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Thanksgiving - Past and Present

posted 11/19/2010 5:03:02 PM |
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At my group's festivities (we have done this for over 30 years) there are now about 20 people. I make my annual sojourn to the Houston area for this (everyone used to live up here). The women seat the kids and fix their plates first, then it is buffet style. Some mothers come first to sit at the table to watch the kids (I think it seats eight). Then the men come in next by order of seniority (I rate near the top) and we then take up positions on the sectional (it seats up to eight) for the Cowboys game that kicks off at 3:20 central. For the last three years it has been viewed on 60" HD TV. Everyone else fills in where ever they can.

Now my grandparents' gig was different. It really was kind of cool and formal. Allow that these were farm and ranch people that had gone through the Great Depression and in the lean years, that always scrimped and saved for this feast every year. Also allow that almost everything was home grown, homemade, or raised on the farm. Much of what wasn't had been mailed from relatives out of state. As much as possible that was served came from the family.

A empty plate would be passed to my grandfather who was carving. It was for the person on his immediate left. He would ask what they wanted: a slice of breast, leg, thigh, or wing. He served. Then the plate was passed to the right and everybody would pass their empty plate to the right. Every person had a dish in front of them that they would add to the plate that got passed to them. As they served, they looked to the person it belonged to see if they wanted more, less, or none. I almost always got to dole out the cranberry sauce, while my younger brother got rolls.

It was really cool how it was done with everybody participating communally. I think it created a bond. We also realized that despite the abundance in our lives at the time, that for our parents and grandparents life was tough but through hard work and sacrifice, they made a better life for us in the future.

They also insured that even during the darkest days of the depression that on this day of feasting was there an excellence that was open to anyone who came by to enjoy it. Back in the old days, the land owner rancher/farmer invited his hired help and their family to the dinner. Often, the land owner rancher/farmer provided the food for the help with families to prepare themselves, including homemade deserts by the wife of the land owner rancher/farmer.

Afterwards there were more desserts of all types then you can imagine. Often these came from neighbors. They shared. My grandmother would make strawberry rhubard pie and give to the neighbors. The neighboring farm had a lemon grove and Mrs. Cardiff would provide a lemon meringue pie, one of my favorites, I have never seen equalled.

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Nov 19 @ 5:54PM  
People each have their own way of doing things..........and probably because it was passed down thru the if the men ate first that's how it was thru the generations...........When we started having the Holidays at my sisters.........the little kids ate first..........they were the ones that couldn't fix their own plates......Than the adults...........than the teenagers............when dinner was done............the teenagers who have not done anything before we ate..........are then left to clean the dishes.........set the snacks out...........than the women will keep the snacks going and make sure the kitchen and/or dining room stays clean...........

We had a pot luck (or covered dish as it is called in some regions) whereas.....the person hosting the Holiday meal cooks the meat.......potatoes/gravy..........they will also make side dishes relish trays and desserts......but each family will also bring a side dish and a before it was done we usually had anywhere from 5 to 10 different sorts of desserts to include pumpkin pie to turtle sundae cheesecake........ I miss the days when all of the family was together and we had those big meals..........probably I miss the family time afterward where we sat and played cards or dice games, in the warmer weathers we played baseball or volley ball.......

Our family rather drifted apart when my brother-n-law........he was rather the tie that binds..........and the pain from losing him was brought more to the forefront when we would all get together........I guess in many ways the only way we could deal with it was not to have get together..........and now years later I think most of us regret that it happened but too late to make the changes.

Sorry didnt mean to hijack your blog bruce.

Nov 19 @ 6:45PM  
the little kids ate first..........they were the ones that couldn't fix their own plates..

