Monday, November 12, 2012
Grandma Carol - deer hunting Thanksgiving.
So here we are, just a week or so away from Thanksgiving Day. If there is a day when culture meets food in the U.S. it's Thanksgiving. Even here locally the traditions that have developed vary from family to family. When I was young, it was another day of hunting in the morning with my dad, grandparents and sometimes uncles or friends. Yes, I said grandparents, my grandmother was probably one of the most persistent and dedicated hunters you would ever meet
Many of my Thanksgiving tradition memories revolve around my grandmother. I don't know if I appreciated it at the time as much as I should have, but she always managed to put an amazing meal on the table, and still be out in the woods. The running joke for a while was that she started hunting so that she wouldn't have to be stuck at home by herself, getting a meal ready for when the hunters stumbled in at noon. Now, to be fair my mom was always around to help and in later years my wife was there also, although she also had the job of keeping track of my then very young sons. Even so, grandma always seemed to be able to run the show and get the meal out on time.
The meal in those days did vary, some of it depended upon how the different hunts had gone that fall. I remember wild goose, duck, wild turkey, domestic turkey, rabbit and even squirrel one year. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce would usually round out the main meal. Then came the pies, pumpkin, apple and, my favorite, custard.
The day would usually continue with watching football, often Packers and Lions it seemed. Maybe back to the woods for some end of the day hunting, or maybe falling asleep in a chair, waking up to have some leftovers, to find that grandma was already preparing something for us to take into the woods the next day.
These memories are awesome and, this time of year more than any other, bring back thoughts of the great times, and traditions of my grandparents. Even though it has been many years since the last time we had Thanksgiving in that little Wisconsin town of Marquette, the memories remain very fresh and maybe a little bigger and better than things really were. I could say that I really miss those times, and in a way I do. But, I have realized that culture and tradition have to evolve. No one can take away the memories that I have of those wonderful times, and they will always be with me.
We can't, however, live in the past. Our memories of our traditions should move us forward to create our own. Over the last several years I have had Thanksgiving meal at my home, with one exception when we spent a great time at my sisters in Ohio. I have come to love this, sometimes my mom is here, my sons (although they are starting to go their own way now), my wife, and a good friend or two. My tradition has become trying something new along with having some of the old standbys that my grandmother made.
So what are we having this year? I haven't decided yet. I'm sure it will be turkey, but I'm not sure the preparation method yet. I am getting ahead of myself, that is what my post later this week will be about.
What I do know is that I am looking forward to it, and I hope you are to. If you love to cook, this is the one chance to create a great feast and show your creativity in the kitchen, so go for it! Try something new, if nothing else you can look back in a few years and say "wow! remember when I tried to cook ________ for Thanksgiving?"
It will create a memory. And that is far more powerful than anything that you will put on the table. I know that is the case when I think back to Grandma Carol and deer hunting Thanksgiving.
Next time, back to some cooking
Stay hungry my friends