Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Plans

We used to spend every Thanksgiving proper at my in laws.   I loved to see my in laws, and we used to pile into the car on Thanksgiving and drive 4 hours round trip to visit them and eat my mother in law's "green slime" -  it was a lime jello salad with cool whip and celery in it.  We'd also have my brother in law Dan's cranberry relish - it was fresh, not cooked.  I'd bring a dish to pass; once I made an oyster dressing no one would eat.   Another time I made a pumpkin swirl cheesecake and broke a glass in the kitchen when I was making it.  My brother in law cut his tongue on a stray shard and suggested that I was "trying to kill him".  I was so embarrassed!  We'd all play Trivial Pursuit (Boys vs. Girls) and then get back in the car to do it all over again at Christmas.   Now, Thanksgiving has gone to the wayside; my sister in law Kathy, the family matriarch, doesn't cook much and is a nurse that usually works Thanksgiving.

We get together with my family on another day during the long weekend; this year, it is Friday.  My Aunt Lauretta just passed away and her funeral will be on Saturday, so we pushed back our meal until 4 pm so we could hit the funeral home first.   I can't believe Aunt Lauretta outlived them all, but she did!  Her husband, then my mom, then my dad.  She always went to the funerals and told stories of the old days.   She was a spunky gal and we always believed she was a gypsy.  She had dark hair and looked exotic.  She was full of superstitions - if you dream about a baby, it meant someone was going to die.  I didn't dream about a baby this time, so I was caught off guard.   Another thing is that she could predict a newborn baby's birth date and time with eerie accuracy just by asking a few simple questions like when your birthday was, how old you were when you got your first period and the date of your wedding.   It was some kind of gypsy mathematical formula.  She guessed my daughter's birth date and time and only missed it by 18 minutes....considering she was due on Dec. 8 and she was born on Dec. 22, that kind of accuracy still gives me pause.    I can remember celebrating Thanksgiving at her house when I was a kid .  She made the best gravy with lots of mushrooms in it and her own jello salad - it was made with black cherry jello.  My mother had decreed long ago that my sister would host Thanksgiving and my brother Christmas because she didn't want to risk the drive from Warren to Ann Arbor because there could be "black ice" on M-14   She was a very fearful driver.   Even though she died in 2010, we still hold her schedule.   I get Easter at my house so that the risk of  "black ice" will be mitigated.    Christmas will be at my brothers....

Since my mother in law died back in 2008, we have celebrated Thanksgiving on the actual holiday with just our family, which is very relaxing.  I get a small bird and roast it.  I usually start the day by cleaning out the fridge or the pantry, whichever needs it more.  This year, it's the pantry.  Then, I listen to Lynn Rosetto Kasper's Turkey Confidential while making sides and dessert.   I'm not sure what I am going to make this year, outside of the classic Campbells Soup green bean might be:

Ann's Mom's Layered Cranberry Salad - a challenge to make, but very, very good.   Lime sherbet is difficult to locate, but if you can get it, make this salad.

Cranberry Apple Crisp -  can also be made with pear.  Very easy and very good

And for the day after Turkey Soup with Lemon and Barley.  So good that I wonder why I don't make it more often.  I should! It would work equally well with a roast chicken carcass, too.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?  Do tell!


bizzylizzy said...

Our frequently usual trip to my brother's in PA -- we leave first thing on Thanksgiving Day and make the 5.5 hour trip to Crates (just outside Frogtown!) PA where any number of our 37 extended family members (+1 family friend who always joins us)gather in the yellow brick farmhouse at the corner of Megnin and Conner Rds. outside "downtown" Crates. This year it'll be about 24 people. I'll bring the fruit salad, although my sister-in-law (the hostess) said it wasn't necessary as it was forgotten last year (we didn't go to PA) and no one missed it. My sister Mary always brings the appetizers, sister-in-law Cindy, the wine, me, the fruit salad, Mary V (family friend) also brings an appetizer of some sort. The family patriarch (92) pays for the turkey, but God bless my sister-in-law Judy who does the lion's share of the food prep and opens her home for the family on all the major holidays and then some!

Vivienne said...

Ah, Cynthia, you've reached the time when the memories around the table are as striking as the food. We are down to two but I still make some of the old favorites. The ghosts cluster around the table as do the old dishes.

My mother-in-law used to make what you call "green slime" too. I liked that but don't have a recipe for it - actually tried to find one w/out success. My mother-in-law made lots of Jello but this was the only one I liked. Pineapple, lime jello and something creamy.

I even think of my grandmother's ambrosia sometimes. Sliced oranges and coconut. Haven't had it since about 1959. Found a similar recipe on a Southern Cooking site but my husband doesn't like coconut.