I am joining my friend Paula and talking about Thanksgiving for the month of November. Here is a memory from my childhood.
My parents are divorced. This means that every other year, my brother and I spent the holiday with a different parent. When we were with our mom, we went to my grandma's/aunt's. When we were with my dad, we went to my step-mother at the time's parents house. Today I am going to talk about Thanksgivings with my dad.
The day before Thanksgiving, we would pack up into our car. My two year old sister always sat between my brother and me. We would drive 2 hours down to my step-mom's parents house. They were my Grandma and Grandpa Russell. Side note: my Grandma Russell is the one who taught me how to cook and sew. Since my step-mom's brothers lived in different states (GA and TN), it was usually just our family. My Grandma Dale (my favorite grandma who I lived with) would sometimes join us (those were my favorite). When we would get down there, my dad would go watch football with my grandpa and my brother would get stuck playing with my sister or he would watch football too. I would head to the kitchen. My grandma was a short round lady. She had blue hair that always was done up in a bun. She was the epitome of warm matronly grandma. I would help knead the dough for homemade rolls. We would get veggies prepped for the next day and other various tasks. My step-mom didn't really like to cook, so she usually abandoned ship to play with my sister. It was just me and my grandma. We would talk about school and church (my grandpa was a preacher).
The next morning would begin very early. We would turn on the Macy's Parade and start with meal. My grandma always took care of the bird, but I did get to help with the sides. I always got to be in charge of the mashed potatoes. Adding the precise amount of milk and whipping those suckers good. I was put in charge of the corn and carrots. I would transfer everything to pretty dishes and take to the set table. My grandma always brought out the good china and silver (that I had to help clean before putting away). We always ate at noon. My grandpa would lead us in blessing and my grandma would always be the last to sit down. My grandpa carved the turkey and all the food got past around. We would stuff ourselves and the guys would return to football and the women cleaned up. My grandparents were very traditional in rolls of the household. I helped transfer everything to tupperware containers to be put into an already packed refrigerator. After all cleaning was done, we would play dominos or cards or look through catalogs. Even though these women were not my family by blood, they were still mine.
A traditional day after Thanksgiving breakfast always started with mashed potato cakes. To this day, I still try to replicate how my grandma did them, but I have yet to find the right recipe. Thanksgiving food is even better the next day. My grandma, step-mom and me would usually do a little shopping in the afternoon (this was before all the 3-4am craziness that happens now).
When my grandpa passed away a few years later, my grandma came to live with us. This means a new tradition. My grandma passed away about 9 years ago. After my dad and step-mom split up, her and her mom moved to Ohio and I didn't get to see her very much. Every time she came down to visit her sisters I would go and spend time with her. I miss her dearly.
I will be talking about food that trigger memories from these Thanksgiving's next.