Are you cooking for Thanksgiving? For how many? My mother always loved the holiday and making turkey and stuffing was one of her favorite meals. Growing up, I recall our Thanksgiving day celebration including watching the parade while my mother chopped onions and celery, and got her hands up inside that turkey cavity to fill it with her homemade stuffing. This was in the days before cheesecloth and we survived semi-cooked stuffing inside a raw turkey. We survived keeping that half-eaten turkey carcass on the counter for hours after our meal before wrapping up leftovers. Shocker?
I’m not even sure my mother washed her hands between stuffing the turkey and mashing the potatoes.
Our gatherings were usually pretty small. Leslie and me, mom and dad, uncle and grandparents. And that was fine with everyone. We didn’t know anything different. After mom passed away and dad remarried, Leslie and I were taken aback when we went to our first Thanksgiving at dad and stepmom’s house. My stepmom had five kids, and there were significant others and grandchildren too. With other guests, there could have been twenty people at the table, and it was something we had never experienced. It was definitely a good thing, but different for us that first year. Leslie and I still fondly reminisce at the picture we have of dad happily carving the turkey with an electric knife at the table one year.
After parents pass and you’re on your own for the holiday (or you and your sister), you tend to reflect on memories and people long gone. Nowadays, our Thanksgivings are typically surrounded by friends—and there is nothing to complain about there! Every once in a while, I’d just like to go back to that little kitchen in Castle Hill and smell the onions and celery my mother was sauteeing.