Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grandma and the Prince - Part 23

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I love preparing for Thanksgiving. Everything I do has been done before and, fates willing, will be done again. I can see myself back down the ladder of time polishing the silver that my mom polished before me and Grandma before her. I used to watch Grandma El handle her silver in the European fashion, fork in her right hand, knife in her left. No clumsy American transfer of utensils for her. No sirree. She’d do that nifty tines-down swoop of the fork to her mouth and I’d feel like bursting into applause.

I eat that way now. No, it didn't come naturally. I do it because she did it that way, because somehow when I do, I know she’s watching. "You’re very English, Barbara," she used to tell me. "More English than you know." Am I? I wonder about that. I’m not even sure I know what it means. But whatever it was, she saw it and approved and believe me, Grandma’s approval was very hard to come by.

Of course I make her turkey stuffing every year. It’s a very simple stuffing – no sausage or meat of any kind – filled with fresh breadcrumbs and lots of onion and celer
y and butter and broth and Bell’s Seasoning. It had to be Bell’s, according to Grandma El, the same way it had to be Colman’s English Mustard with the roast beef at Christmas. I still have the recipe she gave me. Written in her own hand, the curves and angles of her letters are so familiar to me, so strangely dear now that she’s gone and I can think of her without all of the family drama. She’s long gone and so are her clothes and her books and the smell
of her Tigress perfume but here she is before me, as real and immediate as she ever was
in life.

All the photographs in the world couldn’t bring her back to me the way this simple little recipe does. Her recipe is my stuffing recipe. Sure I’ve changed it – recipes are starting points, not destinations – but the essence, the Grandma El-ness of
it . . . oh, that remains.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans out there and to everyone else, I wish you many reasons of your own to be thankful.

Me? I'm thankful that you're here with me today, reading my stories and sharing your thoughts.

PS: Leave a comment and you'll be automatically entered in this month's drawing. Good luck!


ev said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

I was reading the recipe and realized it's very close to the one we have used forever. The book it came from was grandmother's and then mom's and now mine. It has many handwritten notes from the three of us in it. After all these years I don't really need to bring the book out anymore, but I do anyway.

Enjoy the day!

runner10 said...

Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope you have a wonderful day.

Lil said...

That handwritten recipe is a wonderful memento. I tend to collect recipes from loved ones and friends. It just seems to make the meals I serve richer for the memories.

chey said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful time.

Nas Dean said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

Estella said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Barbara!

traveler said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I always enjoy and treasure your lovely posts. This one even more for the sentiments expressed.

Leni said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I enjoyed reading your post. Those recipes that get past down in the family are so enjoyable to make.

Mary said...

What a wonderful thing to still hvae. I have been thinking of putting all my recipes into a large book and giving it to my daughter.

Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving.

mariska said...

Wow, i'm also like to collect recipes :)

hope you had a wonderful day !

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