Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thirty to the Table

Mom called in a geometry panic the other night. She had just agreed (not that she was given much choice) to five more people coming to her house for Thanksgiving. My mom spends a lot of time arranging tables and measuring for chairs every year for the two weeks before Thanksgiving, and she prefers two long tables instead four smaller ones. But you know, the dining room is only so big, and things get tight. No and I joke that we always knew it was a major holiday because we had to move furniture, and over the years various people besides ourselves have been involved in the table situation.


Mom does not do all the cooking but she prepares the heart of the meal herself: The turkey, mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, and stuffing. Everything else, with a few special exceptions, is assigned by category ("a vegetable," "dessert") and shows up with each guest. In the past, I've been responsible for the mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and pine nuts, roasted pears, sweet potato pie, and pecan pie. This year I'm doing the onions in cream sauce, and after looking over Julia Child's and Irma Rombecker's versions I'm going with Julia. Zirpu is responsible for the green stuff* and banana pudding.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and always has been. To avoid any whiff of plagiarism, I'll just tell you to read this by Jon Carroll, and know that what he wrote about Thanksgiving last year is what I feel too.


We've always had about two dozen people over for Thanksgiving, and we all have stories that go back for years. Here are two:

In 1978 Mom served a ham for dinner. Everyone was shocked. Even Jindi, who is from India and is a vegetarian, gently scolded my mother for serving ham that day. Every year Shelly says something about whether there will be turkey or ham this year, and every year everyone laughs, even people who weren't there in 1978. Mom insists that lots of families eat ham on Thanksgiving and we jokingly tell her she is telling lies.


A few years later Shmeen and her parents came over for Thanksgiving. Her mother, Jolly Woman, came in holding a big platter of Brussels sprouts. Another one of my mom's friends saw the platter and spontaneously cried, "Brussels sprouts? Yuck!" Then she looked appalled that she'd allowed her inner ten-year-old to get out. Jolly Woman laughed and laughed, and since then Brussels sprouts have been a running gag in the family. This friend of my mom's is coming for the first time in many years, though Jolly Woman will be in LA with Shmeen and the family, so I'm going to make a small dish of roasted Brussels sprouts in both their honors.


Last year Shelly brought me, Mom, and No prints of this photo. He is the rare person who is actually going through all of his prints and slides and is scanning everything.

If it weren't for the gin and tonic at the corner of the turkey, this could be a photo from a 1971 or '72 Ladies Home Journal.

1 comment:

rambunctiousgirl said...

Well this comment is actually not related to your most recent entry but I wanted to know that I appreciate your comments on one of my most recent entries. You and Boegle have indirectly encouraged me to keep on writing my blog. I read your blog a lot and I always find it thought-provoking as well as entertaining. So keep on writing.
And you know Tea from Tea and Cookies! I love her blog. I got hooked on it when as she was starting to leave Seattle. (I live in Seattle.) She is an awesome writer as well and she has encouraged me to try new foods (my husband specifically sought out beer she wrote about) and to read more food blogs.
So keep on writing. Thanks for the encouragement.