Brown's Buttermilk Pie. Mrs. Brown is the wife of the Pastor at the church we used to attend before we moved. They always had a community Thanksgiving Dinner and every year I would hear Jonathon say "Mom, Mrs. Brown's Pie is Amaaaaaaaaaazing". As a Mom, well, you don't want to compete with someone else's dishes. Or do you? I did, lol. Not out of any kind of malice or anything, believe me, Mr and Mrs. Brown are absolutely wonderful people! It was just that my son loved that pie sooooooooo much and he'd only get a piece of it about twice a year. So I wanted to give him at least a whole pie! No matter what I tried though, every year I would hear "It's good Mom, but it's not Mrs. Brown's pie".  This has gone on for YEARS! Finally, on facebook, I asked her Granddaughter, a very sweet young lady, to please get the recipe from her Grandmother if she didn't mind. I HAD to! It was past time to admit defeat and go as directly to the source as I could. Mrs. Brown was happy to share her recipe, which is a really good thing because i NEVER would have thought to make it the way she does! EVER! The bad part.......I made it last year for Thanksgiving and Jonathon said 'It's damn close, but not quite. There's just something missing". ARGHHHHHH! Even with her recipe, I still can't get it right lol. It's okay though, I can live with "damn close".

So those are just a few of the dishes on my table today. I wish I had more pictures to show of the dishes, but they aren't all made yet and I'll likely be too busy the rest of the day to take pics before they are dug into. 

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving with everything you like and nothing you don't!

Happy Thanksgiving!


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