Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's in Your Stuffing?

Let the cooking commence!

Thanksgiving is my absolutely, positively favorite holiday of the year.  It symbolizes everything family should be to me - gathered, working together, laughing and talking over a nice, home cooked meal.

The epitome of the normal family.

My memories of Thanksgiving as a child are some of my sharpest memories.  I vividly remember my mother slaving away in the kitchen as we all eagerly passed by.  She took great care in her food and poured her love into every step of it.  Her recipes were simple, old fashioned and full of yummy, bad cholesterol inducing agents.  Nonetheless, our family would gather around the table and savor every single bite injecting her love into us through her efforts.

But I think what makes my memory jog back the most is the smell of sage (which, by the way, is what I blame for the mid-afternoon crash of souls onto couches for naps... not the actual turkey.  I'll save that theory for another post.

Hubs and I had been married just a few years when we decided to take on the feat of pulling both of our families into our home (yes, a 1,000 sq ft townhome with only about 400 sq ft of "entertaining space".  If memory serves, it was my idea.  I'm certain of it.  Because Hubs is way to smart for something like that.

So it was my mom, Tim's p's my mom's best friend, Betty, us and Bubba.  So easy, right?  At 23 I'm going to cook for 7 people in a house that only has a table for 4 and essentially no kitchen space.


But somehow, just somehow... I managed to pull it off.  Hubs rolled up his sleeves and jumped in the fire with me, as he always does when my crazy schemes unveil.  We fed everyone, we played cards, we laughed and we had a blast.

That was the last time our families were together for Thanksgiving.  1995.  Almost two decades ago.

When I think back now on that event I cannot believe how much time has passed.  I have been married longer in my life than I was single.  I have had Tim and his family wrap their arms around me for two decades now, loving me through my best and worst decisions.

And I have cooked Thanksgiving for  17 years now.  I absolutely love fixing my mom's recipes for my kids.  I love watching them devour the food, laughing and asking me to tell stories about my mom, my grandma and my childhood. 

My Mom's Cranberry Salad, pre-whipped cream.  In a ladybug bowl.  Of course.

Although I happen to be in San Diego visiting my kids for my birthday, I am truly here to celebrate my fave holiday with them.  Because without them, it just wouldn't be the same.

As our journey of slaving in the hot kitchen continues, I will think of my momma all day long today.  She would be so incredibly proud of Bubba and his life.  Possibly as much (or even more) than she is of me.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving, friends.  I hope each of you have a moment with your closest family and friends to connect, love unconditionally and laugh.

Have a great Sunday!


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