What is the most memorable holiday meal you have ever had?

calilooSeptember 15, 2010

I totally stole this idea from a FB status but I love reading the stories people posted. I would love to hear all of yours, and with Canadian Thanksgiving right around the corner it isn;t too early to start planning for all the old traditions and new additions. Here was my contribution:

When I was about 10, my parents had a very dressy New Years Eve party and my mom made whole roast suckling pig. She propped the mouth open with a small clay flower pot while it was cooking and when it was done it was beautifully golden, wore a cranberry necklace, red apple in its mouth and was served on a bed of greens, apples and cranberries. It was so dramatic and the best roast pork I have ever had in my life.

Who is next?

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The most memorable for me was in the late Sixties.
There were 35 for Thanksgiving Dinner.

The menu was a 22lb Turkey with Stuffing , a 25 pound Ham,
Lasagna, Chefs Salad and Chicken Wedding Soup.

Desserts were Pineapple Cheesecake, Cinnamon Buns and Pumkin Pie.

I cooked mostly everything but had help setting up the tables and making Coffee.

Had a German Shorthair Pointer, at the time. He had a great time running under all the tables and

eating all the food.
Have some good Photo's and Videos somewhere.

Remember that song
" Those were the day's my friend, we thought they'd never end "


    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

As far as the meal itself, it was the time I had Chinese food.
Just Chicken Chow Mein (the only thing I recognized on the menu and I was too embarrassed to tell everyone I had never had Chinese food before) but oh was it good.
The light went on - that vegetables could taste good; crunchy but cooked and the flavor, most likely lots of msg, was heavenly.
The evening was cemented forever in my mind as I rode my bike back home, these were my college days btw, and I saw a 6' spider web with a spider the size of a dish plate.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:18PM
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Sadly, the memory that stands out is not a pleasant one. I was about 8 years old. There was family visiting from out of town. When someone asked for the gravy boat to be passed, 6 year-old Freddy leapt to the task. Unfortunately, he dropped the gravy boat in front of my plate and it splattered all over my upper body. Since we had pretty much just sat down, it was pretty hot and I blistered.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:04PM
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Oh bumblebeez....I remember the 60's too!

Just kidding!(no offense, a lame joke at best)!


    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:13PM
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This was memorable in more ways than one......although it wasn't actually a holiday but is seared in my brain forever. I went to an all girl's Catholic High School. I got a job in "student service" where you could work to pay for some of your tuition. They asked what I liked to do and I said I love to cook. I was assigned to work with Sr. St. Joseph in the convent kitchen - two hours every morning and 8 hours on the weekend days.

Every Sunday the nuns (80 of them) ate like it was a MAJOR HOLIDAY. There was always a huge turkey and either ham or prime rib or lamb. The side dishes were endless - usually 10-12 choices and they always had the best fresh baked yeasty white rolls with sweet butter came from a Minnesota Amish farm. I've never had butter that good since. There was always at least 8 desserts for them to choose from - I guess there are some perks to being a nun. And the good sisters got to have a glass of wine or two with at least 6 varieties to choose from.

I did a lot of the prep work while Sr. St. Joseph and the rest were in the chapel. It was a really long service because the Arch Bishop, brother to one of the nuns, was performing the service as a birthday gift to his sister. I had made the dressing and stuffed the bird. The nuns got their turkeys from a farm that supplied convents throughout Minnesota. They ranged from 32 to 40 lbs. The one we had that day was about 34 lbs. Who knows how much it weighed with the dressing? I looked at my watch......it was 8:30 and the turkey should've gone in at 8:00 as they had an early dinner on Sundays. The turkey was on a full sheet pan and the Hobart oven was only 3-4 feet away from the counter it was on...... I'm 14, 5 ft tall and fearless - I think you can see where this is headed........

I propped open the door to the oven. I picked up the sheet pan. What I had not planned for is that the bird felt like it weighed 200 lbs. and was buttered or greased and it started to slide and hit the floor like a bomb!!!! A few years later when I saw the Exorcist, and the girl vomited, I had flashbacks to the dressing shooting out of the turkey as it hit the floor. I was sure I was headed for hell!
Sr. St. Joe had just walked in and it splattered all over the bottom of her white habit. She burst out laughing as I burst into tears! She came over, hugged me and said "start making more dressing." She picked up the bird and put it into one of those huge commercial sinks and gave it a bath while I cleaned up the dressing and made more. The dressing was baked on the side that day.

