Thursday 13: Thinking on Thanksgiving

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The other day, I had a visceral (and quite cranky!) reaction to someone trying to monkey with a Thanksgiving favorite, the venerable Green Bean Casserole. It got me thinking about the holiday and some of my disparate experiences. As actual Thanksgiving will probably be an ode to my favorite dishes, for this Thursday 13 I’ll focus on memories.

1. Basting in the time warp. When I was a little girl, I remember thinking Thanksgiving was the longest day of the year. We’d wait allllllll day to eat turkey and I honestly thought I would die from waiting so long inhaling those delicious aromas. My favorite part of the day was when my grandma would open the oven and let me baste the turkey all by myself.

2. Share and share alike. Second favorite part of the day? Sitting almost under the cutting board while grandpa carved. He always shared with me.

3. “Dinner” time. In my four years away at college, I never came home for Thanksgiving. The first year I was in Lincoln, Nebraska, housesitting for a professor, like you do. The dear Robisons invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner. When 1 p.m. rolled around, my friend Jessica called to find out where I was. It was then that I learned the difference between “dinner” and “supper” in the midwest. Note to yourselves: In some parts of the country, “dinner” means “lunch.” Clarifying times of day also helps!

4. Red Bull is not my friend. One Thanksgiving, I drove with my then-boyfriend to meet his family in Minnesota. Mmmhmm, 26 straight hours in the car. It. Was. Awful. I tried my first and last Red Bull and vowed that on the return trip, we’d stop somewhere for the night.

5. I hate the snow. And we did. On the way home from Minnesota, we drove straight into a blizzard. As we were AHEAD of the snow plows, we ended up doing a 360 on the freeway–in front of an oncoming semi–and skidding off an embankment. The tire left the wheel. The sanity left my brains. I BAWLED my little eyes out and then praised the lord above for AAA. (For you trivia buffs, the accident happened a mile outside of Big Timber, Montana. I hated Montana for years after that.)

6. Faux meat misery. Vegetarian Thanksgivings are tricky. There was one with some type of vege-turkey sausage-laden casserole thingajig and I was left lusting for my meaty memories. I do admit that I love the turkey inspired “dinner roast” log though.

7. Sage and sourdough stuffing. My dad makes the best stuffing on the planet. It’s a fact.

8. Four turkeys is too many. One year, I think T and I put away pieces of four dinners in one day. Just a bit too much, in case you were wondering. So many people to visit, what can you do?

9. Wishbones! I can’t remember ever winning a wish from a turkey bone, but I still love the idea, as creepy as the actual practice of drying out and breaking a bone is.

10. Deb’s whipped sweet potatoes. A year or two ago, we visited friends over Thanksgiving weekend and Deb introduced me to these MAGICAL sweet potatoes. Now, I normally put yams/sweet potatoes in the flan/quiche/oyster category of YUCK. But these were different. Creamy, sweet, with candied nut topping and 7 billion calories. Uh-mazing.

11. Relish fun. I don’t know why this popped in my head, but thinking about childhood Thanksgivings, I recall my sister and I manhandling the relish tray. I can picture B with black olives on every finger. Ahh, she was so cute back then! 😉

12. Crab & Brussels sprouts. You know how you grow up thinking that your holiday faves are THE holiday faves? As I’ve visited other homes for holidays, I’ve learned that people incorporate all sorts of foods into the mix. Like at my sister-in-law’s last year, there was crab and three types of Brussels sprouts! At my aunt’s, there was green salad, and a few years back at my dad’s, cheese grits. I don’t mind the incorporation of extra dishes so long as my stand-bys are there.

13. A guilty confession. I don’t actually love turkey! There, I said it. I much prefer everything else. Gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. Of course, I do adore the day-after sandwiches, don’t get me wrong.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?


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