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Thanksgiving Time with Mother – Precious Memories…

UPDATE: 10:00 AM 12/1/2008 PST

It's the Holidays... shortbreads, scones, mini-mincemeat pies...s

It's the Holidays... shortbreads, scones, mini-mincemeat pies...

Thanksgiving has come and gone once again in the United States… the holiday that officially ushers in the winter holiday season.It’s all about Native Americans, Pilgrims, and the most traditional of favorites to eat. Scrumptious things whose delicious memories are enhanced with the sweet wonderment of a child’s reminiscence.

Mother was SUCH a cook – Oh-me Oh-my… Those were the days! Why is it that I don’t think I’ll EVER be able to create the festivity and joy that she did? Just different times?

Do generations past fade away, new memories replacing old?

Mother would really set such a table with lovely silverware and tons of goodies. My Dad would manage the bar and regale family and friends with fascinating conversations.

There was the pleasant clink of glasses filled with drinks from the days of old like Martinis, Gimlets, Old Scotch… Drinks over the Rocks, Shaken or Stirred. For us children, there were floating punch bowls, fresh squeezed orange juice, chocolate milk.

 Help yourself and make yourself at home! We' re so glad you're here.

Help yourself and make yourself at home! We' re so glad you're here.

Mother would really set such a table with lovely silverware and tons of goodies. Dad would manage the bar and regale family and friends with fascinating conversations. There was the pleasant clink of glasses filled with drinks from the days of old like Martinis, Gimlets, Old Scotch… Drinks over the Rocks, Shaken or Stirred. For us children, there were floating punch bowls, fresh squeezed orange juice, chocolate milk.

And the hors-d’oeuvres

We kids would run around and play in the lovely carefree way that only kids seem to do with such happy abandon. Then, we’d be called to dinner to sit at the children’s table. Sometimes, we would be allowed to sit at the adults’ table as long as we maintained our best behavior.

It was such an honor to be considered big enough!

Everybody was warm and friendly… and then there were lots of candles and beautiful centerpieces. All the colors were Fall and Autumn – gold, russet, reds, yellow, oranges, rust and rich browns.

Mother would always seem to serve the following:

Hors d’Oeuvres
• Canapes of myriad sort
• Stuffed Eggs
• Platters of Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
• Small Toasts with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Dill
• So many varieties of Crackers!
• Cheeseballs rolled in Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamias…
• All Types of Chips and Dips (Kids’ Favorite!)
• Chicken Liver Pate with butter and Worcestershire Sauce
• Caviar… only if you feel like splurging!

Interesting Note: These tiny, pearlescent Eggs of the Sea are often served quite salty; therefore you must use lots of Creme Fraiche, chopped egg and onion to compensate.

The most prized varieties of caviar are without any salty flavor whatsoever; instead, they are imbued with a rather a light rich, unctuous, buttery melt-in-your-mouth flavor and texture. Such caviar has the whisper of a fresh ocean breeze, just the merest, perfect sea flavor. Some varieties are slightly nutty, others, smooth, silky delicate.

Perhaps the addictive quality is due to the sweet salt aftertaste that leaves you wanting more. Imagine the finest lobster or crab, and you will notice there is no fishy taste or smell. Such it is, with the finest caviar. Perhaps that is why the best caviars were the food of kings.

One of the most famous connoisseurs of caviar was Marilyn Monroe. It is rumored that she would live for days on a sole diet of vintage champagne and Beluga caviar. Golden caviar was very prized – it is very rare, almost nonexistent, now.

The Baluga whale is an all white, beautiful creature with a sweet, mild temperament and gentle demeanor. He is not the source of Baluga caviar. Rather, the source is the Baluga Sturgeon.
For a mere thousand or two dollars, you can purchase a lovely little (very little) selection of quality caviar samplings including Royal Ossetra, Royal Sevruga, Alverta, USA Royal Transmontanus and Royal Baerii.

