Friday, November 26, 2010

Making memories and passing on traditions

We shared our Thanksgiving meal with some friends and neighbors this year.  We really enjoyed the fellowship.  We contributed to the meal as well, but it wasn't exactly the same as doing the whole thing in our kitchen.  I really wanted to make sure I had a chance to pass down our own traditions to my girls, so we decided to celebrate again, today....the day after Thanksgiving. 

Yesterday we made our traditional "dressin'' which starts with a whole baked hen in the oven.  Meredith learned how to crumble the cornbread, add the eggs, and add the stock until "it looks right".  No measuring...just making it look right.  We also tasted (prior to the eggs, of course) to make sure there was enough seasoning, enough onions and enough crunch of the celery.  She then learned the proper way to mix it all up....with your hands.  So fun....and no spoon needed.  It is quite therapeutic actually.  She even learned how to add a couple of pieces of loaf bread by putting them under the faucet to wet them and squeeze those and add to the mixture.  Lots and lots of "hands in" activity!  It will take a few more times of doing this for her to actually get this on her own, but she is well on her way at 11 years old.  Never too early to learn to make dressing.

Today we moved on to the girls' favorite things.  Janey is sadly a potato girl.  She could live on mashed potatoes.  So today she peeled them all!!!  It is time for her to learn how much work goes into those taters!  It took her quite awhile, but she did a great job with the potato peeler.  After they were done, she did the honors of mashing them.....but as is our family tradition, there must be the appropriate amount of lumps still in those taters!  She also made the gravy.  This year I used a simple packet, but plan to teach her to make it from scratch soon. 

Meredith was in charge of the deviled eggs and sweet potatoes.  She cut all the eggs and mixed the yolks with mayo and mustard until it was "the right color of yellow" as my Mother says.  I'll never forget the first Thanksgiving that Brad and I spent alone and I was trying to make Mother's potato salad.  I didn't know how much mustard to add, so I had him call her for me and ask her.  She told him "until it's the right color of yellow".....and that totally blew his mind.  I knew what she meant.  So Meredith mixed all her ingredients without measuring...because there really aren't measurements...it just needs to be the right consistency, the right "color of yellow" and taste great!  She did an awesome job.  She used the little cookie dough scoop to fill them and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  She asked me while we were cooking why they were called deviled eggs.  According to many sources, the term deviled eggs was first seen in print in 1786 in the Oxford Dictionary in reference to cooking.  You can follow my link to read about it.  We learned quite a bit!

Next Meredith made sweet potato casserole.  We even used Splenda in place of the white sugar so we could save a few calories.  She used the hand mixer and made the potatoes and then the topping of pecans, brown sugar (no substitutions there, though), flour and butter.  It was quite tasty as well.

There were other dishes---broccoli and craisin salad, rolls, cranberry sauce that looks like the can (read my last post), roasted chicken, and of course iced tea!  What a fun day.  All three girls in the kitchen.  Brad has a bad cold and so he was very happy to eat and then be sent back to the sofa for the football game while I allowed the girls the wonderful pleasure of cleaning up after the meal.  (There are perks to them getting older and learning to cook!)

Happy Thanksgiving!!  I am truly happy.  I am loving being a mother and teaching my girls to love others, love the Lord, respect their elders, have manners, not just be grateful....but show it and say it, and passing on memories and traditions that I hope they will never forget.  I have enjoyed talking to them about our family and our relatives and how I learned to do these things.  I love sharing stories about our family and making sure they have a tight connection to their roots. 

As we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade yesterday, they decorated the tree and commented on all their homemade ornaments, remembering when and where they made them.  They decorated the house with all our trinkets and fixed them just like they wanted them.  They set out the manger scene and made sure everything was placed "just right" in their minds of how it might have been the night Jesus was born.  The fire was on and the Lucy (the cat) was watching.  Such a simple scene brought me such pleasure.  I am very thankful to be alive and to have such a precious family. 

Now.....where are those leftovers?

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