And Bless the Green Bean Casserole
I’ve made my list. I’ve checked it twice. And in a few minutes I’ll be heading off to the market to shop for Thanksgiving dinner. Actually, if I chose to, I could just save my list from year to year, because nothing on that menu ever changes. In the early years, I tried to introduce the idea of trying something new. After all, the magazines and cookbooks were full of creative and interesting ideas for an updated Thanksgiving. My family was okay, even vaguely enthusiastic, with the idea, as long as it didn’t replace their particular favorite. Of course, by the time the menu was sorted out, and the favorites protected, nothing at all had changed. And all these years later, it remains exactly the same.
This year, to the satisfaction of all, and the surprise of none, we’ll be having:
Roast Turkey. Not deep fried, not cooked on the grill, but stuffed, basted and roasted in the oven until it is golden brown. Then carved in the kitchen by my husband. I stand next to him like a surgical nurse, handing him the things he needs. Fork. Carving knife. Platter.
Cornbread Sausage Stuffing.This is my grandmother’s recipe, and her grandmother’s too, for all I know. Anyone trying to mess with this one would be rightfully banished from all future Thanksgiving celebrations.
Cranberry Sauce.Always made from fresh cranberries, sugar, and water. No oranges, no nuts, no spices. Just plain cranberry sauce, the way God intended.
Heavenly Hash.I’m sure you’ve tasted some version of this; maybe you even like it. I made it for my husband on our first Thanksgiving, and he’s looked for it ever since. It’s made of canned, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and apricots, coconut, slivered almonds, and mini marshmallows, all bound together with sour cream and made the day before so it can get properly gooshy. There’s always lots of Heavenly Hash left over. Go figure.
Green Bean Casserole.Yes, this also has a hallowed place on my Thanksgiving table. You see, I started cooking a long, long time ago, before fresh fruits and vegetables had been invented. It was only natural in those days to open cans and by the time I knew of a better way, the damage had been done. Hence, green bean casserole (and heavenly hash.)
Homemade Butterhorn Rolls. Again, an eagerly anticipated dish passed down through the generations and not to be messed with. Not even the shape. Just make lots and lots.
Actually, as long as there is plenty of pumpkin and pecan pie, the rest of the menu is up to me! I can knock myself out researching and preparing sweet potato recipes, if I want to, because no one is going to touch it anyway, and, of course, mashed potatoes and gravy are a given.
Then the table is set with grandmother’s silver and my mother’s wedding china. My family gathers around. Someone reads Psalm 100. My husband asks the blessing, but as I look down the table, past the turkey, the casseroles, the dressing, and gaze and the faces around my table, I know I am already blessed beyond measure.
What makes you feel especially blessed this time of year? Share your top three!