Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly(ish) feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food.
Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.
Like many folks, I love Thanksgiving. LOVE. It's simply about food and family with no rushing around buying gifts, no month-long list of activities that generally results in some of stress or guilt.
Unfortunately, my family does not come from a long line of spectacular food traditions. We do the basics, the usual dishes -- most of those dishes arrive at the banquet half-warm after having sat in a car for a minimum of 30 minutes. And I am fine with that -- I love a simple plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. Of course, I have to bring Average Jane's Cranberry sauce because canned cranberry sauce will not suffice since I discovered how easy this sauce is to make. And I also bring Mrs. CPA's Funeral Corn (truth be told, I've made Funeral Corn just to eat all regular, non-holiday like. For a little "snack". YUM.) And! Either my Aunt Joan or I will make her delicious Weird Whipped Cream Cranberry Salad. I love cranberries so much that I actively look forward to the mouth sores I get after 2 straight days of eating them. This is the one dish that I truly associate with all of my childhood Thanksgivings -- the salad is sweet and I always felt I was getting to sneak in a little early dessert under my parents' noses.
When I was a kid, we would pack my grandma's house from the basement to the rafters for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the years, we have outgrown that house and now we rent a community hall in a nearby town for Thanksgiving. Easily, 40 of us arrive. Some years more, some years less. It is not warm or cozy as someone's house, but we ALL get to be together for the holiday and that is all we care about. Although, for Christmas, we do separate off into our smaller family groups. Not coincidentally, the quality of the food rises significantly (look for a post on how I am getting serious about Christmas Dinner this year. SERIOUS, y'all.)
So, even though the Thanksgiving food in my family is not all that great, I still look forward to that tepid gravy smothering spoonfuls of cold, mushy stuffing. I am thankful for the opportunity of just hanging out with my dad's side of the family. My grandma's generation is slowly passing away and each year, I choose to cherish the folks who are still with us to celebrate.