This has got to be up there as my top beloved holiday. When I research my family, I always think about how they lived, what they ate and what kind of traditions they shared. I don't know how to separate tradition from the print records and I just love to combine the two in my research.
I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood with our home filled with wonderful aromas, boisterous laughter and chatter, running children in and out of the house and the blare of the TV with any number of football games playing that day. I guess the maxed out senses tapping into the smell, sound, sight, taste and feel of Thanksgiving has lasted with me to adulthood because as an adult, I always try to recreate a small part of what I knew as a child and young adult.
This year, we hosted the Christman family. Bill & Alice joined us from Stuarts Draft, VA and we put them up in our guest room. John, Diane and Nick came over from Annapolis. Nick was home from his Freshman year at Towson University. Our dear friends and neighbors, Bill & Julie, came by for dessert, coffee and wine and lots and lots of laughing on overstuffed tummies.
The 28-pound turkey that Bill and Alice brought lasted several days and along with our main Thanksgiving meal, brought us turkey sandwiches, turkey leftovers, turkey soup and take-home for John & Diane! Yummmmmm yummmmm....
I dragged out family recipes, favorite cookbooks and dog-eared, old November magazine issues from Southern Living and Bon Appetite. Jerry and I had fun wandering up and down the aisles of Rodman's Disount Gourmet Grocery Store and Shopper's Food Warehouse trying to find the special ingredients of the recipes that would make up this year's menu to share with our family. This is something that we enjoy doing together and we really look forward to the times that together we can entertain our family and friends in our home.
Our menu for 2008 Thanksgiving was this:
- Turkey (a la Jerry)
- Gravy (a la Jerry)
- Celery, Apple and Walnut Dressing (old 1981 "Holiday Recipes" Cookbook)
- Fresh Cranberry Relish
- Brown-Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (Southern Living)
- Green Beans with Bacon (Kempf tradition)
- Mashed Potatoes (must have)
- Refrigerator Pan Yeast Rolls (The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook)
- Mile High Lemon Pie (Martha Stewart)
- Tiramisu (From Italian Cooking School in 1997)
- Snickerdoodles (Oma's Recipe)
- Molasses Cookies (Oma's Recipe)
- No-bake Peanut Butter Cookies (Mom)
Jerry and I feel blessed to be able to provide for our family and to have the ability to recreate new traditions for ourselves. Our Thanksgivings have blended into a holiday that reflects the both of us. We usually cannot be with my cousins, family and friends in Texas (because of the distance and hustle-and-bustle of holiday travel) and the football is not as relentless in this home. It may look, sound, smell, taste and feel a bit different from what I remember as a child, but if you pay attention to the details, there is a connection to things from our past and a familiarity to everything we do!