Niagara Gazette

Columns

November 20, 2012

BRADBERRY: Thanks for the feast, great memories

Niagara Gazette — As far back as I can remember, I have always been impressed by the amount of time it takes to prepare a really good Thanksgiving dinner, and how relatively very little time it takes to consume it.

Just the thought of Thanksgiving conjures up sharp memories of the grand feast at our family’s huge dining room table, the giant stuffed turkey at the center, surrounded by platters and bowls heaped high with mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread stuffing, home grown collard greens, green beans, and all sorts of side dishes, and garnishes.

Behind us on the buffet lay an assortment of sweet potato pies, apple pies, peach cobbler, pound cakes, red velvet cakes, the rich caramelized pineapple upside-down cake and, of course, the much maligned, very unpopular, but mandatory fruit cake, which, Dad and I particularly favored.

Even with both of the expansion leafs, there wasn’t enough elbow room for everyone at the big table, so a smaller, but equally elegantly set smaller “kid’s table” complete with a linen table cloth, real starched napkins, fine china and polished silver was put up right next to the big table, fully integrating everyone into the dinner.

Having already settled any disputes about who was sitting where, and who got which piece of the turkey, we were all on our best behavior; no elbows on the table, no talking with food in our mouth, no shouting, fussing, arguing or fighting would be tolerated; violators could be invited to sit alone in the living-room, risking the possibility of missing out on desert. I don’t think that ever actually happened, the mere thought of it was sufficient to keep us in line.

After all, Mom had employed all of us in the preparation which had begun days earlier, and for some dishes, weeks ago.

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