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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Company in the Kitchen

I really do love to host holiday meals, in general, but this year I decided to pass on the opportunity for this particular Thanksgiving to just ... rest. The reason, in part, goes back to the beginning of summer when my FIL and his wife (who live in CA) were in a very serious accident in VA that left them both hospitalized, she near death. My husband (dh) spent most of his summer there helping his father. He went for 3 weeks, came home for less than 2, then stayed for another 3 weeks arriving home just in time for his faculty responsibilities for the fall semester to begin. We are so very glad he was able spend the time helping his father as it was certainly needed and appreciated. His father needed physical help in errands and driving among other things, and importantly- companionship- as his wife was hospitalized for months. With no ability over the summer to prepare as planned and two new classes to teach as well as his administrative responsibilities as Department Head, and a few other pressing projects with tight deadlines dh hit the ground running and has been pressed from all sides just trying to keep up. Understandably, that resulted in a trickle down effect in the family. We've all had to adapt for this semester to keep things moving forward while dealing with being literally one man down. The two teens began their high school year with it's varied demands for after school events, and soccer and such and the school year also began with the three children at home. We've one car and I'm the primary chauffeur.'s been a crazy semester. It's not quite over, however this holiday break is the first one of the year, I think, that my husband has not had to run out of town for one of his many trips. One major project has come to an end, and the other is at a level that requires less vigilance on dh's part. I felt we all just needed a small bit of time with nothing pressing us. Ok- at least *I* needed it. :)

Though no one has crossed our threshold this holiday I have found warmth and reminiscing in my life from years past. As I was preparing the turkey with it's seasonings I was recalling the Thanksgiving gathering we hosted when we lived in NYC. We had a great loft apartment in Fort Green with a great room and were able to host for about 20 people, if I recall correctly. It was great fun, and it was that Thanksgiving I learned through my friend Toni (and 'right hand' for that event) that it is sacrilege to just toss a turkey into the oven as is. My husband has hence forth proclaimed that I shall repeat Toni's recipe each and every time I prepare a turkey. And really, one can never have too much garlic. :)

As I was chopping and preparing the ingredients for the dressing I was thrust down memory lane to the many years I assisted my dear Mother-in-Law in preparing her special recipe for family gatherings. I was glad for the warm memories as my dearly loved MIL is no longer with us, but also for the experience of cooking with her as I seem to have misplaced her treasured (by us) recipe. I was very blessed to be able to recall the recipe well enough to 'wing it' which was the very spirit with which my MIL cooked - by feel. She would have been proud of me- for I recall poignantly and with a chuckle how she said I was 'stifling' her the year I watched her make several of her recipes and encouraged her to use measuring spoons/cups in order for me to write them down more accurately. :) MIL's dressing turned out very well, I'm glad to report! Next time I just need to add a bit more liquid and it should be just about as good as MIL's. I very much enjoyed visiting with her in my mind through memories of years gone by as I not only prepared her dressing, but also as I prepared her pumpkin pie recipe which is highly requested among my family. I'm so very glad I had not misplaced the pie recipe as I'm not sure I could have recalled it!

We have our own tradition of having cinnamon rolls and orange rolls for breakfast each Thanksgiving. We eat them as we watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have fond memories of parade watching tradition growing up with my family. I had always dreamed of seeing it in person ... some day. I was able to do just that one year when we went with our friend Karen to her office building one Thanksgiving and watched from her employer's offices. Since we had small children at the time- it was awesome! Bathrooms and snacks and most of all- warmth! It was a very frigid parade day that year. One can see via TV all the spectators on the street, but it was really neat to see that hundreds more were watching like ghosts inside the many storied buildings that line the parade route. Seemingly every window we could see into had someone peering out, also watching the parade. Ahh ... good friends and good times. :) There is no place like NYC during the holiday season.

My departed grandmother made an appearance in the form of her milk glass dishes I received after she passed away. I use them every holiday and really enjoy them. They can add a bit of quirkiness to the celebration as the dishes are really 3 luncheon sets of non- standard sized plates with huge platters, smaller dessert plates, dessert cups and tiny coffee mugs and such. I enjoy the quirkiness as Grandma possessed quite a number of her own quirks. :)

I am grateful for the many blessings in my life, but the most important blessings are the family and friends who leave indelible marks upon our memories for us to treasure no matter where time and life may take us.

Now, off to grab a Fuyu persimmon and eat it in memory of my MIL who loved them and got me hooked. :)

1 comment:

  1. Just sending a hug your way: nothing/no one can replace her. Still, I'm glad you were able to almost replicate one of her recipes.