Thanksgiving hovers, marking the coming of winter holidays. We salivate at the anticipation of traditional holiday dishes, unique to each family. Our family gathering is a conglomeration of traditions from New York to California with a large dose of the Midwest. We will meet to celebrate in Phoenix, at my nephew’s home. Over 30 of us.
Blue Boy is having his wisdom teeth removed earlier in the week, but agreed to the procedure as long as he can eat the stuffing. Mowgli may grab rolls. I love turkey, dressing, and a small amount of mashed potatoes with a side of sweet potatoes, all covered with my sister-in-law’s mother’s gravy.
In our Midwest home, the only meal we called dinner was Sunday at noon, after church. Evening weekday meals were supper. Gravy appeared on the table almost every week with dinner, which alternated between fried chicken and pot roast. As our health consciousness rose and our activity decreased, we cast aside comfort foods.
Except for Thanksgiving. A text thread to plan the menu affirmed that the traditional green bean casserole is anticipated, heavy on the cream, cheese, and crunchy onions; light on the beans.
The epitome of decadence, though, is the gravy. The recipe calls for hours of simmering the oils and drippings from the baked fowl. The livers ground into almost imperceptible size are cooked in to add thickness and a rich flavor, like no other gravy I have ever sampled. If it becomes too thick, more drippings are added, not water. Truly worth the risk of clogged arteries.
One day. But a day that sets into motion a month of holiday merry-making and gluttony. While my appetite has decreased with age, my body defending itself against the onslaught of calories, my palate is more discriminating. If I am going to eat a cookie, it must be the best. Well, maybe not. I eat any quality of cookie. But gravy. No, it must be the best. It’s only once a year.