Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu and Memories

Every family has its own Thanksgiving traditions and standard Thanksgiving menu.  This was ours for many years:

With extended family growing, they are now creating their own traditions. Life continues to change our family also.  We lost our sister Tony this year to cancer and I’ll miss what she always brought to our Thanksgiving.  I’ll miss her Tony’s Tators and her baked beans.  Most of all, I’ll miss her laugh and huge personality.   Her warm spirit and memories will still be a part of all of my future Thanksgivings and will always be a part of my heart.  So with change comes new traditions, but I can still carry with me the wonderful memories.

So today I thought I’d share some of our Thanksgivings gone by standard menus.  I have shared many of the recipes already with you in my blog and will continue to share more.  If there is anything special you would like, please let me know.  I’d be happy to share it. 

The invitation always read noon. Yes, we sent out invitations with RSVP on them, but very few ever RSVPed, they just showed up or not.

Everyone brought their special dishes.  We were outraged if they did not bring what they had brought for years or they did not come bringing their special dish.  Everyone was told to be there at noon and they arrived very hungry, so I always had appetizers ready to start snacking on.  Two huge buffets were always set up, one for desserts and one for dinner.  Mom always made several pies for the occasion and we’d all say over and over again “Maw, that sure looks like good pie!”  We never tired of the ol’ tease.   Dion or Eddie carved the turkey and we would all hover over it to see if we could steal part of the gizzard or liver.  There were so many of us (when my house was full of foster kids we would number over 30), that we could not all sit at the tables set up, so everyone scattered throughout the house and found a chair to their liking.  The men would sit in the living room so they could watch the game. The kids went through the line first, then the adults filling their plates with two meats, two potato dishes, and all the trimmings.  The group always went back for seconds. No one counted calories or watched diets on Thanksgiving and their was always plenty.

When the day was over and it was time to go, if there were any leftovers, people would get baggies and left over containers and take home what ever they could grab.  It became a tradition to get to the leftovers early and get what you could and hide it so you got your fair share.  Dion always made dozens and dozens of rolls so we could take home his wonderful rolls.  

I can hear the noise now and see the mess left, but after everyone was gone, I missed it and was so thankful for having it in my home.  Big old houses were meant for just such occasions. 

I’ve shared many of the recipes already with you.  I’ll note what I shared already in case you wish to refer back to them.  I’ll also share a few more recipes in the next week before Thanksgiving. 

Turkey – I just shared it this week
Mashed potatoes and gravy – I shared the gravy with my turkey blog and I’ll share our mashed potatoes in a future blog.
Tony’s Tators -  I’ll share this soon
Dion’s smoked pork – He won’t share his secret bread and pork recipe, so you’ll have to come up with your own.  I did share a great recipe for Texas Road House biscuits and they would be great for Thanksgiving.
Tony’s baked beans – I’ll share
Sausage and sage dressing – I’ve shared oyster and a sweet dressing.  I’ll share mom’s  sausage dressing yet.
Cranberry fluff – I shared this week
Sweet potatoes – I’ll share
Green bean casserole – I’ll share 
Pie’s – I’ll share
Charmayne’s pumpkin bars – I shared in an October blog
Cranberry compote – I’ll share
Cherry dessert – I shared this week

The family is scattering further and further away and each of my siblings have their own extended family Thanksgiving now.  I now go to my son’s and we have established new traditions which are very special because my grandsons are part of those traditions.  I still treasure the many years I held Thanksgiving at my home though and thank God for those memories and special moments, but look forward to future Thanksgivings with my growing immediate family.

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with much love, lots of tradition, and great memories.  Be happy and may God bless you.  

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