The holidays – Thanksgiving through New Year’s – seem to turn the nostalgia dial up to eleven for many of us, especially when it comes to what you put in your mouth. We find comfort in the familiarity of the menu and we want them prepared the exact same way we had them at our table. I certainly wouldn’t put my mother’s green bean casserole up against anyone else’s because it was just green beans, cream of mushroom soup topped with fried onions, but it somehow tasted better when she made it.
That was never more evident to me than the year a former boyfriend painstakingly removed all the fried onions from the top of my casserole and placed them back one by one in the exact same pattern his mother had used. And yes, I stood nearby rolling my glazed-over been-in-the-kitchen-for-hours brown eyes the whole time. Gives whole new meaning to Brown Eyed Girl. Or the year one of my best friends insisted on big marshmallows instead of tiny ones on top of the sweet potatoes. I got it. Finally. As progressive as we are, there are some things you just don’t mess with.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The expectations are relatively low in comparison to Christmas. It’s mostly about the food, the wine, the pie, and being together. Yeah, yeah, yeah … it’s about football too.
My family usually watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while making final preparations. We ate mid-day with everyone going around the table speaking out what we were grateful for, and we were done in time to watch football. The non-footballers (ie. the girls) would pull out an old movie, usually a musical, sing along, cry a little, and laugh a lot. Almost everybody took a nap.
Christmas Eve we went to church, held candles, sang carols, and imagined that there was a Santa Claus. One year my brother and I sat (ok, we slept a little) at the top of the stairs in hopes of catching Santa. Never gonna happen.
I’m naturally, and often obnoxiously, curious. Translation: that makes me an obsessive Googler. Don’t challenge me to challenge. I can out-google you.
An interesting representation of cultural foodways. What does your state say about you, your food traditions, and your recipe googling activities?
Just in case you’re one of those obsessive googlers (I confess, I am), check out this map of the Thanksgiving recipes googled in every state. North Carolina’s is Pig Pickin’ Cake with not a piece of pork anywhere close by.
Whatever the dish, the timing of the dinner, or the traditions surrounding the way each holiday is spent in your family, we’re all just wishing for a connection …whether it’s creating new traditions for our future or simply longing for the warm ones in our past.
I wish you the happiest of coming days in hopes that they are filled with warmth, family, friends and food!