Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving History and what it means to me

“The first Thanksgiving was celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Indians in 1621.That first feast was a three day affair. Life for the early settlers was difficult. The fall harvest was time for celebration. It was also a time of prayer, thanking God for a good crop. The Pilgrims and the Indians created a huge feast including a wide variety of animals and fowl, as well as fruits and vegetables from the fall harvest. This early celebration was the start of today's holiday celebration. Like then, we celebrate with a huge feast.”

Today, most of us enjoy Turkey with all those yummy trimmings. The "trimmings" in my family grew up include a wide variety of foods that are a tradition for our family. Mom worked hard in the kitchen with all of us girls helping by her side. Turkey or Prime Rib was the meat of choice, fixed with her famous green beans smothered in a ham hawk and slow cooked, brown sugar glazed carrots, mashed potatoes (the best way, HOMEMADE), 24-Hour Salad that was layered up the night before and mixed before serving (got to get her to let me post this recipe because it is AWESOME), olive and pickle tray complete with black and green olives (that my hands are in way before dinner is served) and dill and sweet pickles, homemade cranberry sauce and the can crap that me and my sisters loved so much, yeast rolls where common unless prime rib was served and we had Yorkshire pudding. Then, to top it off, pumpkin pies, apple pies, an even the occasional cherry pies are bountiful around our table. On occasion my Grandmother would serve her banana pudding with wafer cookies and the grin on my grandfather’s face when he scarfed his serving was priceless.

Did you know? Potatoes were not part of the first Thanksgiving. Irish immigrants had not yet brought them to North America. Poor things because potatoes in my household are common at most every meal!

Now, growing up with 3 older sisters, we had a large house hold. Mom was an amazing cook and always made sure our family sat at the table each night and enjoyed a home cooked meal. Thanksgiving was anything, but boring. Imagine my grandparents or other family members visiting, men watching football and the woman cooking in the kitchen. My dad however was always the meat guy. He really enjoyed taking part in the kitchen and his love for grilling in -0 Degree temps when snow is falling from the sky like a rainstorm was to top the charts.

I don’t think a holiday in my family home would have been complete without one of us girls arguing with the other, but the bonds we have as adults are worth it all. I have 3 very unique sisters and would trade any of them for the world.

So to me, Thanksgiving tops my charts for one of my favorite holidays – Even though for 12 or so years I was always stuck at the kids table (darn my luck being the youngest). Now as an adult, having the family around the table and the wine flowing, the laughter and chatter just reminds me how lucky I am.

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