Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving memories

Just a few thoughts this morning before I launch myself into preparing the meal we will have later today and then clean up the mess I make.

Part of the Thanksgiving tradition when I was growing up was that the first thing in the morning, my dad and I made the cranberry relish for the dinner. Both of us were usually the first out of bed, so this was sort of our private time together.

We had a metal food grinder that clamped to the kitchen counter somehow. The cranberries, oranges, and probably apples, went in the hopper, and we'd turn the handle and out would come the cranberry mush.

I loved the popping sound of the cranberries as the auger pushed them through the holes at the end. Bloated ticks also make a similar satisfying popping sound when squeezed with a pair of pliers.

Then some sugar was added to it, but not too much. That cranberry relish was one of my favorite things to eat at the meal.

For the first Thanksgiving we celebrated here, I had to cook most of the meal in the kitchen of the church we were attending, because our stove had quit working, and we hadn't gotten a replacement yet. It was a cold, windy, overcast day. I remember how difficult it was trying to carry all the food back and forth between our house, the church, and then back home a gain.

Then, in connection with turkeys. When my mother was a teenager, she spent one summer with her uncles who lived in a farming community near Sacramento. She met a girl there who she remained friends with most of her life, and when we went to visit our relatives in Yuba City, we often went to visit this family on their farm. I remember one visit they had a big turkey gobbler loose in the yard. It was mean, and it chased us.

We see wild turkeys every once in a while.

They are magnificent birds, and bear only a passing resemblance to the factory farm turkeys that are raised now. They can fly, for one thing, and they can do the deed and actually reproduce themselves without help. Ben Franklin thought the turkey should be the national bird. I agree.

1 comment:

Lil Sis said...

I have the same good memory of helping with the cranberry relish. Cranking the handle and hearing the cranberries pop was so much fun. By the way: He did great getting everything cooked and ready to serve. Once Andy & I got there we took over. Good ole Dad... Mom looked great too. I'll send a picture soon.