Posted tagged ‘Turkey’

“Turkey is undoubtedly one of the best gifts that the New World has made to the Old.”

November 25, 2017

When Gracie and I went out earlier, I was surprised by how warm a morning it is. The sun is shining, and there is a slight breeze. It was quiet except for music from the radio of a car being parked next door. The car belongs to a man who works for my neighbor, the landscaper. When he opened the car door, the music stopped. It was quiet again. I was still in the backyard waiting for Gracie. She took her time. I didn’t mind, though, as I got to be outside enjoying the morning for a bit.

My groceries are being delivered in a while. I open the door, and they are brought to the kitchen where I start putting them away. When I shopped, I aways hated bringing the bags inside the house as it took so many trips. Now I complain about putting the groceries away.

Last night for dinner I had leftovers. They were almost as good as the Thanksgiving meal.    They reminded me a turkey is never a single meal. It seems to last forever. First is the grand meal then hot turkey sandwiches that night, cold turkey sandwiches piled high with stuffing and cranberry sauce the next day or two then turkey salad and finally turkey soup. My dad was a champion at picking the meat from the turkey bones. I think he looked forward to it every year. Not even the smallest piece of meat escaped him. He left an empty carcass.

This weekend will be a quiet one. I have nothing planned. Tonight I’ll watch a new Hallmark movie. I don’t know what it is, but I can guess. The possible plots are easy: two people will meet on a plane or a train or at the airport and fall in love, a curmudgeon will do a Scrooge like make-over and love Christmas, a kid will get his wish, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas will find it in his or her heart and in doing so will fall in love.

I’m watching the antithesis of those Hallmark movies on a program called Homicide for the Holidays. I figure it will counteract all the sugar from Hallmark. I just watched a detective at his desk talking on the phone about murders during a house invasion on Christmas Eve. Behind the detective were Christmas decorations. A gold garland outlined the window and cards were strung on a string across it. Quite festive indeed!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

November 23, 2017

Today is a beautiful day, just chilly enough. The sun is bright and sharp. The leaves flutter a bit then the limbs swing back and forth when the breeze becomes a wind. I’m watching the parade.

My sister and I spoke this morning, and we remembered our mother waking up early to get the turkey in the oven. Why it was so early neither one of us remember. While my mother was in the kitchen, we were all sitting in front of the TV watching the parade. The snacks every year were the same: M&M’s, tangerines and mixed nuts. We used a silver set to crack then pick out the nuts. Years ago I bought a set exactly the same. I fill it with nuts and put the bowl, the crackers and the picks on my dining room table. Tangerines were the best as they were so easy to peel. Only seeds marred their perfection. The M&M’s were first to go. My father always went with my grandfather to the football game. It was Stoneham versus Reading. My father had no connection to the high school. He never went there and neither did any of us. It was football which drew him.

When the parade was finished, my dad took over the TV. He watched football until my mother called him to the table. We stayed in the kitchen until we set the table. We had turkey, gravy, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and another vegetable or two. The cranberry sauce was always the one from the can. The sauce had can ridges which gave it a bit of a decoration. I always wondered why it was called a sauce when the cranberry was jellied. My father ate quickly, all the better to get back to his games. We lingered far more, just sitting and talking. Clean-up didn’t take long. After that were the pies: apple, my dad’s favorite always eaten with a chunk of cheese, blueberry and lemon meringue. By then it was late afternoon. Supper, if we had any room for more food, was leftovers, usually a hot turkey sandwich, the meat bathed in gravy. That meal was the official end of Thanksgiving.

I have so many things to be thankful for a whole day is not enough. I am thankful for family, for the connections between my sisters and me. I have been blessed with the best of friends, my other family, and I am thankful for them. I am also thankful for my Coffee friends. When I started this, I never thought people I hadn’t ever met would become such close friends. Most of all, I am thankful for the joy and wonder of each new day.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

February 24, 2017

I was shocked when I went to get the newspapers. It was far warmer than I expected. It’s a deck day, a winter deck day. I’m going to finish here and get outside to enjoy the warmth before it disappears.

I am very late because I went to buy Chinese food for lunch. I had a hankering. After Gracie and I got home, I had to eat before my food got cold. It was totally delicious which is a good thing as that Chinese food, now a leftover, will also be my supper.

I have favorite leftovers. My chili is better on the second day so I make it a day ahead. That means, stay with me now, we are eating a leftover, a sort of leftover anyway, the first time I serve it. It is the same with my sausage cacciatore. I figure the tomatoes are what makes the dishes better the second day. They get to meld with everything else overnight. Dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers is almost as good as the original meal.

