When I was little, we lived next door to my grandparents for awhile. On Thanksgiving, I remember traipsing the few hundred yards over to watch my grandma and mom in the kitchen, the sound of parades and football blaring, and begging, sometimes successfully, to play my uncle’s Atari or Nintendo.
As dinner time approached, I vividly recall hanging out on the floor near my grandparent’s bar–a huge wood and leather piece, piled high with mail and receipts and heaven knows what else, though not, to my child’s memory, actual alcohol. I would sit strategically near the bar and the doorway to the kitchen, with eagle eyes on the cutting board as my grandfather carved the bird with an electric knife. Sometimes, he would share a morsel.
I flashed on this vision today as I spent a few hours in my mom’s kitchen. Together we prepared pies–apple crumb, lemon chess, and chocolate cream–as well as pecan pie cookies. As we cooked, we chatted about life and work, made fun of the cooking show hosts in the background, and gently argued about whether or not to baste the bird. I chopped pecans, cracked eggs, zested lemons and cut discs out of pie dough while she stirred pudding, rolled dough, and spooned filling into cookie cups.
Even as we disagreed about how long the cookies should bake, I thought about how grateful I am to have time together. I love my mom’s enthusiasm for her favorite holiday and her eagerness to spend days preparing a feast for family and friends. I even appreciate (and completely identify) with her bossiness in the kitchen. I definitely know where my right way to do things comes from. More than anything, I loved creating happy new Thanksgiving memories.
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