Growing up in New England, Thanksgiving was a real American holiday. Back in those days, there was no Black Friday or Cyber Monday to distract us. Our small town, much like other small, New England towns, had a town “Service” that invoked God in nonspecific ways. The town “Service” usually consisted of the local school bands, maybe even some cheerleaders, political speeches, and much rah, rah citizenship.
If you lived in broadcast distance of NYC, you could see either a Three Stooges Marathon or all the Monkey movies (King Kong, Son of Kong, Bride of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young) all day long. Of course, there were also all the football games.
Thanksgiving dinner featured at least one, and often two, magnificent turkeys, more than enough to feed the gathering, mad crowd of hungry relatives and friends.
There were mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, herbed potatoes, cranberry sauce- both whole and jellied- two or three different salads, and gravy. In Jewish homes, chopped liver often found itself on the table. Sometimes there was turkey soup, too.
Before the feast, there were hors d’oeuvres that were passed around. Let’s face it, who didn’t love those little “pigs in a blanket,” mini egg rolls, cocktail meatballs in a sweet sauce, peanut butter stuffed celery, and other goodies?
Desserts were varied and amazing. Custard pie make without milk, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, ruggelach, mocha crème cake, pecan pie, apple pie, and maybe even some winter fruit salad.
The meal was served early. Once cleared, the table was pushed against a far wall, and reset as a buffet for ongoing feasting throughout the day. In our house, there was no such thing as white bread, so fresh, just picked up from the bakery that morning rye bread graced the buffet table.
Invariably, the men were in front of the main TV watching the games, and the women were in another room. We kids ran around outside playing all sorts of kids’ games. It was always a most wonderful day.
However you celebrate, enjoy this unique American holiday. And don’t forget to give thanks for all the blessings in your life.