When I was a kid, a dinner of all the Thanksgiving leftovers was almost as good as the original meal. I know the turkey generally outlasts its welcome and is sometimes greeted with groans of not again, but for a few days after Thanksgiving, the turkey appeared in every meal except breakfast, and we never complained. The turkey sandwich was my favorite. On the toasted bread, I piled turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. I used mayo.

I made meatloaf a couple of weeks back. I had it with mashed potatoes and peas, my favorite combination. That was my dinner for two nights then the leftover meatloaf became an always delicious sandwich for my lunch. I use mayo.

I know people who won’t eat leftovers. Their reasons are seldom rational. The favorite answer is,”I don’t eat them because I don’t like them.” A why don’t you like them never gets an answer.

I bought dog food yesterday and I also bought 2 boxes of girl scout cookies. A friend at Agway stores the cookies for her daughter. My favorite used to be thin mints, but now I buy tagalongs which are peanut butter and chocolate, known elixirs for what ails us.

“The rooms were very still while the pages were softly turned and the winter sunshine crept in to touch the bright heads and serious faces with a Christmas greeting.”

December 13, 2016

Yesterday has been renamed card day. The tree is still standing in the middle of the living room waiting to be decorated, but my Christmas cards are done. I had a morning meeting earlier today, but that’s it on my dance card. The rest of the day is tree day.

It was cold last night, and it was cold this morning, but the high today should be around 41˚. I’ll be wishing for that on Thursday and Friday when the nights will be in single digits and Friday’s daytime high will be 19˚.

The Christmas day dinner was turkey when I was a kid. That turkey showed up so soon after Thanksgiving didn’t bother us. We didn’t even think about it. We all liked turkey. But when I was older, my mother would serve a roast beef, a pork roast or a spiral ham. We always had potatoes and my mother’s squash dish. The other vegetables varied. The meals were always good, but the best part was dessert. The dining room table was covered with dishes all holding sweets made by my mother and me. It was awesome, the choices almost overwhelming. I’d fill my plate with the favorites: a whoopie pie, a frosted sugar cookie, and an orange cookie. On my second trip a bit later, I’d try the new cookies. Every year there are some new cookies, surprises. Later in the evening my mother and I would have a Spanish coffee and look through our stockings again. The tree was lit and the house, except for the two of us, was quiet. It was always one of my special times with my mother.

The Hallmark movies I’m watching all have happy endings, but I’m fine with that. Christmas is a time for happy endings.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

My mother always got up at the crack of dawn to stuff then roast the bird. My sisters and I figure she must have the biggest bird on record to roast it for so long. She’d then be in the kitchen most of the morning peeling and then cooking potatoes and vegetables. We’d be in the living room watching the parade. That never changed even when we were adults. The turkey got smaller and we helped prepare dinner, but we still watched the parade. We added mimosas to the morning and the beginning of the celebration.

My father was glued to the TV and football games. He’d only take a break to carve the turkey and eat dinner. I can still picture him munching on his turkey leg, and I remember his plate always had a mound of mashed potatoes covered in gravy. My dad wasn’t big for a variety of vegetables but he did love his asparagus, always canned, never fresh, and creamed onions. For the rest of us, the table groaned from the number of dishes filled with vegetables. My contribution was sometimes a Waldorf salad, and I always brought date-nut bread, my grandmother’s recipe. After dinner my father returned to football. The rest of us would sit at the table and talk for a while then my mother and I would start the clean-up.

Dessert was served later. My mother usually made pumpkin and lemon meringue pies. I brought apple pie, stacked high. My dad loved dessert. He’d eat his apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese and cover a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The evening was quiet. If any of us got hungry, we’d have a hot turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce on the side.

Our Thanksgiving was family, food and football.

 

NOTE: I found Tuesday’s posting. It was in drafts but it didn’t appear when I looked. It is now posted under the picture for Tuesday.

Last night I almost hit a deer. It was crossing the street and was right in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes so hard I skidded a bit sideways. It was the proverbial deer in the headlights for what seemed like forever. The deer, out of fear, lost its footing and was scrambling in front of the car. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the deer got control of its back legs, got up and ran. It took me a while to calm down.

“There are many reasons to celebrate, but National Mustard Day just isn’t one of them.”

November 21, 2016

This morning I got to thinking. Thanksgiving is a day, one single day of family and food. For most of us the menu is the same. Turkey has the most prominent spot on the table. It generally arrives uncut so we can ooh and ah at the beauty of the roasted bird. My dad, at the head of the table, did the carving. He’d fill a platter with slices and then tear off a leg or two to complete the dish. He was the only one who loved a leg. The rest of the meal depends on family traditions though I suspect they’ll be gravy and mashed potatoes on many a Thanksgiving table. We always had a squash and carrot dish which originated with my aunt but was tweaked by my mother who substituted butternut squash, far more seasonable, for the undefined squash in the recipe. That was always the favorite vegetable. My father got his canned asparagus. None of the rest of us ate it. My mother would cook a few more vegetables, sometimes peas, creamed onions and a new dish or two. Cranberry sauce came from the can. One year my mother made a wonderful orange cranberry sauce and served it in oranges. It wasn’t a hit, especially for my father who seldom liked anything new for the holidays. I loved it and was glad it was packed in my doggy bag.

