A Day To Celebrate Gratitude

29 Nov

I wish I could ask my mother about her Thanksgiving menu. Why didn’t it occur to me until now? Her menu was the same every year. How it developed I’ll never know.

My MIL Alice, Lisa and myself. Pups Luna and Ms Bossy Pants, Stela, Happy Thanksgiving 2020

First there were the appetizers, celery stuffed with cream cheese, dates stuffed with walnuts and rolled in powdered sugar, tiny pickles and pearl onions. All were placed delicately on special plates saved for the occasion.

My mother, always in an apron.

Next there was turkey. My dad cooked the turkey, sealed in aluminum foil and baked to perfection. The turkey was filled with boxed stuffing mix, one of the only things that was not entirely made from “scratch “. There was always homemade gravy, silky mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows), mashed rutabaga (my favorite), broccoli and a salad almost no one touched. My mother made the best cranberry sauce. The bitter cranberries were lightly sweetened with apples from our tree and a touch of sugar. I have the cone sieve she used to separate out the skins. The fragrance filled our big kitchen. She would bake pies ahead of time, pumpkin, and minced meat. The desserts would vary when my grandmother was visiting.

Lisa and my first Thanksgiving 1994 (with family friends)

This year the beloved US holiday looked nothing like it has in the past, for anyone. We had one guest which gave me an excuse to get out my mother’s silverware. I thought of my childhood home, filled with extended family, my grandfather and his sister, my grandmother and my Uncle Jack who died this year, playing poker. Lots of grumbling but lots of love. Probably the best was my mother’s eggnog. It was more like liquid heaven, rich and delicious. One year my uncle spiked the entire bowl which meant we kids couldn’t have any. I thought my mother would kill him. My parents didn’t drink either.

Prayers of gratitude for you all.

Thanksgiving was a day to reminisce and tell stories. The Macy’s Parade in New York was always on the television. My dad loved parades and promised every year to take us. Watching the crowd bundled up and freezing, none of my four brothers and myself were in much of a hurry to go.

One recipe I actually got from my mom.

I wish you good memories and loving connections, even from afar. We had a Zoom call with our children, which was a sorry replacement for the laughter, smells and tastes from my mother’s kitchen. And best of all, the eggnog.


15 Responses to “A Day To Celebrate Gratitude”

  1. Melissa Dunn November 29, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

    Happy late Thanksgiving in this year of covid. I hope your Thanksgiving went well and you and all your loved ones are strong and healthy. I enjoyed your blog it brought back so many happy memories of Thanksgiving past. Thank you for sharing your memories. You help keep my head in a positive place. Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 November 29, 2020 at 12:58 pm #

      Your welcome Melissa, our memories keep us grounded. Soon this will be one as well. Live every day as your best.


  2. Emilie November 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm #

    I invited five friends over. I did the turkey, stuffing, potatoes. Others brought rolls and veggies, cranberry sauce and pie. We sat outside on my patio 8 feet apart. We had a lovely time until it began to cool down too much to remain outside. I’m glad you have your mothers eggnog recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jack Scott November 30, 2020 at 4:01 am #

    Another casualty of the pandemic, sadly. Obviously, we don’t celebrate thanksgiving this side of the pond but I still feel your pain. The menu is remarkably similar to a traditional British Christmas lunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 November 30, 2020 at 6:39 am #

      Even though my parents were both raised poor, they somehow managed to develop this tradition. My mother had dishes and silverware that were only used about three times a year to set a fancy table. Tradition, tradition!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen December 5, 2020 at 11:00 am #

    I assume that the heavy cream is whipped before adding? Recipe says to add whipped cream, not heavy cream.


    • afish25 December 5, 2020 at 6:54 pm #

      Ah, whipped heavy cream. Yes!


      • Karen December 5, 2020 at 7:23 pm #

        I wonder . . . could I use stevia or monk fruit to sweeten? Wondering how I could lower the carb count of milk and sugar. I’ll have to perk on it.


      • afish25 December 5, 2020 at 7:27 pm #

        I don’t know what monk fruit is and I find stevia disgusting. This is one of those once in a lifetime experiences. ❤️


      • Karen December 5, 2020 at 9:32 pm #

        I use a ton of stevia, liquid and powder. One has to be careful with it. Monk fruit is another low carb sweetener. I also use Xyla.


      • afish25 December 6, 2020 at 10:53 am #

        Let me know how it works.


  5. Kim Relph December 6, 2020 at 3:08 pm #

    I mostly replicate my Mom and Grandmother’s Thanksgiving menu. Of course we elevate them a bit (better ingredients than they could get and/or couldn’t afford back in the old days), and get smoked turkey from a BBQ place. I have Grandmother’s egg nog recipe and it is very close to yours. At Christmas even the kids were allowed a little tiny bit of the nog with alcohol in it. We thought that was so cool. Don’t be afraid of the heavy cream and sugar once a year! It is a special treat. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen December 6, 2020 at 3:59 pm #

      Actually, heavy cream is very low in carbs. It’s the sugar that’s the killer for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 December 6, 2020 at 5:38 pm #

      Very decadent and so worth it.


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