Hello my Foodie Friends!
It is amazing to think that the holiday season is here. Planning for family gatherings and meals can be a stressful time during this time of year. We strive for the Norman Rockwell experience of perfect times, perfect food and respectful conversation. Reality is for many people, family gatherings during the holidays are rarely stress-free. I tell my Thanksgiving story every year because it is one that we reflect on and smile. Last month my Father-in-law passed away. While we sat as a family reminiscing and sharing stories, the classic story of a past Thanksgiving was told. It brought the needed tears of laughter to us. Thanksgiving would not be complete without my real-life story of Grandma and the Turkey. It was a long time ago when our children; Johnny age 3 and Aubrey 5 months old at the time, would make the annual trek to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and watch football. To begin; let me explain I am a Giants fan and so is my mother-in-law so watching the Cowboys is not our favorite thing. However, her son is and so is my sister-in-law’s husband. Yep, two Cowboy fans in the same house and they do not like each other! I love football so I watched but the room was silent because they don’t speak to each other. They were holding their feelings down to make my mother-in-law happy. My mother-in-law was busy making a huge feast for all to enjoy. She was very nervous because she wanted everyone to get along. We always ate after the game and this one was a tight one. Most Cowboy fans may want to stop reading now. With just seconds left in the game, the Miami Dolphins lined up to make a game winning field goal and it was blocked by the Cowboys. The brothers-in-laws were silent. I wanted to yell but held back because of the tension. All of a sudden one of the Cowboys (Leon Lett) chased the block field goal and touched it. Oh nooo! Well the Dolphins got another chance and won. Not good around Grandmas house. My mother-in-law was now really nervous that her day could be ruined. Her kitchen was filled with many dishes all cooking at once. There was a shout from the kitchen and Grandma announced that she had lost her glasses and could not see without them. The brothers-in-law were pressed into service to find the glasses. These were not just any glasses; they were big and black and hard to lose but there were no glasses to be found. We looked everywhere and Grandma was close to tears when she asked me to check on and baste the turkey. This was a big turkey at 28 lbs. and it smelled great.
I grabbed my son Johnny and the baster which he took charge of and opened the oven to show him the turkey. He said “look Daddy, the turkey can see better.” Yep he found the glasses neatly melted in perfect harmony with the bird so it looked like he had eyes! I started laughing and everyone joined in. Needless to say we had ham and lasagna but no turkey. It didn’t matter because the rest of the day was perfect.
Through the fun and sometimes stressful events that can happen during the holidays – especially when we want it to be perfect; it can turn out to be a wonderful family gathering. Remember, my foodie friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen”. Among our greatest and most treasured memories are the ones that are based in the kitchen or around a meal. As you get ready this season for your festivities and feasts, stop into Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store located at 33 Railroad Place. Pick up roasters, basters, thermometers, and more for your meals. You can have that Norman Rockwell family gathering. Enjoy your family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
John & Paula