November 28, 2005

I'm All About Ritual

Well. Maybe not all about ritual, but I am quite attached to certain traditions. It's not like I'll go postal or even a tad postal if circumstances dictate a particular tradition cannot be observed. A pout, however, albeit momentary, is always possible. I remain civilized, flexible even, not unyielding to the winds of change. Yet I am a hell of a lot happier when things are as things are supposed to be. As things historically have been. Traditionally.

Take, for example, Thanksgiving dinner. I want turkey. I want cornbread dressing made from my grandmother's recipe. I want plenty of creamy rich gravy to pour over them. I want the cheesy asparagus casserole my mother has made for as long as I can remember. I want smooth cranberry sauce from a can, not that horrible stuff with orange peel and cranberry chunks in it.

I adore my mother. She humors me while pleasing herself. She likes the same things I do on our Thanksgiving table. She adds a menu item or so to those mentioned above but she never substitutes. Me, I usually don't eat those interloping visiting dishes. There's just not room on my plate.

My friend Tina and her family host a Thanksgiving After Thanksgiving gathering. While attendance is becoming traditional, I have no food rituals guiding what I consume at the event. This year, they served a turducken. As you can see from the photo, it resembles a deflated mass of boneless bird. Tucked inside is another boneless bird inside yet a third boneless bird. Who thinks of these things? It was tasty.

All hail the mad MS Paint skills employed to carefully mask the woman in the Vanna White pose. Her beauty is such as to blind you. Blind you, I say. You'll have to take my word for it. Word.



Gina said...

I'm not sure what I have to say about turducken, although I am sure your friend serves a lovely one.

After Thanksgiving dinner makes a whole lotta sense! That way you can celebrate with friends that were not able to attend the actual event day festivities.

Hmmmm, lately I have been reading lots of cool traditions from other people that are so good I am just going to wind up stealing them!

Although perhaps minus the turducken.

Anonymous said...

Liz here, from I Speak of Dreams.

I served a turducken last Christmas. The consensus was, good but not worth the "import tax".

This Thanksgiving we were down to just four people. Only one child (from three) -- my daugher. Three women: me, my daughter, and my stepsons' mother. The only man in the mix was my stepsons' stepfather. Well, we've been celebrating holidays together for twenty years. Sometimes the family you grow from scratch is more meaningful than the one you get from the vows.

At any rate, one of the requirements for OUR dinners-with-turkey is cranberry sauce from the can, WITH the ridges still intact.

OK, so now we have a sweet potato/yam question. If you serve candied yams, do you top them with marshmallows and (briefly) broil the dish?

The midwesterners I've questioned have never heard of such a thing; all native Californians I've asked have said, "hell, yeah!" (even those who serve sushi or guacamole as hors d'ouevres).

This year I was in charge of all the vegetable dishes. Instead of candied yams, I made a variation of the sweet potatoes and apples dish from the "Joy of Cooking" -- less sugar, less butter, lime juice instead of lemon, and guava juice for the added liquids. It was light and bright; I'll make it again. The daughter even said it was good enough for regular rotation.

The sole male in the entourage is the chief pastry cook. He made a chocolate-pumpkin pie that was really good. Essentially you add 4 to 5 ounces of grated chocolate to the spiced pumpkin mixture. He made a chocolate-graham-cracker crust; we agreed it would be more interesting with a traditional pastry crust, but maybe we'd need another taste-test to be really sure.

Anonymous said...


I just came in from walking my dog Sam. While we were walking, I started thinking about what I would cook for Thanksgiving from now on.

You see, I adopted two infants in June of this year. Brand, new babies from birth - and I just turned 51 last week.

I'm starting to think about creating memories and traditions for them, and Thanksgiving will be a biggie. Up until this year I have cooked the same things - Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing (pepperidge farm - don't have a cornbread dressing recipe), smooth cranberry sauce and tons of creamy gravey to pour over everything. Almost identical to your likes.

Anyway, I started thinking about my babies and the memories and traditions they will grow up with and call their own. Maybe, starting next year, I should fix a bigger spread every year with more variety and let them pick and choose their favorites and then recreate, incorporating their favorites, our Thanksgiving dinner tradition.

Just no Turducken or TofuTurkey, even though all they eat right now is organic baby foods. :)

By the way. I love the layout of your journal. I recently found it while I was searching for a nice layout for my own journal. I'm not good at html, so I figured I would find a layout I liked and then 'tweak' it to make it mine. So, that is what I did with yours. I hope you are not offended.

I also enjoyed the writing links you had in your journal. I am an aspiring writer, like yourself, and I loved the reference links and the November 'Write a novel in a month' thing. I'm going to give that one a 'go' next year.


weese said...

foul stuffed with foul stuffed with foul.
that is just...wrong.

WenWhit said...

In response to Liz's question, this native Texan also says "Hell yeah" to the marshmallows on the yams.