Do you have special Thanksgiving traditions you follow in your family? Like most, perhaps you always have turkey and all the trimmings. Or perhaps yours is a ham sort of family. Maybe you always watch football, or heck, maybe you’re one of those families who plays a friendly game of touch/flag-football yourselves after the big meal.
Maybe you simply must put up your tree the day after Thanksgiving and not a day before. Maybe your house is decorated top to bottom for Christmas before Thanksgiving Day even arrives. Maybe you always get together with family. Maybe you never do.
Perhaps you try to honor a whole list of family traditions, or perhaps you’re a bit of a rebel and say, screw that; I’m doing this my way.
Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Always has been. I mean, there’s all that food, right? And no guilt about overindulging in any or all of it, well, less guilt than usual anyway. But it’s more than the food. It’s about family, traditions and whatever that means (or doesn’t mean) for you and your dear ones.
As far as Thanksgiving traditions go, I wait to put the tree up until after Turkey Day. As for the meal, I always cook the same things: turkey, stuffing (my mother always called it dressing, so sometimes I call it that), mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, a couple of miscellaneous side dishes, pumpkin pie and always – cranberries.
There must be cranberries. Always.
And the cranberries cannot come from a can, although come to think of it, usually I have a can of the weird jellied sort, too, for those family members who prefer that. No, cranberry sauce at my house must be made from fresh cranberries and when the big day arrives, served up in a lovely glass bowl of some sort.
Because my dad loved cranberries. He always made his own special cranberry sauce. Every single Thanksgiving. His cranberry sauce is one of my favorite childhood memories of Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories, period.
And the thing is, how many kids actually like cranberries?
I’m pretty sure I didn’t like them as a kid. Did you? The consistency is sort of weird. And the taste is tart. But gosh, they’re pretty!
Somewhere along the line, I did develop a taste for cranberries. And now, I can’t imagine a proper Thanksgiving turkey dinner without them.
They are not my favorite part of the meal, taste-wise, that is.
But they are my favorite part of the meal, nonetheless. A must-have Thanksgiving holiday tradition menu item.
I buy them, cook them, serve them and eat them while thinking about you, Dad, and all the wonderful Thanksgiving meals we shared that always included your home-made cranberry sauce.
Just a simple thing. Just a simple memory.
But my, what a wonderful one it is and always will be.