Later when we were serving dinner, the Arch Bishop commented on the stuffing as it looked so crispy being baked in a pan instead of in the bird. Sr. St. Joe replied "Arch Bishop - that was Teresa's idea - she is a genious!"

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:52PM
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Christmas true Italian feast!!!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 9:18PM
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did you marry a Finn with a name like Launonen?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 9:57PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Di, it was the eighties...I was behind the times for sure. Or my mother was at any rate. We didn't have much in our town other than the main fast food restaurants and "fancy" steakhouses.

I missed the fact that this was memorable Holiday meal. Sorry!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 10:03PM
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It was a simple post passover meal at my parents' apt in NYC. The food was good, the company better. My grandfather, a Harvard educated lawyer right out of "The Great Gatsby", happily accepted a Pringle potato chip from my daughter, who was about 8 at the time. He was in his 90's at the time, could count on one hand the number of potato chips he had eaten in his life (which absolutely did not include chips in a can). In fact, he probably thought Pringle only meant cashmere golf sweaters. But she pulled her chair up close to him and the two of them snacked on pringles. I am pretty sure he did not care for them, but he declared them "delicious" and acted like the two of them were having high tea. And that was made it memorable, both to me, and to my daughter who still vividly remembers the meal.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 10:15PM
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When all the kids of three siblings were still pretty much at home, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner rotated among 2 of them and my grandparents' house. Usually about 15-16 people. Of course, there wasn't a table big enough for everyone in any of these 3 houses... thus the "kids" table wherever a card table would fit.

One year for T-Day my Dad made homemade bread and it was a MAJOR hit. It was our turn for Christmas dinner. Instead of resorting to separate tables, Dad decided we'd all eat around the ping pong table in the basement... actually a really good size for that many people. He also decided to make more bread. BUT apparently the yeast gave up the ghost sometime after T-Day and it ddid not rise at all!?! We kids were content to wing blobs of the dough at each other around the basement. Remember finding hardened hunks stuck in the open rafters for ages.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:16AM
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What a lovely thread, Alexa - and I can just picture you and that beautiful dinner, looking like Eloise at the Plaza!
My most memorable holiday meal was a Passover Seder for 22 people that I hosted at my (very small) home in CT when my middle son was an infant. My family came in from PA and old family friends were in visiting relatives and we all gathered at my house. As a child in Atlanta we spent many holidays with these families, but hadn't seen them in years since all the kids had grown and moved on. It was wonderful to have everyone together to celebrate the way that we used to when I was young.
I worked harder that week than I've ever worked preparing a meal since there are so many dietary laws that surround the holiday. I was sick for a week after the 2 nights of dinners, and my legs were sore from going up and down the steps to the basement and attic for dishes, but I was so thrilled to have everyone together. And my mom and her friends were so happy to spend the holiday together that it was well worth it.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:47AM
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Sometime in the late 70's my then husband and I hosted a "waifs and orphans" dinner for Thanksgiving. We invited all of our friends who didn't have family in the area, and left the time period open. We got the biggest turkey we could find, made a HUGE pan of mashed potatoes, made a gallon or so of gravy, and left the rest of the meal up to the universe, as everyone brought something to contribute. I think we had 40 or so people show up..not all at the same time, thank goodness. Truly a memorable day. I didn't get a single bite of the turkey!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 8:53AM
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Theresa MN: Yes he is a Finn but only 1/4 the rest is TRUE SICILIAN!!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Theresa...his family settled in Jacobsen Minnesota on the banks of the Mississipi River. I didnt write why the meal was memorable: I was dating hubby and it was the first time I met his entire family..they had about 50 cousins and all for The Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve they ate from 4 in the afternoon till 3 in the morning...yes 3!!! Its was INSANE!!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:26AM
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One memorable meal was the year my mom made Kathryn Crosby's (wife of Bing) menu for Christmas that she had found in a magazine. Mrs. Crosby lived in California and we were Southerners in North Carolina so there were some dishes that were "new" to us. I remember a dish with artichokes which was not standard fare at the time around here. Most of the meal was pretty good.....if not traditionally Southern. Now and then one of us will say....."remember the year of the Kathryn Crosby menu?"