That is how my group does it, though most of the kids are now teens or older. Usually the mother who had the most kids had to sit at the dining room table with the rug rats. The Gen Y generation isn't into offsprings, at least in my group. There is one girl in our group who chased men, caught kids, so her brats, her problem, she goes first. The key here is that most of the men are staunch Cowboy fans and kick off and turkey are at 3:00 Central, so the men gravitate to their seats in the living room to enjoy the game in wide screen HD.

the person hosting the Holiday meal cooks the meat.......potatoes/gravy..........they will also make side dishes relish trays and desserts......but each family will also bring a side dish and a before it was done we usually had anywhere from 5 to 10 different sorts of desserts to include pumpkin pie to turtle sundae cheesecake...

That is how we do it. I am the first out of town guest to arrive on Wednesday and Nancy, the lady of the house, and I go to lunch and then to the grocery and liquor store. I am the last to leave on Monday morning.

Our group, up to 30 people, bring things like pea salad, an alternate dressing, green bean casserole, baked ziti (an Italian thing), mac and cheese, and a wide array desserts.

My contribution is munchies rolled out for the Lions game at 11:00 our time including deviled eggs, chips/dips, mini wraps, etc. The host (Ed) and I get up at four to get the dressing made and my munchies launched. He actually makes it while I chop onions and celery. It is a damned good show!!! This is how we have done it for over three decades and we have the boogie down, through the whole weekend.

On Friday while the wives are doing the Black Friday thing, the guys go fishing and we always do very well. It is a long weekend of a lot football watching while gaming like dominoes and card games with camaraderie until the Sunday evening. Eat, drink, and be merry at its finest!

Now, if I can just figure out how to sell my house and use the proceeds to buy one 300 miles down there, Brucie will find his quality of life elevated and be a very happy guy!

Nov 19 @ 7:14PM  
Thanksgiving now is just immediate family at my parents house. Mom, Dad, both of my sisters, and my niece and nephew. Mom still makes all the goodies....and my sisters and I will chip in and help her out with the "smaller" things like the veggie tray and getting the plates out. Dad still carves the turkey. Then it's buffet style server yourself.

My sisters will sit in the kitchen and I'll be in the living room with Dad watching a football game. Mom will be sitting at the computer playing games on

Nov 19 @ 8:23PM  
This is the first year my daughter is prepairing the meal so who knows how it will turn out She a good cook ,her mother and grand mother taught her well. I;m sure it will be good and I hope it restarts a family thing! We haven't really gotten together for holiday meals sence my mon passed away 4 years ago.

Nov 19 @ 8:52PM  
My oldest granddaughter just found out what venison is and is shocked that we eat Bambi for holidays around here. I can't put out the fry bread until everyone has their food or there will not be any left to eat with the meal. I usually do most of the cooking and what we have depends on what my friends managed to hit while hunting and traded for cooking herbs or what I grew myself and put in the freezer.

It is going to be weird only having 6 people for the holidays this year. After lunch we are going to the rehabilitation center and put up a Christmas tree and decorate my mother's room. On the way we will drop off a plate to my daughter who has to work every holiday.

Nov 19 @ 10:03PM  
That's the one thing I hate about being so far from my family.. Holiday dinners without em.. sigh. Course back in the day we always had fresh elk roast as the men had just gotten back from hunting in the Eagle Caps... sigh.

Nov 19 @ 10:30PM  
I used to really love Thanksgiving. Now it's just another day. Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October...instead of the 4th Thursday in November. I sometimes drive across the US/Canadian border on Thanksgiving at a local restaurant in Washington...and then stay overnight in a hotel. I then wake up very early on Black Friday...and take part in some very serious shopping.

In years past...I have gone all out and made a big Thanksgiving dinner on both of the Thanksgiving holidays. Unfortunately...that seems to be fading away as me and my son are the only ones who are really gung ho about continuing to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner in November.

I'm afraid it's become more about the shopping in the last decade because of where I live. That's kind of sad because the shopping used to be a secondary perk occurring after the main event. This definitely gives me pause...and makes me wonder as to how I can turn things around. my circle...Canadian Thanksgiving just isn't as big of a deal as it is in parts of the U.S.

Dec 6 @ 9:38AM

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Thanksgiving - Past and Present