With a lovely threepack of fine wine for five hundred dollars more, you can have a delectable holiday hors-d’oeuvre treat for under $3000.00. As for us, we’ll pass this time, thank you very much. Budgetary constraints, you see…

Despite caviar’s unique and exotic sea flavor, there are many other delicacies for mere pennies that truly compete for sheer pleasure and yummy deliciousness.

Soups and Salad
• Creamy Cheesy Broccoli Soup
• Home Made White and Red Clam Chowders
• Homemade Chicken Soup with Wide Noodles
• Delicious Salad with Iceberg and Romaine Lettuces, Tomatoes, Red Onions, Slivers of Carrots, Radishes, Boiled Egg
• The Most Delicious Coleslaw with Fresh Horseradish
• Dressings were always the same: Homemade Italian, Ranch or Blue Cheese

Main Courses
• Turkey and Stuffing with Walnuts, Pecans, Onions, Celery, Homemade Bread Cubes. So flavorful!
• Baked Ham Embedded Cloves, Deep Golden Brown with Brown Sugar, Molasses and Pineapple. Soooo melt
in your mouth, tender and Sweet! Note: Be sure to buy free range naturally fed pork! Good for you!
• Roast Beef – Rare and Medium Rare. Garlic would be stuffed into into little slots, and the Pepper Crust was Perfect.
• Cornish Game Hens Broiled with Butter, Salt and Pepper
• Home Made Macaroni and Cheese – Just Macaroni, Butter, and Lots of Melted Cheese Baked with Buttery Crisp Breadcrumbs
• Bubbly Baked Macaroni and Cheese With a Dash of Madeira Wine Sauce

Vegetables and Fruits
• Corn on the Cob
• Peas, Carrots and Corn with Tiny Bits of Pimento and Pearled Onions
• Pickled Beets, Hot Buttery Brussel Sprouts…
• Sweet Potatoes – when they’re they’re steamy sweet, they’re BETTER than candy
• Yams and Marshmallows – A silky confection rather than a vegetable… should be packaged and sold at theaters
• Golden Squash – mere touch of butter, sometimes cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
• Green Beans and Fried Onions – no Mushroom Soup – Instead, Home Made Butter Cream Sauce with Translucent Onion Bits
• Green Beans with Muesli and Toasted Almonds
• Golden Roasted Potatoes with Parsley, Scalloped Potatoes bubbly with Cheese, Fried Potato Puffs so Light and Airy
• Mashed Potatoes with Milk and Butter and Gravy from the Drippings
• Tiny Red, Gold and White Potatoes, Turnips and Rutabagas, Steamy, Glistening, Tender
• Cold Sweet Fresh Fruit Salad with Apples, Pears, Bananas, Oranges,Tangerines and Cherries

• Home Made Sweet Corn Bread and Baking Powder Biscuits – so tender and flaky
• Dinner Rolls Wrapped in White Linen Towels

• Dill and Sweet Pickles, Cranberry Relish Tall Tubes of Jelled Cranberries fresh and cold from the can (yes, the Can –
so much yummier than the compote!)

The Pies! And, Dessert!
• Then, there were the pies with Ice Cream… Mother made so many flavors! Always the standards:

Both Apple Crumb
Apple Betty
Regular Apple
Sweet Potato
Lemon Meringue
Key Lime

All from Scratch!


Mother would always make tons of cookies and send them to friends and relatives during the holidays. They were delicious… infinitely better than storebought. I have tried to make some cookies that taste the same, but so far, no luck… do you think my boxed mixes just aren’t as good as Mother’s sifted flour and fresh butter?? Hmmm….

Mother’s Cookie List
• Almond Butter Wafer Lace Cones (Heavenly! – butter and almonds in a delicate lacy cone – OMgsh to die-t for…
• Refrigerator Cookies with Walnuts (Yes! She put them in the fridge to harden…)
• Chocolate Chip – Ooodles of Bittersweet chocolate bits for gooey gooey goodness.
• Shortbread with Nuts (forget the nuts – just shortbread please… so incredible)
• Old Fashioned Oatmeal with Raisins – Can’t find any to compete with Mother’s… hers were oats, brown and white sugar, butter, flour, raisins, real vanilla, dash of salt… and baking soda.
• Shortbread with Jam
• Assorted Other Cookies
• Fudge – 1 fudge will sustain you for a week. : )
• Brownies – oh so the best. The chewier, the better!

