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.