She would make the pies the day before. The filling was irrelevant, it was the curst that everyone savored. They said that her crust had the touch of an angels hands; it would melt in your mouth.
She would get up Thanksgiving morning before the sun rose. When I would offer to come over early in the morning to help she would tell me that she enjoyed preparing the meal by herself. By the time I arrived to help the aromas would be wafting from the open windows. The rolls would be sitting white and fluffy waiting to be put in the oven, the giblets would be on the stove simmering so they could be added to the gravy. The cranberry sauce would be cooling in the refrigerator. The white potatoes would be sitting in their water on the stove and the yams were in their baking dish waiting for an available space in the oven.
She would have every facet of the dinner under control, everything created with her expertise and talent.
My father would wander in the kitchen every once in a while and ask if he could help, but he knew the answer before he asked. His job was to set up the tables, spread the white linens, and assign the chairs their proper placements.
My mother's Thanksgiving guests often numbered over twenty. She opened her house and her heart on the holidays. Before everyone took their seat at the table she would come from the kitchen and ask us to hold hands. Then she would tell every one us of how much we meant to her, and how thankful she was that we were a part of her life. My father would hold the hand of the woman that had worked all day preparing this meal and he would have tears falling from his chin. After my mother had finished speaking my father would say the blessing. Then the turkey would be brought to the table. Amid much teasing and laughing my father would carve the turkey, and that is when my mother would sit down in the chair closest to the kitchen door. She would sit there and watch as everyone enjoyed the meal that she had put so much energy into making. She would chat, smile, laugh, pass dishes of food from one side of the table to the other, but not once did I ever see her eat.
I used to worry about that until I came to the realization that she derived her enjoyment of the meal from watching those she loved relishing what she had created.
One thing she did do every single year until it became a tradition .... she would be sitting there laughing and my father would look up from his meal and say, "Bonnie did you leave something cooking in the kitchen. I smell something burning."
Then she would jump up and and yell, "Oh damn, the rolls are in the oven. I've burned them again!"
My son's favorite memories of Thanksgiving's past is the burned rolls. What would a Thanksgiving dinner be without the lingering smell of burned bread.
This group I live with loves turkey. We have it every few months during the year, so a traditional turkey dinner is not a wondrous meal for them. I am cooking a turkey, and although they're pleased with that they're very blase.
What really has them drooling with anticipation is what a local restaurant is offering. It seems that John was reading the paper last week and found a wonderful bargain. A fully cooked 'Prime Rib' meal. Everything you ever wanted to eat plus a prime Prime Rib. John took his exciting find to the rest of the family and they were so impressed they pooled their resources to invest in this latest culinary adventure.
Hey, although I cant eat it I think this idea is great! All I'll have to do is heat the whole meal up, plop it onto a platter and watch them dig in .... while I wait for the rolls to burn.