November 22, 2007

Normally, at this time of day (that being nearly noon), I’d be holed up in the kitchen, tearing up biscuits and cornbread, white and wheat bread, pouring turkey drippings, egg, and dumping seasoning after seasoning for the dressing. It’s an old family recipe. I used to make it with my grandmother. It was a yearly thing for so long. And it wasn’t a scientific process. We just grabbed a bunch of stuff, piled it together, and when it tasted about like it was ready, we’d separate it into dishes, and bake it. Of course, we had to have two bowls of the dressing, because my grandfather is the only person in our family who doesn’t like onions in it, while the rest of us have to have it. Can’t be denying anyone their dressing.

This year, we are doing without the dressing. Not to be too macabre about it, but this is the first family holiday without my grandmother and we are cutting the one part of the holiday that reminds me of her the most. A few years ago, when it was evident my grandmother wasn’t going to remember everything after too long, we made her write down the whole recipe. My mother and aunt got it all wrong. They were trying to get all the exactness of the recipe down, and there was no exactness to it. It was a creative endeavor, an act of love. Your arms can only stretch so wide, and there was more love in the dressing than that.

Our family, for the past ten or twelve years, has had specific duties in the kitchen. Mine was the stuffing. My grandfather was responsible for the turkey, the sweet potatoes, the green beans. My mom and aunt did the fruit salad, my aunt did the cranberries (both whole fruit and jellied) and my mom took care of the pimento cheese-stuffed celery. Occasionally, my cousins would help with something, setting the table, something.  It’s a circular holiday, where we all come back here and do the same things over and over.

This year, it’s not the same. My grandfather is married to Jo, who is a charming woman, and I’m really enjoying her company. But we are not cooking too much today. Granted, I’m not all that sad that the work of being in a hot kitchen for four hours to make a bunch of food that won’t last long enough for it all to be eaten. There is something, however, missing in the holiday.

It is snowing outside in big flakes, just barely sticking to the ground. I love watching it snow.



  1. You should have made the dressing….

  2. …yeah.

  3. At least it isn’t quiet.

  4. Happy late ThanksGiving Dude.

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