Everyone has their favorite holiday — that one special time of year that holds nostalgic charm or warm memories — and for me, it’s Thanksgiving.
I didn’t grow up in a traditional household in the sense that we didn’t celebrate most holidays; however, Thanksgiving was something we usually observed in some shape or form — and it always involved lots of food.
I love everything about Thanksgiving. There’s something that appeals to me about an entire day centered on feasting like kings. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid (with a rabid, unstoppable imagination) I used to pretend I was a medieval princess and all the food was being cooked and prepared for some royal event that would include a 12-course meal as the entertainment. Or maybe it’s just because it’s a wonderful excuse to eat, eat, rest, and then eat some more. What could be more fabulous than a whole day sanctioned for gluttony? I used to watch my mom spend all day cooking this fabulous feast, never once thinking that someday I might be the one doing all the work, and all I could think was…when’s it time to eat? My mom’s answer was usually the same, “Around 3 p.m. or so…”
And then when all the food had been prepared and placed on the table, we set about layering our food. Okay, actually I’m not a fan of layering unless it’s gravy on my mashed potatoes, but my mom pretty much piles everything on her plate no matter what it is because she doesn’t seem to mind if her turkey is buried under a dollop of creamy fruit salad. Me, not so much.
So turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy (homemade gravy, of course!), stuffing, piping hot biscuits with butter melting inside, deviled eggs, corn on the cob (though I never eat the corn), sometimes peas (don’t eat those either), candied yams (love, love, love) carrots, fruit salad (I’m usually in charge of this dish), olives, and of course, cranberry sauce (I like jellied, my mom and aunt like the lumpy stuff that has sticks in it). After we’ve stuffed ourselves like the turkey we just gobbled, we take a well-needed rest (which means we unbutton our pants and groan about how we ate too much) and then about an hour later we dig into the pies.
I could have a love affair with pumpkin pie. I could eat it for breakfast (and I have), lunch, dinner, and then dessert. It’s surprising seeing as I’m really a chocolate girl if given a dessert choice, but pumpkin pie with fresh, homemade whip cream is divine. I cannot imagine Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. The very idea is as ludicrous as suggesting apple juice in your cereal (no offense to anyone who actually enjoys that combination.)
And you know what? I’m not a huge fan of turkey. In fact, I think Thanksgiving Day is the only time of year that I actually eat that particular bird.
The best part about Thanksgiving is admittedly, the leftovers. I love rummaging through the refrigerator to revisit the feast all over again. My favorite? Turkey sandwiches, of course!
I know there’s a lot of people who enjoy cranberry sauce with their turkey sandwich (blech, not me!) and people who get pretty fancy with their turkey sandwich creations, but I like to keep it simple. Cold white turkey breast, light mayo, mustard and salt and pepper. YUM! Paired with a side dish of yams, fruit salad, or stuffing it’s a perfect meal.
This year, we will be staying home for Thanksgiving. Usually, we go to my mom’s up in Mariposa (ahh, crisp fresh air and Mommy’s cooking!) but this year we will be hosting a small gathering with our family here. Which means, my aunt will be doing the major cooking and I’ll be in charge of the can opener (and the fruit salad).
But whether we’re here or there, the feeling and the food will remain the same, which is why Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday. Good food, family, and good times…what’s not to love?
Happy Thanksgiving, people!
Kim Van Meter is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.