Okay, I majorly digressed. What I was originally thinking was Thanksgiving is a single day, while it is the Christmas season, many days. I know it seems to come earlier each year, but we do have 4 Sundays of Advent, the start of the season for me. During that time there is so much to do and most of it fun. Cookies have to be made, and best of all, they have to be decorated. The house gets decorated. I alternate decorations year by year, but the tree never really changes. New ornaments are added but the usual appear every year. Cards need to be addressed and sent. I love buying Edward Gorey cards and found 2 wonderful sets of them this year. I know people sour on having to buy gifts, but I love shopping for just the right ones. Years ago one of my friends said she loves anticipating what I give her as it is always so neat which is why I love to shop. Just because I’m older (not old, older) doesn’t mean I forget the joys of the season. We decorate gingerbread houses. I play Christmas music and always sing along. I sit in the living room just to look at the tree.

Thursday is close. In the morning I’ll watch the parade, crack nuts, eat a few tangerines and some M&M’s just the way I did when I was a kid. My friends and I are going out for dinner, a new tradition started last year. I’ll probably cook a small turkey so I can have a mini Thanksgiving complete with leftovers. On Friday I’ll let everyone else shop, but on Saturday I’ll finish my list. Saturday night I’ll put my feet up, enjoy some egg nog and a Hallmark movie, and I’ll not wonder how it will end!

“The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy.”

November 26, 2015

I am reposting last year’s Thanksgiving musings. They can’t be bettered. There is, however, one change. We are going out to eat. I’ll have to dress for dinner. Yesterday I made my chocolate pie. My sister made her chocolate pie as well as her other pies. My other sister literally had to stuff her huge turkey into the roasting pan. It just fit.

I always think a day set aside for giving thanks has to be the best of all days.

Thanksgiving is the least adorned holiday of them all. We don’t buy each other presents or decorate the house. There are no new outfits in spring colors. The highlight of the day is dinner and being together around the table as a family related by blood or friendship. Of all the holidays, it is the one in which we all share so much in common. Traditional dishes unique to each family are served but so are turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy and all those pies. It is the time for us to remember the people we love who are no longer with us and to appreciate the ones who are. We give thanks for the good in our lives, the food on our tables and the glory of every day. We talk together and laugh together at dinner. We pass the rolls, the green bean casserole and the canned cranberry sauce with the ribbing. We eat until we can eat no more. We finish by doing some cleaning up then relaxing in the living room until we have some room for dessert.

This morning I will watch the parade, the same as I have done as long I can remember. I’ll talk to my sisters to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. I won’t dress fancy for Thanksgiving, none of us really do. I’ll sit with my friends and enjoy every part of the day. I am thankful for the life I have been lucky enough to live, for the people I love and the people who love me.

I am thankful for all of you, my Coffee family.

“My favorite meal is turkey and mashed potatoes. I love Thanksgiving, it’s just my favorite. I can have Thanksgiving all year round.”

November 24, 2015

Today is a sunny day but not a warm, sunny day. Gracie’s ears are always cold when she comes back inside the house. There is hardly any breeze, and only the tips of the dead leaves on the smallest branches move. The summer sun warms us while today’s sun, the deep fall sun, only gives us light.

My hand is still swollen, but I am back to my two fingered typing. When I went to get the papers this morning, I walked gingerly on the brick walkway, the site of yesterday’s fall. All went well.

Just before Thanksgiving never had the excitement of just before Christmas. In school we colored turkeys and cut out construction paper turkey tails we’d later glue to our papers though a few usually ended up stuck to our fingers. I hadn’t ever seen a real turkey, just pictures of one. My turkeys came in a package and were usually frozen. My mother always bought a huge turkey which fed us endlessly after the holiday. She’d put it in the blue, enamel roasting pot then into the oven where it would cook for hours. She’d baste it with its own juices, and she’d sneak a bit of the stuffing, the crusty part sticking out of the turkey. My mother made the best stuffing. The secret, but not such a big secret here in New England, was the Bell’s seasoning, which my sister and I still use. It comes in a small yellow box with a turkey on the front and is a combination of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, and marjoram. My mother would cook the onion and celery in butter then pour it on the bread, add milk and finally the Bell’s. I used to try to sneak a bit of the seasoned bread before it even went into the bird. It was delicious.

