We had family and friends, close and far and very far this week for
turkey goose day. In addition so many of us (almost all with Southern roots) have been assembling for over 20 years for the instant-to-concrete tribe, I love how it’s become a blood group effort.
Growing up, I knew different, as did my wife. Both her mother and my maternal grandmother, Mable or as named by my older sister Baba, identified strongly as THE family cook. Her hand to your mouth. You could set up, clean up and otherwise perform only narrowly defined tasks for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter feasts. Her kitchen…
Mable was a fine cook, really a chef and baker. I should never complain. Yet both my mother and later my wife did. Their mothers did not let them prepare meals, much less pass along the great folk art and magic of sustenance, of sacred sacrifice on the familial altar.
A few years after my parents married in Fort Sill, they headed to Japan with their two tots as part of the Occupation Army. A few years after that, they returned to Fort Sill and accepting they married blind, they divorced.
While we were in Japan, numerous servants tended to us. They adored the two blond kids, me particularly as the boy. They also cooked for us.
After the divorce when my mother began raising us solo, the full impact of knowing squat about food was all too obvious to her. Her mother fed her, then her college cafeteria, then the Army, then servants. Then what?
So this is a plea. If you are the family cook, teach your kids and if necessary your spouse. You might go away, they might go away, you might get run over by a careering armored truck.
This Thanksgiving, I did prepare most of the overly abundant carte. That would be the likes of goose with cracked peppercorns, cruditiés with four dips, roasted yams with orange, port wine cranberry chutney, wild and jasmine rice, key lime pie and on and on. I get in a groove.
However, the full-time family residents did their do. My uxorial unit is a great pastry baker. She made a highly decorative and delicious tart-cherry pie and a huge plate of deviled eggs. Son 2 made saffron ice cream and brie en croute. Son 3 did an extremely popular stuffed shells with from-scratch tomato sauce.
And so it went…
I likely could have made every dish. In fact, I held off on several I had in mind to make. We were already in overkill. Plus, various guests showed with nosh offerings, wines, ciders, and of course, their own pies — pecan, buttermilk and sweet potato. Our Thanksgiving clan has a real pie jones.
It’s nice….it’s better…t’s great…when everyone feels and exhibits ownership of the life and pleasure giving role. It’s a boat that everyone helps steer, When you arrive, you are happy for the journey.