Except for that one time, we tend to stick with what is traditional for our family with only minor changes to the menu from year to year.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:58AM
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I grew up "military" and that means, I had an extended family far beyond my own. I've always celebrated with more than just mom/dad, sister, brother... And because we were military, high ranking officers as the patriarchs (before women were allowed to have rank), we were suposed to set the example for enlisted and be as proper as possible. So we were our finest, looked our best, and acted as nicely possible. Everyone was wearing starched shirts, freshly shined patent leather shoes, and pretty bows in our hair. This particular Thanksgiving, we had so many people that we employed a door (that had been taken down) as a table, by turning it flat side up, set it on top of ??? (as legs), and that was just the kids table!!! The food was stunning, the conversation sparkling.... and then there was an earthquake. Did I mention this was in California? :) Funny how a little earth shaking makes one forget what exactly was served; but that was "most memorable" holiday meal.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 10:21AM
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There have been many holiday celebrations that were special for one reason or another. The most recent was last Thanksgiving when I cooked the entire meal and all the trimmings except for the mashed potatoes (those HAVE to be freshly made) and the green beans (which were prepped and packed raw), froze it all, packed it into a suitcase, and took it on the train to Long Beach. There I warmed it all up and we (Alice, Danny, Captain Dan, and myself) had Thanksgiving dinner on the sailboat where Danny was living after a beautiful sail almost to Catalina Island and back. It was a lovely day.

Another was when I was a 20 something. My boyfriend was from Boston. We gathered at the house in the Mission District of San Francisco that was affectionately known as "Mission Control" where all of his transplanted childhood friends landed when they first moved from Massachusetts to San Francisco. Our first course was live lobster. My first. We cooked together in the ancient kitchen.

Fast forward to having a young family and living in Napa. I invited friends to my house as I often did for Thanksgiving. At the time I was renting my house while living in Napa. My renter suddenly decided to move. I had to go back and clean and ready the house for a new tenant which left me no time to make a Thanksgiving meal. We decided to eat out and found an Italian restaurant in Yountville that served Thanksgiving dinner. It was wonderful! We started with antipasto and finished with several bottles of wine. I learned to love not cooking and cleaning up on Thanksgiving and for many years after that I did not! We simply found a really great place to eat a traditional meal.

A few years ago the kids and I spent Christmas with my sister and her family. My brother in law is good at many things and he is an excellent cook. We had a stunning meal beginning with foie gras and a yummy reduction, port? He also made a lovely risotto and roast duck. We had a salad of microgreens. Dessert was creative, little banana bread puddings with something chocolate. We mmm-ed and mmm-ed throughout the meal. Daniel and Alice were less impressed with foie gras than I but both loved the duck.

I don't have many unhappy holiday meal memories that I think about much. I did once have a Thanksgiving meal in a Lyon's diner all alone in tears behind a newspaper. How I ended up there by myself is neither a happy memory nor a very interesting story to tell. The meal wasn't any good either!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Our most memorable meal was about 12, 13 years ago. I decided to make a Tofurkey and assured everyone it would taste just like turkey and they would love it. NOT!! It was truly inedible. Someone offered a piece to our eat-everything-no-matter-what Beagle, who sniffed it, looked horrified and ran to hide in the bedroom. So we all ate sides, drank lots of wine, and had a good time anyway. But I still get teased about the Tofurkey to this day. :o)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 10:48AM
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Most unhappy Thanksgiving memory--dad goes to pick up grandmother and visiting crazy aunt. This should take no more than a half hour as grandmother lives 10 min. away. They call to say come get them. One and a half hours later he returns. Turkey overcooked, mom furious, aunt complaining about overcooked turkey. I've been paranoid about overcooking a turkey ever since, lol!

Most memorable meals, I've cooked myself, including a roast pork loin, turkey and duck for various meals, all of which came out good. Since our family is small, we mix it up, we had a delicious Christmas dinner of broiled salmon one year. Legendary Christmas or Thanksgiving one is the one that my mom cooked for my single dad when he came out to visit her for the holiday, it was the one that sealed the deal. Duck a la orange, wild rice, and cheesecake for dessert. We would often have the duck and wild rice for holidays, but not cheesecake. Folks would tell the story, and then dad would add, "Yeah, and that was the last time she made me cheesecake." Not quite true, but I don't blame her, homeade cheesecake is a PITA. We lived in a small town and couldn't get NY cheesecake in the grocery store back when I was growing up. My how food availability and tastes have changed since I was growing up.

