Traditions in my family have changed a lot over the years. The earliest Thanksgivings I remember were at my Grandparents’ home in South Pasadena. Grandma cooked the turkey, my mom and aunt helped with the side dishes, Grandpa carved and we ate the feast at an elegantly set table in the dining room. My sister and I were never allowed to wash or dry dishes because we might have broken the China. (Do you think our feelings were hurt?)
|This was at my mom's on Thanksgiving morning, a long time ago.All the kids in picture are now grandparents.|
At some point the holiday gathering changed to my parents’ home and as I remember it was after I was married. The dining room was smaller, but we managed to fit everyone around the table. My dad carved the turkey and yes, my sis and I were not only allowed to dry the dishes, but wash them too.
I remember one Thanksgiving that I had at our home in Oxnard. No way could our big family fit in our small dining alcove so the tables were set up in the living room. I’m sure I cooked the turkey and perhaps my dad did the carving since he was the “expert”. What I do know is my aunt brought her wonderful green beans (not the casserole that’s so popular these days but fresh green beans cooked with bacon and fresh mushrooms.) She also brought the candied sweet potatoes—no one could make them like she did.
My grandparents, parents and aunt have all passed on. My sister now lives in Las Vegas with most of her large family and I’m here in the foothills of California with part of my even larger family. Usually the dinner is at our house because the dining room is bigger with a large round table, and if there are more than 12 we can set up another table nearby.
We’ve had many people joining us for Thanksgiving dinner over the years. Many of the traditions have changed. Because there are so many and I don’t want to spend the whole time in the kitchen, I serve the meal buffet style with paper plates.
Different members of the family bring something. This year, my daughter will do the potatoes—mashed and sweet potatoes. I cheat and buy the turkey gravy in the jars—it tastes much better than mine. I’m going to make the green bean casserole everyone wants these days. I always make the dressing and will again. One of my granddaughters will make the pear, cream cheese and green Jell-O that was always my mom’s contribution. We’ll have store bought rolls, lots of olives and pickles, and I’ll make some chocolate pies and probably buy some others.
Joining hubby and me this year will be our son, my daughter and her hubby, their daughter (our granddaughter) and her hubby, their three teenagers ( our greats) and the three young men who live at their house one is another grown grandson who belongs to our youngest daughter, a young man who was a foster kid and had nowhere to go when he aged out of the system, and another young man whose step-mother decided she didn’t want him around anymore. (He’s still in high school.) Needless to say my granddaughter and her husband are big-hearted.
I know I don’t need fancy place settings, just lots of good food for this crowd.
|In 2011 we broke tradition and went to another daughter's for Thanksgiving, hubby and I are on the end, right side.|
After we’ve eaten, those who want can watch football games, the rest of us will play Estimation—the card game my mother and father loved to play—and has continued on as a Thanksgiving tradition.
So what about the rest of you, anyone else have some non-traditional traditions?