|Dinner at My House, Thanksgiving 2002|
When I was little my family and I always had dinner at my aunt Helen Bulak's house. Auntie Helen and my grandmother shared a duplex house in their later years. Thanksgiving was always on Auntie's side of the house, and Easter was always on my grandmother's side of the house. Thanksgiving dinner included extended family and involved a fancy dinner table set with Auntie's Lenox china. There was turkey, of course, a special Polish poultry dressing made with turkey or chicken livers (which for the longest time I did not like), mashed potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, broccoli with Polish crumbs, gravy, cranberry sauce from a can, and apple pie with ice cream for dessert. Auntie Helen always made the turkey while my mom and my grandmother supplied everything else.
One of my favorite things was and still is broccoli with Polish crumbs or "garnish Polonaise," as I heard Julia Child call it once. Things always sound better in French, don't they? Polish crum...oops...I mean "garnish Polonaise" is a garnish made from dried bread crumbs which are browned in butter in a pan on the stove top until they take on a toasted flavor and a crunchy texture. Sprinkled over broccoli or most other vegetables they are delicious. It's amazing how something so simple can liven up a dish!
As long as my dad and my grandmother were still with us we continued to celebrate Thanksgiving at home. By 1990 Dad and Gram were both gone, and I was busy with work and graduate school. Rather than cook dinner at home Mom and I decided to start having Thanksgiving dinner out, a tradition which we carried on for a number of years.
After I had a family of my own I cooked dinner at our house. I made the traditional favorites--turkey, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry-orange relish, and my personal favorite, stuffing. Mom joined us for Thanksgiving for as long as she was physically able. Mom died three years ago, so now we join my husband's family in upstate New York for the holiday.
|Grandmother's House (My Mother-in-Law's Family Homestead, Photo Circa 1900)|
I often think back to the wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations of my childhood. I miss my parents and grandmother profoundly during the holidays. My life has changed, but I enjoy Thanksgiving with my son and my husband and his family. My in-laws are incredibly kind and welcoming. I feel like I'm part of their family now.
Holidays are like people. Time passes, and people change. I've changed. My Thanksgivings now aren't any better or any worse. They are just different.
Submitted for the 112th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.
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