My favorite Thanksgiving memory is when all the cousins gathered around Grandma’s coffee table to eat dinner. There wasn’t room for all seven of us at the “big, grown-up table” so we had our own special table. It wasn’t very big, so we had to scrunch up next to one another and, yes, of course there was the traditional, “She touched me!” or “Mom, Brian’s throwing peas at me!” The only food we got to pass to one another was the ketchup bottle – which me and my cousin Stephanie use to fight over because we still, to this day, eat ketchup on everything! The “cousins table” was always placed parallel to the “grown-up table” in the dining room. So for a while, our entire family was together, in one room, doing the same thing (except the pea throwing), enjoying and loving each other’s company – and recipes.
I remember the very first Thanksgiving I got to sit at the “grown up” table. I was about eleven and I remember thinking as I sat on that stool between my mom and dad that, yes, indeed! I had arrived! Pass me those mashed tators!! The only reason I got to sit at the big table was because some of our family couldn’t be there for dinner, but I didn’t care. I was finally allowed at the “grown up” table!
My Grandmother went all out for Thanksgiving, too. My mom and her sisters pitched in with some of the side dishes and desserts. I can remember my mom standing in the kitchen cutting up those pecans for her great pecan pie the night before. I can also remember when I was old enough to chop the pecans for her and I hated that! It wasn’t like getting to sit at the “grown up” table, that’s for sure. Mom always made the chocolate pie, too, and I insisted that she put cool whip on top instead of meringue because I hated meringue. That’s the least she could do for me for chopping her pecans.
When I was in college, mom made her first turkey and first batch of dressing for Thanksgiving at our own house. She was bound and determined she was going to do it! Mom and I laughed so hard that year! When she unwrapped the turkey, she just stared at it in the sink and asked me, “Laura, what am I going to do with this bird?!” Somehow, mom’s gotten through it every year since.
Last year, mom asked me if I was going to spend the night on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I said, “Why?” Mom said, “Because I think it’s about time YOU learned how to cook a bird for Thanksgiving.” You should have seen the look on my face. I was like, no way, Hosea! I told her that I would have Courmier’s or Randall’s on speed dial when I got old enough to cook a turkey.
Today I am thankful for my entire family, for the day of Thanksgiving and what it means to everyone, for finally being “allowed” to be a grown up, for cool whip, and most of all, not being old enough to make the turkey this year!
So what are some of your family Thanksgiving Day traditions and recipes?