I’m not going to try to be clever and witty. We are talking about “being thankful” for the Remember the Time Blog Hop this week because, duh. Check out how to link up and join the hop at the end of my post.
In my family, Thanksgiving is really about just one thing.
Yeah, there’s the whole “being with family” thing, and the whole “being grateful for our blessings” thing, and the whole “watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” thing. But should any family member of mine claim one of these as the most important part of Thanksgiving, I will stand tall, point my finger directly at that person, and yell, “LIAR!” with all the dramatics of a Shakespearean actor.
Because in this family, Thanksgiving is ALL about Great-Grandpa Murphy’s Stuffing. And I am as thankful for it as I am that there is air in my lungs
Now, I can’t give away the secret family recipe, but I will give you a hint: it includes two, count them TWO, pork products….okay, one is bacon. I know I shouldn’t have said anything, but how can I NOT brag about bacon being in the Stuffing? It’s like having the cutest baby in the world and not showing anyone pictures. (Although thinking of all that bacon just made me realize I need to make an amendment to my earlier statement. There is ONE family member I would not call a liar for saying Thanksgiving is about something besides the stuffing: my cousin who is a vegetarian. Only he is allowed to say Thanksgiving is about being grateful…or about Tofurkey.)
So, not only is Great-Grandpa Murphy’s Stuffing like a helping of bacon-sprinkled-carb-a-licious dreams on a fork, but the traditional “Stuffing Day” is just as big of a deal as Thanksgiving itself. A day or two before the holiday, all the women in my family congregate to carry out the recipe that my Great-Grandpa would whip up every year. Everyone has a job, from chopping, to frying and sauteing ingredients, to crumbling bacon, to mixing everything together in the enormous pot. What used to be done by one man (and probably a bit of help from my Great-Grandma) has become a job for seven and counting. But in bringing more cooks to the kitchen, we have also created a new tradition that involves conversations, laughter, and most importantly, take-out food.
This year, due to scattered Thanksgiving plans, we had a smaller group on Stuffing Day. My sister and I took our kids over to my parents’ house to make up the recipe with my mom. It was the first time we had done this without my grandma, my aunts, and my cousin…so it was a little different than usual. But it also showed me that as our lives continue to change, the tradition will live on as long as there are those of us willing to make it happen…and as long as my family’s love of bacon remains strong.
This year also marks the first time I will share Great-Grandpa Murphy’s Stuffing with my other family: my in-laws. Because of those aforementioned scattered Thanksgiving plans, my parents will be joining us at my in-laws for the holiday, and our contribution to the gathering is, of course, our stuffing (along with my dad’s homemade cranberries, which is a whole OTHER reason to love the season). My in-laws have heard the lore and praises for this dish, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m worried it won’t find the same favor with them as it has with us. What if others don’t think my baby is that cute, after all? I mean, they are “raisins in the stuffing” kind of folk, Our bacon laughs at raisins when they try to find a spot in Great-Grandpa Murphy’s Stuffing. Go find some tiny red box to be eaten out of by a drooling toddler, it scoffs. What if the reason we all love our Stuffing so much is because of all the fun we having making it? What if we love our Stuffing because it makes us feel connected to our ancestors? What if we love our Stuffing because each bite evokes an image of a handsome guy with blue eyes, probably wearing just an undershirt with his slacks, standing in the kitchen of a small brick two bedroom home in South City, working on his own concoction for his family’s holiday feast? What if we all love our Stuffing not so much for how it tastes, but because of what it represents?
Who am I kidding? Three pounds of bacon. Of course is tastes amazing.
This post is part of the Remember the Time Blog Hop. You can join in, too!
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