Disclaimer: my mother was not a "scratch" cook (though we loved her food). She always used processed food but never store brands.
We were delighted to find, on our Thanksgiving table, the following:
- A big turkey (Butterball) and in later years, simpler-to-cook turkey breasts.
- French's instant mashed potatoes
- Franco American turkey gravy
- Pepperidge Farm stuffing
- Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce
- Parker House rolls (with real butter. We were a butter family.)
- Birds-eye peas
- Birds-eye creamed onions
- Green and black olives
- Celery Sticks
- Mrs. Smith's Pumpkin Pie
- Friehofer's Apple Pie
- Instant Maxwell House coffee (adults only)
If someone were to serve me this dinner today, I would be thrilled. It elicits the fondest of memories of happy times with my family of nine. I credit my mother with inspiring my interest in cooking, because though she was not particularly interested in recipes or anything more than basic cooking, she did encourage my budding interest and enjoyed helping me discover recipes. She let me mess up her kitchen. Her words of advice (that I still hear as I begin a cooking project) were: "Always make sure you have all the ingredients you need before you start" (after starting something and making her run to the store mid-recipe) and "Cleaning up is part of cooking."
If my mother loved to cook, this blog might not exist.
This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for every meal my mother prepared day in and day out for nine people, for the happy memories of time in her kitchen, and for the inspiration to learn to love something she didn't.
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