Most memorable was a Thanksgiving at a residential outdoor education center where I worked. Snowstorm hit and everyone got stranded and couldn't fulfill travel plans, and we had to improvise a meal out of what we could glean from various pantries. I made apple pie with a grape nut crumb topping, lol! A gathering of good friends and lots of red wine, and as I recall, pretty good food and a marvel of creativity. I think I also made stuffed acorn squash at that meal. One of my friends from back in those days invited me down to his house one Thanksgiving while he was working on his doctorate. The rest of the family got to go to CA but he had to stay home to work. I was depressed over losing my job and he knew this was just what the doctor ordered for both of us. He gave me 100 bucks and sent me to the grocery store and I cooked gourmet meals for him while he worked for the rest of the weekend. He was no dummy! Their dog kept stalking me because I am a chronic spiller when I cook. We had fresh caught salmon, pear blue cheese and walnut salad, roasted veggies, cranberry cherry cobbler, banana bread, and I think some kind of homeade soup, maybe squash.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:51AM
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My most memorable & favorite Christmas story was in the mid-70s. My ex-H & his best friend (also a very good friend of mine) had just gotten jobs in Denver with the same company. We were all CA kids, in our mid-20s, & it was a tramatic move. We'd left CA to get away from my very dyfunctional family & our friend decided to make the change with us. We moved at Halloween.

My DS was 3 (almost 4). We also had our dog. Our house in CA had not sold & we were so broke it wasn't funny making those mortgage/utility payments plus living expenses in CO. All of us rented an apartment together in Arvada...an old, dingy, & dirty apartment with a stove so horrible we would not use it but it was cheap. Our friend, Rick, had an electric skillet still in the box new. I really didn't know how to cook yet & so we ate Hamburger Helper made in that skillet 7/nights/week for a year.

Anyway, it was Christmas Eve. We had zero money for decorations or presents or a decent meal. All of our holiday stuff was still in CA boxed up in the unsold house. We were sitting on the floor in the living room propped on our bed pillows, as usual. We all were feeling terrible because we wanted to give DS a real Christmas the next morning & couldn't get $10 together between the 3 of us.

At 10:00 p.m. Rick said, "Tricia, go get DS bundled up. We are going to find us a Christmas tree!

We found an open lot with everything drastically reduced. We got a tree for $1.00. Well, it wasn't really a tree. It was a Christmas Bush. But, it smelled wonderful. Hmmm, still no ornaments or lights. Stopped by a 24/hour drug store & found a package of tinsel for $.25. Couldn't afford lights. But, we bought a package of M&Ms for DS's Christmas dessert. Also got a coloring book & a small pack of crayons & a little plastic toy car.

We got back to the apartment & put DS back to bed & got to work. We had no tree stand. Rick had purchased snow tires & had his old set in the living room coat closet. We stacked 2 tires up & put our Christmas bush in the center. We sang Christmas songs & hung the tinsel on our bush. The tires looked terrible. We took the sheet off our bed & covered the tires. Perfect! The flashlight from the car stratigically hidden in the bush's branches lit up our creation wonderfully. We all started to hug & cry. It was CHRISTMAS! We wrapped the M&Ms, coloring book, crayons, & car in grocery bags using the crayons to draw decorations on the "wrapping paper". DS's presents went under the bush.

The next morning, DS was so excited & we learned a valuable life lesson. Christmas dinner was Hamburger Helper & it tasted fantastic. It's my favorite Christmas memory.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:40PM
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I love all of your stories, but triciae you are making me cry.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:46PM
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Me too Tricia. Great story!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Well there are certainly some amazing holiday stories here. Thank you all for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 1:51PM
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One of the best was a goose Grandma cooked for Christmas. She was getting on in years and it was her last Christmas dinner. Goose was on the menu as it was the christmas bird of her youth before turkey became available. I was old enough to ask some questions about the stuffing and the bird. The bird itself was unremarkable... a pile of soft roast bird. Memorable because it was Grandma's last dinner she prepared. Grandma talked of the poverty of growning up and how special something like a cooked goose was. She knew that cooking whole meals was getting beyond her ability... I remember the sadness in her voice as she reflected on the affects of aging. Best food of that meal was Grandma's egg stuffing... a recipe lost when Granma passed away. The goose was not popular with the rest of the family and they commented so. What made is special was what it meant to Grandma and to this day I doubt they can feel that... but they do remember the year we had goose often exclaiming "yuck".

