Celebrating A Thanksgiving Memory - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 290277

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating a Thanksgiving Memory 
Nov. 21, 2012 9:55 am 
Updated: Nov. 26, 2012 7:08 pm

I was married for 24 years and had two almost grown children before I ever cooked a big holiday meal. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would alternate from my parents' home to my in-laws'. Until 1998. My daughter was a junior in college and my son was a senior in high school. The day before Thanksgiving, our 17 year old football playing son came down with a case of the chicken pox! We immediately canceled our plans to go to the in-laws because we didn't want to expose an already ill father-in-law to the chicken pox or shingles virus.

With the help of the kids and numerous phone calls to my mother and my mother-in-law, I made out my grocery list. This Thanksgiving could be no different from every other one we had spent at the grandparents' home. All the traditional foods had to be made, even though we were only serving four people! We had to have Ma's sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie. Call Meemaw to see how to cook the turkey and dressing. We always have broccoli salad and corn and lima beans. What about the coconut pound cake and Jell-o salad and rolls? My children insisted everything be the same.

Could I do this? It was the day before Thanksgiving, for Pete's sake! Not many turkeys left in the grocery case. The fresh broccoli didn't look quite so fresh. Where were those red hots for the salad? The grocery store was a madhouse of people rushing around buying last minute items for their meal while I had a cart full.

I spent two days prepping and cooking and baking enough food to feed an army. But my children insisted that since we couldn't actually be with family, we had to have the meal we had always been served. They had no clue that I had no clue how to do this. I had never made dressing! I didn't even know the recipe for the broccoli salad! Why was I having to cook the coconut pound cake longer than the directions? I had never browned sugar in a cast iron skillet for the butterscotch pie! I called my mother-in-law 3 times about that pie. Finally, I just kept her on the phone while I made the entire thing. 

And you know what? That Thanksgiving meal turned out perfect! The turkey was perfectly browned, the dressing was okay but has since been replaced by one we like better, the sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie and coconut cake have now become our tradition, we gave thanks for God's goodness to us, and the Thanksgiving meal is now celebrated at my house every year. Yep, we liked it so much, we decided to stay home and invite everybody to our house now. The grandmothers seemed to be relieved that the next generation was taking over the cooking and have gladly come here every year since. 

Nov. 21, 2012 10:13 am
There's nothing like jumping into the cooking fire,,sink or swim! You swam away with the prize,,wonderful memories. Congratulations.
Nov. 21, 2012 11:06 am
Great story, Paula. Thank the Lord at all times for family, memory and tradition! Love the new avatar!
Nov. 21, 2012 12:21 pm
Did the father-in-law not already have chicken pox? if so not sure it would have done him any harm.
Nov. 21, 2012 2:07 pm
Wonderful story Paula,glad it worked out for you.Have a great Thanksgiving.
Nov. 21, 2012 2:26 pm
Paula, you and I some very similar stories...but gal you hit the ball out of the ball park. Nice blog, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Nov. 21, 2012 2:29 pm
Hi Paula! You jumped in with both feet that year. I'm so glad it worked out for you and that it started a tradition. Thanks for sharing.
Nov. 21, 2012 2:43 pm
Wow that is a ton of work for such short notice. I'm so glad it turned into a wonderful new tradition of dinner at your house. My first year of cooking I was in highschool. My mom had a hysterectomy and was still on bed rest. It turned out fine but I was so thankful she was there so I could run and ask her anything I needed to know. Thanks for sharing your memory with us.
Nov. 21, 2012 3:00 pm
Love your story. We have gone from 18 at my Mom's to just 7 at my house. I still make the same amount of food that my Mom did! Thanksgiving blessings to all!
Nov. 21, 2012 5:04 pm
Thats great that you were able to pull things together like that! What a wonderful memory!
Nov. 22, 2012 12:02 am
You are truly an amazing woman Paula. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones on this very special holiday. XO
Nov. 22, 2012 7:43 pm
Great story! Glad you get to make the dinner now. Most of the time the Grandma's are more than ready to pass the turkey torch.... sometimes they don't want to appear as if they can't do it any longer... and are happy to have the burden off their shoulders (even though they may protest for a short minute or two). Sounds like you have happily taken that "torch" and successfully run with it!!
Nov. 23, 2012 7:06 pm
Paula, that's fantastic that you accomplished all that in such a short time. I'm glad everything worked so beautifully for you.
Nov. 26, 2012 7:08 pm
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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