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Blog Post, Memoir

“The Holiday Platter & Its Half Baked Counterparts”

Please Share The Urban Herbivore

Hello Dear One,

In my family there is a long standing secret-chuckle surrounding my mother’s china. The platter is round and about two inches larger in circumference than its matching dinner plate.

As long as I can remember it was a custom for my grandfather Otis to start the procession through the buffet line during holiday meals. “Age before beauty, Dad will you please start the line?” His daughter would ask.

His knees never hurt when it was time to start the buffet line. He understood what it meant to heighten and add long before I understood what it meant as a writer. I suspect he would have been a natural born Buddha Bowl builder himself if he had known about the concept.

He was known for heaping his plate, so one year I slipped him the platter and asked him to begin the line. We held our breath, waiting to see if the added circumference would be enough to stop the towering effect of his choices. It wasn’t. His dinner roll teetered the top like snow atop Mt. Rainer. And we giggled as he strolled his way into the dinning room to feast at the head of the holiday table.

When I think back on this I think about the careful precision he used to fill his plate. A bit of this, a heap of that, nudging flavors into spaces, he was mindful about placement. In particular, the gravy. Careful not to miss an opportunity to sample each offering. He was the voice of reason and he determined if what was served was “good enough for company.” And he always allowed himself a second round of repeating joy.

Some of the most precious gifts in life are not always the ones we unwrap, but the moments we remember and the human noise shared around the holiday table.

At a recent family gathering my dancing uncle told a story about a hot dame he met when he was in the Army and stationed near Cub Run, Kentucky. “She wanted to take me home,” he said. We all laughed and googled the location. Wondering if it was town or a racetrack. “Was she wearing shoes?” The laughter ensued….

Then there was the holiday meal where someone who shall remain nameless dipped their dentures in their water glass while everyone was seated at the table. One holiday you are the child and the next thing you know you are the parent, putting the smack-down on holiday behavior. (Just breathe)

On occasion when the meal is over and the dessert has been served and consumed you will hear a shriek come from the kitchen which can only mean one thing; “We forgot the yams.”

We have the world champion pie eaters amongst our extended family. Only they don’t know they’re world champion pie eaters, but the tablecloth talks and she is quite the gossip.

The golden child of our family always gets the cherry pit. Must be his penitence. Ironically he usually gets the wishbone too. Go figure.

Too many cooks in the kitchen adds up to a lot of half baked rules. Ratios are always called into question.
“You are cutting the pieces too big. When you are making soup bits of each ingredient must land in the spoon or the taste will be off. The same goes for salads…like potato salad, if you dice the potatoes too big all you will taste is potato. Same goes for the turkey dressing, if the….”
“I got it! I got it.”

Then there are the precious real estate problems.
“Are we heating the rolls?”
“There’s no room in the oven.”
“We could stick them in a roaster for a few minutes.”
“We could get on with the meal.”

“What’s the temperature outside?” Only during the holidays does the van double as a refrigerator for the turkey carcass and other precious leftovers.

“Where’s the cat?”
“I saw him on the windowsill  the dinning room earlier.”
“The cat is shut in the south bedroom.”
“Good, we don’t want the cat ending up in the butter.”
“No! We don’t want the cat ending up in the butter.”
“Did you remember to get the butter out?”
“Is the butter room temperature?”
“She forgot about the butter.”
“Did you forget the butter?”
“Who forgets the butter?”

“Someone who has spread themselves too thin during the holidays…that’s who.”

 

From my half baked family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Much Love,

Tamara

Please Share The Urban Herbivore

Tamara A. Rager

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