|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
Traditions From My Childhood That I Still Stick To!
First I'd have to say that, as far as the Left Coast contingent of our family is concerned, my wife and I have become the de facto keepers of the traditions. Whether it is planning a spring time picnic for Easter, a little Fourth of July barbecue action, a feast to throw a Pilgrim in to a winter long coma, or the hosting of the Christmas Morning gala and savaging of the wrapping paper, we are the ones who have been in charge of the logistics, menus, locations and entertainment. A good reason for this is that we have been fortunate in our jobs and lives and have the where with all to host such things without having to stress too much over how we might afford to provide the best ingredients and hospitality we are capable of.
The real jewel in the crown is definitely the Thanksgiving meal. I love to cook and this is when I can shine. Out comes 'The Joy of Cooking' and I dredge my memory for the additions and nuances to each recipe that has eventually made it mine. There is, of course, the center piece, the turkey, slow roasted to a golden brown and served with plenty of pan gravy. Of course, to my daughter, the only reason the bird is included at all is so that it can be converted into a tryptophan laced vessel for stuffing.
This is a concoction of slightly toasted wheat bread, celery, mushrooms, sausage, walnuts and so much more. All of the aforementioned is accompanied by a decadent amount of mashed potatoes, creamed carrots, peas with pearl onions, nut bread, banana bread, ambrosia, home made cranberry sauce, a green bean casserole and, as an after thought, fresh baked breads and rolls. All of this is followed by one or two pies, ice cream included, and a liberal amount of belt loosening. The preparation has been accomplished in a whirl and clatter of pans and dishes and conversation (before, during and after) and visiting amongst any number of guests who have or not been in close contact over the course of the ensuing year.
Several plates of left overs are carried off by family and visitors as they depart and the clean up is sped along by fresh brewed coffee and tea and the voices of satiated visitor lodged on the premises. As the damage is cleared away board games appear and the friendly but intense competitions begin. Recipes are shared over these post engorgement past times and slowly people drift away for the proverbial long winters nap. Yes it is a LOT of work and something I have enjoyed for a LOT of years and would not trade for all the catered splendor in any restaurant.
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Until the next installment, live, love, write.
Dane F. Baylis