I’m not sure I could ever write the detailed food memoirs that our best food writers entertain us with, but I do recall some personal favorite meals. As with most food memoirs, the food itself is important, but the people and the circumstances are what make the meal especially memorable.
We’ve had many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners. I’m fortunate that my wife is an excellent cook and that she has had the good sense to use my mother’s dressing recipe.
For many years, my parents would trek up to St. Louis from Birmingham to join us for the feast. Those were always great visits, especially when my dad was more spry and would head out for early Black Friday shopping with my wife. My dad pulled a Clark Griswold one year and got lost in East St. Louis, but the friendly ESL police pointed him back onto the right road.
One Thanksgiving in the 1980’s we entertained a pair of visiting British Navy men whose ship had docked in Philadelphia after a visit to the Falkland Islands. They loved everything about our wonderful American holiday meal—except pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin pie is very popular among one certain member of my family. For many years, my wife has baked two pumpkin pies: one for the family and guests and one for my daughter, who can finish one off in a hurry.
One of our more memorable Turkey Days came in the mid 1970’s. I had just taken a job in Erie, Pennsylvania. I had been hired by an old acquaintance from Alabama. He and his wife and kids were living in a motel while they were looking for a house. We had recently moved into an apartment and had limited furniture.
We invited them to join us for the Thanksgiving meal. My new boss’s dad, in town for a visit, was an additional guest.
This was my wife’s first big production solo Thanksgiving effort. She performed beautifully. The meal was a success and we scored important points with my new boss.
I recall driving to work that night as the first snowfall of the season fell, comfortable in the fact that I had a turkey sandwich with me for a late night encore.