Thanksgiving Food

My recipe book was a Christmas present from my grandmother when I was eight years old, which I know because she had me write on a page in the back “This book was gifin to me by Granna Christmas 1983.” I still have the first recipe I wrote in it, on January 15, 1984. I was good at dating things once upon a time. It is the recipe for corn muffins from the back of the Quaker Oats cornmeal canister, and though I don’t make corn muffins using quite the same proportions any more (I add applesauce, for instance, to keep them moister longer), I keep it at the back of the book.

I also keep a great many other things in the book, and this evening, looking for the stuffing recipe my grandmother dictated to me before my twenty-ninth Thanksgiving, for which I decided to abandon my family and cook dinner for my boyfriend (a bad decision, in retrospect, but so it goes), I decided to try to sort through some of the mass of papers that have been shoved into it. Some were obvious keepers — the dittoed recipe for pancakes from my elementary school’s Pancake Day celebration, which I posted last year in a message to all the people on Facebook I went to grade school with ; the lemon-blueberry muffin recipe I love; the salmon with artichoke hearts and other good stuff recipe from my best friend. Others, however, mystify me.

3/4 cu butter
1 1/2 small onion
3 Tbsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
3/8 tsp red pepper
3/4 tsp ginger
3/8 cu sherry

It’s my handwriting, to be sure, but there’s no date, no indication of what one is to do with the ingredients. And really. 3/8 cup?

I also have a fairly recent piece of paper (it also bears no date, but it’s written on the back of a page from a George Carlin page a day calendar my cousin gave me a couple years ago, so it can’t be too old), with a series of dates, one circled, and some calculations, and the notation BRING CARDAMOM. As I’m writing this now, it occurs to me that it must be from the evening I was the guest chef at a sadly now closed local restaurant.

One can only assume that

1 gold delicious
1 macintosh or jonathan
peel, chop fine
3/4 cup water
heat low
2 tsp.s honey
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 ” white “

written in my childish handwriting, is the start of some sort of apply dessert (and why, pray tell, did I once favor golden delicious over Macintosh and Jonathan apples?). But what dessert is lost to history.

I spent this Thanksgiving, once again, with local friends, and I contributed the rolls from a 1940s cookbook that start with 1/2 lb. butter and the pumpkin pie recipe that my mother and I invented when I was in third grade. The recipes for both are dutifully entered into my recipe book, some years ago, in the case of the rolls at a time when I was heavily into decorative serifs. I had a lovely time with my friends, as always. We played a variety of dominoes that involves something rather worrisomely called a “Mexican train.” Sharon inadvertently used the term “Community Train” to refer to at one point, and we all adopted the term, with the requisite jokes that one makes in the company of other liberals in Wyoming (“the community train is doubtless the work of one of them community organizers!” “Yup, it’s the ACORN line!” “The public option!”). But there’s no way to make me homesick as quick as food. I’m waiting for my mostly improvised dressing to finish baking, so I can eat it along with some leftovers I brought home from yesterday and some Brussels sprouts I got for myself, since none of my friends like them. My family are all 1400 miles away, but their influence runs heavy in this recipe book, and in my life.

A Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

2 comments

  1. Brussels sprouts for people who think they don’t like them:
    -about a pound of B. S, trimmed, then slice thinly from North pole to South
    -about an equal quantity of onions, thinly sliced
    -some garlic, slivered or something
    -olive oil
    -salt

    Pour some olive oil in a shallow baking pan. Put the BS, onion, and garlic in, mix them up. Add a little more oil if you feel like it, but don’t over do.

    [supposed to be a thin layer, but it never is]

    put into a very hot over–400, 450–and stir around every 10-15 minutes until it’s soft, beginning to have brown bits.

    put some salt on sometime.

    Even people who don’t like BS (such as your cousin Ann) think this is pretty good. She even kept some of the leftover for herself. Males are mostly a lost cause if you’re talking veg.
    love, your Mom

  2. I’m considering adding some slices of a Granny Smith apple to the Brussel Sprouts & onion recipe. Gilding the lily? Today a different Grandmother Smith, daughter to Ingeborg, sang both very old as wellas more familiar songs. Christmas songs. It was glorious. I had no idea; it was overwhelming. I love you, you know. Gran