Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sweet, Sweet Gluttony (Some Random Notes on Thanksgiving)

I have accepted the fact that nothing will ever taste as good as my mother's cooking. It might be delicious, but if it's not the way she did it, IT IS WRONG.

When I called my ninety-year-old grandmother to ask if she could give me her recipe for sweet potatoes with the marshmallow melted across the top, because I love the way she makes them and wanted to celebrate her with every sweet, delicious bite, she snorted. At me. "I don't know about any RECIPE," she said. Her tone suggested that even the use of the word "recipe" tagged me as both snooty and useless, and the fact that I thought I NEEDED a recipe? Clearly, I had failed her. "Take a coupla sweet potatoes, mash them up. Then throw some marshmallows on top. No RECIPE required." And then she hung up.

I don't care if you think creamed onions are disgusting. Of course they're disgusting; they're CREAMED ONIONS and are by definition disgusting. I LOVE THEM ANYWAY.

If there isn't a green bean casserole with fried onions on top, it might be a feast, but it's not Thanksgiving. This is non-negotiable.

One Thanksgiving when I was in England (and thus the only celebration in town that year, for obvious reasons) my college friend and I spent about an hour attempting to make said green bean casserole, with little success. My mother swanned off a plane, ignored her jet lag, took immediate control of my kitchen, and sorted out everything else from the turkey to the pie without seeming to break a sweat. The only mediocre dish? The beans, of course, which the two of us managed to ruin. It shames me even now.

Why are pastries universally translated as love with confectioner's sugar?

It is not coincidental that as dark comes sooner and everything gets colder, we have eating holidays. In fact, I usually give up shortly after the Halloween candy coma, and eat straight on through until January 2nd, when I roll myself into the bathroom, get on the scale, and vow that THIS TIME I will get into bikini shape for summer OR DIE TRYING. But January 2nd is some time and many cookies away!

Homemade gravy makes the travel, petty arguments, and longwinded drunken stories well worth it.

Most people I know have already started baking. And then plan to spend most of Thursday morning on the phone with their mothers, getting help and running up their long-distance bills trying to determine when they should baste.

Happy eating, people, if you're celebrating this week.

(And if you're not celebrating Thanksgiving, you could always go and see Pride & Prejudice several more times. I believe yummy Mr. Darcy qualifies as dessert...)


Julie Anne Long said...

Megan, you goose!! Did you read my newsletter, where I talked about creamed onions?? Does everyone have creamed onions on Thanksgiving?? I actually love them, truthfully, but Lord knows I've never had them -- or seen them -- any other time or place than the Thanksgiving table.

Green been casserole...yum! Sweet potatoes with butter and salt...cranberry sauce shaped like a can...stuffing with at least one or two unidentifiable ingredients. That's Thanksgiving!

Have a great one! I'm going to try to see that bloody movie. :)

Michelle said...

Megan, you do have a way with words that makes me laugh. You should be a writer, maybe.

Have a great Thanksgiving, you Yankees. We got ours over with last month.

Desperate Writer said...

How funny! I had a client today, an elderly woman residing in a retirement community, who said her friends all snickered at her because she still used RECIPIES. And they way she talked, it was like it was a failing that she still had to use them. :) My 94 year old grandmother is famous for her sugar cookies. She can rattle off to me what to put together to make them, and I almost have it memorized myself. She might not remember a lot of day to day things, but you ask about her nursing career in Labor & Delivery or about her recipies, and she's right on.

Diane Perkins said...

Megan, my sister informed me that she is not using the family stuffing recipe this year. Gasp! My heart! Think I'll have to go see P&P a fifth time to calm down....

Megan Crane said...

We had the green bean casserole, so all was well, despite a shocking lack of creamed onions. (Julie: I didn't read your newsletter, but I will now! Bring on the creamed onions!!)

Since it's Friday, I plan to eat leftovers until I pop. Which should be soon, given yesterday's gluttony...!