Yes, of course there is so very much to celebrate on a daily basis.
Waking up, for instance. Highly underrated.
Also the ability to walk about. Coffee (Or Mountain Dew, for those so inclined). The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth like the –– Wha?
Truth be told, I am grateful for this rich cornucopia of memory sending me so often off topic. Then I can loop it back again...
But tis actually the season for this sort of thing. Plus feasting.
Ah, feasting. We have missed a few years of Thanksgiving in the States. So the groaning board seems novel this year, despite its familiar elements.
And those less familiar ones. What I think of as the orphan dishes, left from another time, fossils of past iterations of the family.
You know to what I refer...the things made only for one Thursday in November (or maybe for a midwinter feast).
Perhaps enjoyed only by one of the people around the table, but it's the item that ensures that THIS is the feast of family tradition.
Oh, the outcry when an orphan dish is forgot!
Creamed pearl onions.
Ambrosia salad (aka white people soul food).
Baked quince custard –– or was it persimmon?
Let alone the vast category of foods Mr. Linton refers to, bracingly, as "wet breads."
What we might call in normal parlance, stuffing*.
Traditional sage stuffing, chestnut or pecan stuffing, cornbread-sausage stuffing. Be it ever so savory, we know it as "wet bread."
Wet breads. Gah.
*In strict honesty, I know some people make stuffing more often than once a year. I dated a boy who made StoveTop at least once a week. For himself. Still, there are stuffings and StoveTops, and the latter does not make or break Thanksgiving.
My childhood Thanksgivings –– set out on a white tablecloth, with my mom's Friendly Village dishes and the polished silver cutlery (I can still almost taste that odd polish-and-silver flavor. Yuck-yum) –– started for me with a series of sneak attacks on the pickle and olive plate.
She'd dash out from the kitchen and replenish the crystal dish with a sort of mock-annoyance. I might be adding the mock part.
Anyhow, Mumsie also served mincemeat pie. Hey, don't judge. It's like a spicy apple and raisin pie. She skipped the suet and beef component. As do I.
Anyhow, the single element that proved it was Thanksgiving in Mumsie's house? Oyster stuffing. Technically a wet bread, the recipe includes saltines, "dots of butter," oysters, milk, salt and pepper, all baked in a casserole.
Mumsie's cousin Shirley (Hi Shirley!) continues to make this family dish for Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania.
I haven't had the heart to make it –– or mincemeat for that matter –– absent my mom.
Well, that and my casein intolerance thingie. Making oyster stuffing my orphaned orphan dish.
One day, I imagine, the idea of a roasted turkey itself might seem quaint and Betty-Jo Crocker-ish.
If not, you know, for the oddity of roasting the flesh of a formerly living creature, than because the means of cooking seems so rustic and old-fashioned.
A couple of years ago, we switched over to deep-frying the birds. Nope, not greasy. And three minutes per pound!
Nowadays, we all show up at the family feast bearing our various contribution (pies from my kitchen) plus a whole uncooked turkey to take home.
The element of danger –– open flame! boiling oil! –– plays well with the boys, and there's zero squabbling over the leftovers.
Well, I promise to be thankful if I have the chance to see that.