Thursday, November 25, 2010
It's beginning to smell like my Mamaw.
What is it about smells that take us back to our favorite places in childhood? I'm not sure, but what I do know is that right this second, I'm ten years old and I'm back at my Mamaw's house.
It's Thanksgiving Day and my house is beginning to fill with the aroma of my all-time favorite holiday. This is a holiday that doesn't have anything to do with gifts. This is the holiday that focuses solely on giving thanks to God for every blessing He has poured out on us.
One of my many blessings is memories of my Mamaw. I can't smell a batch of Communion Bread baking without thinking of her. (See my April blog entry titled 'Remember Me' for the story.) Add to that the smell of a turkey roasting, a batch of ooey gooey dressing and a boatload of mashed potatoes made with whole milk and too-many-to-count sticks of real butter and you understand why today of all days I can't stop thinking of her.
She always said she chose me to pass down her cooking gift to and I can only pray that she was right. Her cooking was simple. It was warm. It was welcoming. And it was DELICIOUS. The same could be said of her home. It was simple, warm, and welcoming. She never once got frustrated or stressed when any of her grandchildren, and eventually great grandchildren, were running amok while she prepared the feast. She offered her meal buffet style and fed several shifts of family members without even one complaint or mention of the time and cost. She cooked for her family out of love.
That's not to say that the rest of the year she didn't have her quirks. She and I butted heads on more than one occasion in my adult years. But that never once changed the dynamic of our relationship. I've been told that I'm "Just like Mamaw." The people who have said that didn't exactly mean it as the compliment in which I took it. My response? "I sure hope so." But rather than focus on the quirks they're referring to, (and that I'm trying to work on), I choose to focus on the many memories that she ingrained and passed on to me.
Yesterday, as is tradition, I spent the day cooking with each of my children one at a time while they prepared (or helped prepare) they're favorite foods for our feast. K helped me make the rolls & her favorite dessert. (Both recipes courtesy of my Mamaw.) The pumpkin spice cake was made by my one-armed A and she did a fabulous one-armed job. C layered peppermint patties in between the layers of brownie mix. (A creation I highly recommend.) And all three girls worked together making some sweet & salty candy treats. You might suspect that my Little Man, Z simply shows up to the meal to eat, but you'd be wrong. Z makes his favorite corn casserole and has prepared, seasoned, and baked the turkey ever since he was nine years old. My Mamaw would be beyond proud of these children of mine. Our cooking is simple. It's warm. And hopefully it's welcoming and delicious.
Add to the menu above baked beans because my husband loves them. We'll also have another corn dish because a friend gave me her yummy recipe. (Thanks Natalie!) Throw in some Reames noodles, my Mamaw's much-too-fattening mashed potatoes and her dressing and the meal is complete. You might notice that we have zero green vegetables making an appearance this year. Again, my Mamaw would be proud.
In a few hours our extended family will be arriving to our house for dinner. They'll be armed with more desserts. My kitchen will be set up buffet style. My children will be running amok, much to my enjoyment. We'll give thanks to God. We'll eat. We'll talk. We'll play games. We'll laugh. We'll eat some more. We'll miss the family members who couldn't make it this year. We'll remember my Gramps who passed away this past summer. We'll remember my Grandma, who passed away five years before that. Grandparents who left their own set of special memories imprinted on my heart.
Today I'll be surrounded by the family I love and who love me, amidst the aroma of our feast, rooted in memories of yet another grandparent I cherished. As I'm sitting in our simple home, that I pray is warm and welcoming, I'll remember my Mamaw.
So today as you eat, remember the many people and things you've been blessed with, the memories and traditions you still share, and give thanks to the one who generously poured them out. Happy Thanksgiving!
"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good." (Psalm 106:1)
*In the interest of full-disclosure, I have a confession to make about the dressing. Three years ago, I got sick the day after Thanksgiving, and violently vomited my Mamaw's dressing recipe for two days straight. I've never been able to eat a bite of it since. Sadly, no one else in my family likes my Mamaw's dressing. For the past two years, I've continued to make the dressing in honor of my Mamaw and in hopes that a year will come along where I'll be able to stomach the thought of eating it again. Maybe this will be that year.....(fingers crossed)....
**In the interest of full-full-disclosure, I have another confession to make. I didn't just get sick the day after Thanksgiving three years ago. I took an over-the-counter diet pill that claimed to 'block the fat from entering your system'......it worked.....