The house on Thanksgiving smelled the best it ever smelled. Every time my mother opened the oven more of that aroma would spread into the air and fill all of our senses. The turkey, when it was finished, was a beautifully browned masterpiece. My father always carved. He’d ask us what we wanted. We always said the white meat. When I was much older, I realized the dark meat was the best, moist and tasty. My father always took a leg. He’d cut what he could then he’d pick up the leg and eat the rest of the meat. When he was done, the leg was stripped clean, only bones and cartilage were left on the plate.

“Don’t assume you’re always going to be understood. I wrote in a column that one should put a cup of liquid in the cavity of a turkey when roasting it. Someone wrote me that ‘the turkey tasted great, but the plastic cup melted.’ “

November 21, 2014

Today is downright cold. The sun is shining but the light is weak and muted. The pine tree limbs in the backyard are swaying from the wind as are the dead leaves still hanging off the ends of branches. I had an early appointment and was out of the house before nine. It was 31˚. Now it is a lovely 34˚, basking weather, almost deck weather.

Yesterday I was a whirlwind of activity. Not only did I finish my four errands, but I also swept the kitchen floor, cleaned the top of the stove, dusted and polished a couple of tables and changed my bed. I was exhausted.

When I woke up this morning, Gracie was in a ball right beside my head and between the two pillows. I figured she must have gotten cold during the night, and I was warmth.

I remember well Thanksgivings when I was a kid. For some reason my mother was always up with the birds as she used to say.  She’d get busy making the stuffing first. I can still see her using her hands to mix the bread chunks with the other ingredients including Bell’s seasoning. Even now, all these years later, one sniff of Bell’s brings back my mother and all the turkeys of her lifetime.  She’d finish the stuffing then put it in the bird. My mother used a giant roasting pan which just fit into the oven. It was oval and blue with white specks. She’d put the turkey and the turkey neck into the pan then the pan went into the oven though sometimes my dad did the oven as the pan was too heavy for my mother. At nine we’d settle in to watch the Macy’s parade. My mother put out tangerines, mixed nuts and M&M’s for our watching pleasure.

It didn’t take long for the wonderful aroma of turkey to spread about the house. My mother, still in the kitchen, would start on the vegetables. Always we had mashed potatoes. I think it is against the law not to have them on Thanksgiving. Creamed onions, canned asparagus for my dad, green bean casserole and later the squash casserole, our all time favorite, would be prepared in no particular order. Before the big day my mother had made the pies: apple, lemon meringue and one more, usually pumpkin or custard. With the left over crust she’d make the turds as my dad called them which always made us laugh. They were rolled dough with cinnamon and sugar in the middle which had been baked in the oven.

I remember the kitchen windows covered with steam from all the cooking, the aromas of the different dishes and how special the whole day seemed.

I put out mixed nuts and buy tangerines. I watch the parade. I make a pie and this year I figure I’ll make some turds. My dad would be happy.

“I’m thankful for every moment.”

November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving is the least adorned holiday of them all. We don’t buy each other presents or decorate the house. There are no new outfits in spring colors. The highlight of the day is dinner and being together around the table as a family related by blood or friendship. Of all the holidays, it is the one in which we share so much in common. Traditional dishes unique to each family are served but so are turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy and all those pies. It is the time for us to remember the people we love who are no longer with us and to appreciate the ones who are. We give thanks for the good in our lives, the food on our tables and the glory of every day. We talk together and laugh together at dinner. We pass the rolls, the green bean casserole and the canned cranberry sauce with the ribbing. We eat until we can eat no more, but we leave plenty of leftovers. They are one of the best parts of thanksgiving. We finish by doing some cleaning up then relaxing in the living room until we have some room for dessert.

On Thanksgiving my sisters, who live far away, and I are connected not just by family but also by tradition: by my mother’s squash dish, a recipe she got from her sister, which was on our Thanksgiving table very year. It was passed to us and now had passed to a third generation. My mother’s recipe for stuffing fills all our turkeys. As for the pies: my mother made apple pie for my father. He always ate it with a slab of cheddar. The Lemon meringue was my favorite. Blueberry rounded out the pie selection.

I have baked my traditional offering: a chocolate cream pie, requested every year. Coincidentally my sister made one. It is not uncommon we are in the same wave length.

This morning I will watch the parade, the same as I have done as long I can remember. I’ll talk to my sisters to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. I won’t dress fancy for Thanksgiving, none of us really do. I’ll sit with my friends and enjoy every part of the day. I am thankful for the life I have been lucky enough to live, for the people I love and the people who love me. 

I am thankful for all of you, my Coffee family.

Happy Thanksgiving!