Note: Now that I think about it, Mother’s cooking was prodigious. At the time, I was so totally unimpressed. Mother would disappear into the kitchen, and a little bit later a massive dinner would don the table, cookies and pies would magically appear on the counters, and the kitchen would be spotless.

Now that I’m old enough to do everything myself, I marvel… simply marvel. Mother came from a different world in the East Coast. (I’m West Coast!) Someday, I will go back there and see if I can find anyone like Mother. I will let you know my adventures…” : )

Thought: Do you think the fact that Mother “Sifted Everything” is one of her secrets?? I don’t know… No cookie I’ve ever had has been as delicious. Do you think I’m biased? nonono – not me…
Eskimo Pies & Flaming Jubilee
Dad loved Eskimo Pies… We would laugh just to watch him eat them! He so savored them! We would have them all during the holidays!
Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Cake. Incredibly Delicious. (Chocolate Wafer cookies upright in a box cake smothered with Chocolate, Vanilla or Coffee Ice Cream)

And – for the Piece de Resistance, Dad would prepare Flaming Cherries Jubilee. He seemed to have such fun with it! So Delicious with Fresh Strawberries and Cream. (I have learned that Men and Fire go together. : )

Finally, there was After Dinner Port, Brandy, Sherry and Cognac for the Adults. Cigars? No… Dad didn’t smoke nor did our relatives. Mother did when she was young and sassy… but she quit. Grandfather smoked a pipe.

Someday, I will go to a tobacco shop and buy a little pouch of tobacco. I will open it up, enjoying the fragrance, and remember Grandfather sitting is his leather chair, rocking a bit, pipe in hand, thoughtfully engaged in pensive reverie. Grandfather, I love you!

In writing this, it’s those little memories that are so easy to forget, yet so powerful to remember.


During the holidays, all my relatives and family friends would join together with not one harsh word, not even a stern glance. There were hugs, and laughter, and bright conversation about happy and fun things. The adults were all smiling, hugging, warm to each other. If one child was a bit much, he or she would be immediately reprimanded gently, but firmly – no equivocation. Special effort was made so that for us, the children, the holidays were beautiful, and joyful. Filled with warmth, light, and love.

That is what I remember, most. Oh… and for Christmas.. the presents… but that’s another story! : )

What an incredible Feast!

Guess what I’m going to do this Thanksgiving now that I’m doing it on my own with Friends?

We’ll probably have Pizza and… maybe Fried Chicken and Tofurkey Sandwiches!

Is it the times? Oh… dollars don’t go as far as they used to…

And now my friends are vegetarians! : )

But… I will always remember and love those early Thanksgiving experiences. Thank you Mother and Dad…

you gave us kids priceless memories.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!


It’s just not the same… everybody’s parents just don’t do it the way when we were little. You know what? The past was so beautiful in many ways… but if you have light, love, laughter and all things uplifting, yummy and delicious, it’s all you need. Big spread? Wondrous. Small Spread? Can be wondrous, too! YDLLLU: That’s what’s important. )

If I happen to become very rich, I might want to create a wonderful spread every holiday just like Mother’s… at a children’s home, or a shelter. Now wouldn’t that be something so special? We’ll just have to see.


Holidays are coming… Joy! The air grows brisk, the evenings lengthen. What’s your best memories of holiday feasting?

We have some ideas to share… and also some great spreads from, say, Windsor Castle or Ghenghis Khan’s holiday table.

Indeed! We will present ideas that will give you pause… something new every holiday that defies tradition.

Your call! Will you introduce a new goodie during a time of such reminiscence? Let’s see…

Unforgettable, Happy Holiday Food!

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