Went to my daughter’s house. I’m pretty proud of that girl. I just sat on the davenport and played grandma, waiting for dinner while the kiddos brought me stuff: sangria, deviled eggs, veggies and dip.
And then to the table for all of the “regulars” from the Thanksgiving table around which Daughter grew up, plus one new dish that she has added, due to high demand from her family of six: macaroni & cheese. We never had that for “special dinners” in our house, but her kids love it, so there it was. She has switched the green vegetable from creamed peas and mushrooms to green beans, her husband’s favorite - although not that dreaded casserole with the canned onions - just freshly-snapped green beans cooked southern style with bacon and onions. And she has deleted two of my must-haves: giblets in the gravy, and Waldorf Salad.
She, and all of my kids of course, hated giblets in the gravy, but I forced it on them anyway, figuring it was “good” for them to learn tradition. Daughter has no such sentimentality. And she served no salad - just enhanced relish tray. I missed the Waldorf Salad but later she told me that nobody ever eats it but the two of us and she got tired of having to throw it away.
I was sort of sad about what I see as the end of an era.
In the southern families where I grew up, the salad of choice at these meals was always ambrosia. Tasty, sure, but so sickly sweet. About five years or so into my own marriage, as head cook, I decided to make the bold switch from the south to the north: from Mandarin oranges and maraschino cherries and little bitty marshmallows and shredded sweetened coconut to apples and celery and walnuts and raisins.
Now Daughter has decided to go with no salad at all.
So our menu:
Two turkeys - deep-fried in the backyard by SIL, which he love love loves to do, but which, in my opinion, produces a rather dry bird. But a happy SIL. And, since he’s the father of four of my grandchildren, do want to keep that man happy. So it’s good from that standpoint, anyway.
Cornbread dressing, made from my mother’s recipe, which has been handed down from my father’s mother, and therefore the standard in my family for over 100 years, and which, since Daughter couldn’t stuff the turkeys thanks to the (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze, she baked in the oven, after browning a few turkey thighs and arranging them on top of the dressing so that the turkey juices would drip into it - cool tip I got online from others suffering through this (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze that all the menfolk love love love, the only benefit of which, as I see it, is that it does get the menfolk out of your kitchen and involved in the meal. (But, foodwise, is it worth it? Not to me.)
Kind of bland gravy, since, thanks to the (ridiculous, in my opinion) deep-frying craze, was not made directly in the turkey roasting pan from the turkey roasting drippings.
Sweet potato casserole laced with bourbon and orange juice, also from my father’s mother, and therefore the standard in my family for over 100 years.
Cranberry sauce, which turned out a little bit too sour and too runny this year, but Daughter is working on perfecting, and it’s usually terrific.
Green beans, cooked so beautifully, with onions and bacon. Loved them.
Macaroni & Cheese, which I definitely don’t “get” at a special meal, but which everybody else piled onto their plates and ate happily
Relish tray, with pimento cheese celery stalks, deviled eggs, and other assorted typical relish tray things
Pecan pie, chocolate pie, key lime pie.
Of course, in the house in which she grew up, there would have been pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie.
Kids! What are you gonna do?!!
Probably just what I did.
Sit on the sofa, glass of sangria in your hand.
And incredible gratitude in your heart.