Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Family and friends gather to visit and give thanks, at least in my family. This year I am going solo. After changing jobs and moving, the usual family Thanksgiving seemed out of reach this year.
Growing up Thanksgiving was originally a trip to Charleston where my Grandmother cooked for twenty plus. Turkey, ham, oysters, green bean casserole, rice and gravy, dressing, squash, ambrosia, and apple pie were on the table. I recall being taught how to polish silver and set the table as my contribution and wash the dishes after dinner.
Somewhere along the line we moved to Thanksgiving at my Mother’s. We always attended a Moravian Love Feast on Wednesday night. This was a community event with members of the church neighborhood participating. The President’s proclamation was always read, coffee and a bun served, and there is one memorable sermon that I will always recall. My Dad and I left the service under my Mother’s critical eye – as if we were both two. The sermon used the refrain “over the river and through the woods”, unfortunately in my and my Dad’s opinion we went over the river one time too many. Back home it was preparation for the big dinner the next day. Silver was polished, the table set, the turkey prepped. The menu was similar to that in Charleston, after all my Mom learned from her Mom. Ice box rolls and broccoli casserole were added at some point as an homage to my Dad’s side of the family and a coconut cream cake made an appearance. Baked apples became part of the main course. The family was slightly smaller and Mom served twelve to fifteen rather than twenty plus.
Then Thanksgiving came to my house. Tradition is tradition. I’ve cooked for five and for twelve. I have fried turkey and baked it in a bag. The menu varies based on the number eating but is the one I learned from my Grandmother. The silver is now handed down to me as is the china. While I don’t have a Love Feast in my town, there is a community service that is reminiscent of those I attended growing up.
What I will always cherish is my family, gathered together for a few days. The main dinner was delicious and fun. Mom and Grandmom were amazing cooks; but the turkey sandwich that followed our 2PM meal was as good, if not better, as it was with family. It was at these gatherings that I learned about my Mom’s escapades growing up and how to cook. I remain thankful for the many holidays with family who are now scattered near and far.
Happy Thanksgiving! May your holiday be shared with those that love you.
My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers. Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk. So what do I pack for a day at the beach?
The chair is key. I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide. Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities. I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe. They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand. As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.
Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water. There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water. I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water. I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.
My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod. This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra. I am loving it. It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean. See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.
Do you have a go to sunscreen? My favorite sunscreen has not been available for the last few summers and I continue to seek out the perfect sunscreen. I’m fanatical about applying sunscreen. My Dad was the quintessential southern outdoor guy – hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, gardening – you get the idea. He also had several skin cancers removed when I was a teen. From that point on, hats and fifty sunscreen with titanium dioxide became the routine.
I’m no expert on sunscreen and know next to nothing about what makes one better than the other. The titanium dioxide was a recommendation for my Dad from his doctor. I am also prone to what my Mom calls sun poising – little bumps around my knees and on my hands after prolonged time in the sun. Given my love for the beach, pool, and tennis court, prolonged time in the sun was a given for me in the summers. I quickly discovered there were some sunscreens that seemed to exacerbate this condition. I also tend to like a product specifically designed for the face for my face. This means I typically purchase a 30 and 50 for the face and a 30 and a 50 for the rest of me. I also like a spray rather than a lotion. With this in mind, I recently went shopping at Blue Mercury. I opted for two old but goodies, and two new to try.
For the new – Moroccan Oil 50 – This one is a spray lotion. It sprays out but you have to rub it in. I like it but it is much more lotion than spray. The other new is Soleil. I purchased the spray version in 50 and a lotion version in 30. I love the spray. It has great coverage and stays after swimming. The downside is that I went through a bottle a day on the beach. That is a bit pricy given how much sunscreen I go through.
The tried but true include Coola and Supergoop. I love the Coola spray. The face lotion and lip balm also get a thumbs up from me. Supergoop (no TD) is another go to from last summer but I’ve only tried the lotion version. I just picked up a spray mousse version that has strong possibilities. So, what is your favorite sunscreen?
Whatever else, remember the sunscreen and the hat! Protect yourself!
Summer to me is a gourmet paradise. The farmer’s markets are laden with fresh vegetables, cheeses, fruits and other delicacies. Tomatoes are my passion but there comes a time when you need something other than that ripe jucy tomato to eat. Eggs here we come! What is more southern than a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich? When I think of picnics, summer concerts or the beach, a deviled egg or an egg salad sandwich is the first thing that comes to mind.
Both recipes are super easy. Boil your eggs until they are hard-boiled. Pour off the hot water and immerse the eggs in an ice bath to make them easy to peel. Then peal away the shell.
For deviled eggs, slice in half and remove the yolks to a bowl. Then mash the cooked yolks and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add mustard and a bit of mayo also to taste. Stir together with a fork and then stuff each half of the white. Top with a bit of paprika for a fancy occasion.
Egg salad is a derivative of this. If you made deviled eggs for dinner and had too many, simply mash them with a fork and you have egg salad. If you are starting from scratch, slice the boiled eggs into a bowl and then mask with a fork or a potato masher. Add salt, pepper, mustard and mayo, then stir. Serve the egg salad on white bread for that true southern flavor.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever anticipated a summer as much as I anticipated this one. Snow in April was my undoing. I love all four seasons but I was ready for a spring that never quite seemed to arrive. This made me long for summer and it is here!
Hot days, warm nights, long walks on the beach and visits with family and friends are all on my schedule for this summer. The pace seems slower in the summer; time to enjoy life in a way I don’t seem to manage in the rest of the year.
I’m prepping for the summer. Here is my checklist:
- Mani/Pedi in preparation for flip flops and shorts
- A case of new tennis balls as I plan to spend hours on the court.
- 50 sunscreen – I’m serious about sunscreen. I go with 50 for most of the summer and titanium dioxide as an ingredient. I love to spend time in the sun either walking, playing tennis, or spending time on the beach or at the pool but I don’t want to risk skin cancer so it is time to lather on the sun screen.
- Sisley Lavender body scrub for the shower. Nothing like it to make you feel great post outing and make the bath smell wonderful.
- A visit to the bookstore and audible for beach reads. Audio books are a must as it is a drive to the coast.
- Review beach gear – suits, hat, and bag to see if new additions or replacements are required.
- Trip to the farmer’s market for fresh veggies!
What is on your summer prep checklist?
I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day a lot over the past few days. I’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with my Mom. She is fantastic. She’s also not doing so well theses days. On some days she knows me and other days, well, I try not to focus on those visits. As I’ve been contemplating this Mother’s Day, I’ve reflected on all the gifts she’s bestowed on me.
Education, a keen sense of right and wrong, confidence in her own voice, the ability to love deeply, cherish family and friends, and a deep and abiding faith are those gifts. I am also aware of those things that I hold special about her that she would wave away. Her ability to laugh and enjoy the moment. Her sense of fashion. When I look at pictures of her I see a beautiful and accomplished woman. In today’s Me too environment, I am struck by the rich life she gave me by surrounding me with strong, independent women. Women who navigated the challenges of their time with panache. These women passed along stories of successes and failure with chins held high and occasionally a few tears but always a sense of self. While equality should be the standard in the work place, much work remains to be done. This is something all women should remember. Pay it forward and have the courage to reject that which should be rejected.
From my Mom and these women I’ve had the courage to try and fail, pick myself up and try again. So tonight I raise a glass of wine and toast my Mom, Godmother, Grandmothers, Cousins, mentors, and friends and say thank you! Thank you for bestowing upon me the ability to reach for the stars and pick myself up when my reach is not long enough.