My own mother was a cold and absent person. I don't even remember her being at any of the dinners. Grandma was probably the closest thing to a real mom so the goose dinner will always be a special memory to me. Sometime I may get a goose and bake it into a soft mess... just for the memories.

: )

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 1:57PM
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You know, Elery says I block things out if I don't want to remember them, but I think I just don't remember, LOL.

Thanksgiving was always a big family meal, and sometimes we could afford turkey but usually it was vension or pork and lots of vegetables from the root cellar or what had been canned from the garden. Always pumpkin pie.

christmas was about the same. Presents were few and I don't remember any of them. I do remember the year we had a house fire but by some Christmas Miracle the tree and presents escaped unscathed. We always got new pajamas and we always got to open them on Christmas Eve so we'd have nice Christmas Morning pictures. Dad was the President of the school board in our little 3 room school and he was always Santa and handed out bags of hard candy from the "dime store" candy counter.

Memorable meals began after I became an adult and started dong the annual Christmas Eve family party. Dad and stepmom came, along with Mom and stepdad. My brother came, as did his ex wife and it all began with my oldest nephew Jeromy's Christmas wish one year when he was about 6 to have Christmas with both of his parents and "everyone he loved". My house was neutral territory and for one night all adults were required to act like adults, be civil and keep Christmas as it should be. That did get a bit more difficult after I divorced my ex and had to invite him to the christmas eve dinner to set a good example, LOL.

We usually had between 40 and 50 people and I did all the cooking. Presents were exchanged by the kids, we had a big holiday dinner and it was the same every year.

Now that Dad is gone we've moved our family party to Dave's garage. It's still presents for the kids, but dinner is a potluck affair and it's all good.

None of them have been particularly memorable, though, they all kind of run together into one large, homogenous holiday chaos....


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:00PM
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I had to laugh,
50 cousins for the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

We do that every year.
Doesn't every italian family have 50 cousins.???

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:09PM
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It's late afternoon, the Fourth of July on a beach at Cape Cod during World War II where the locals gathered for an annual clambake. Fires were started, big pots of water coming to a boil, baskets of seaweed ready to add to the layers of clams. lobster, corn, potatoes. In those days every one had several lobster traps set in the bays so we had plenty of fresh ones waiting to plunge in the pots. Playing bridge and swimming were the popular past times while we awaited the upcoming feast.

I was paddling around in chest high water digging with my toes for quohogs to add to the boil. Have you ever done that? They lie just beneath the sand and you can feel them with your feet when walking through the water. Looking out to sea I noticed something bobbing on the incoming tide. Then there were more, smallish floaters. As they came nearer I swam out and retrieved one. It was a full bottle of beer with a German label. Returning to shore I gave it to my parents and told them to look out at the ocean where now floated many bottles and other flotsam. Everyone raced into the water recovering the beer. It was apparent that a German submarine had been sunk/destroyed off the coast but not reported. It was quite a party that afternoon. German beer for all. Flotsam floated in for about a week and the beach was filled with beach combers who recovered all sorts of items. Yes, I remember that afternoon!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Christmas 1987. I was 26, single, and wild in the streets. Lived with my Mom at the time. Mom had gone to my sister's for the holiday, leaving me at home to babysit the dogs. My best friend, Pattee, also single and on her own, and I decided to host Christmas dinner for all the single GUYS that we knew. The total that day was 14! We ordered a smoked turkey and I also made an oven-roasted turkey with all the sides & trimmings + homemade yeast rolls. Plus four pumpkin pines, two pecan pies, a chocolate cake and a carrot cake. Gallons of sweet tea too.

All these years later - those guys STILL talk about that meal and how good it was. And how nice it was that they weren't left to their own devices on that holiday.

The next most memorable meal would be after I had the major health scare back in 2005 and almost died. I wasn't able to eat anything for six agonizingly long months and was on a feeding tube. When the tube came out, I ate a can of Campbell's vegetable soup. Truly, it was the nectar of the gods.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Almost all of the holidays have been happy occasions for me.
A few memorable ones:

The year an aunt fell out of the recliner chair she was standing in to get the "full table" photo. The moment we realized she was uninjured, we all laughed and she was very mad.

I'll never, ever live down the year I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie.

My daughter's first Christmas (3 mos. old), we were completely broke. My FIL showed up with a tree on the back of his log truck. It looked so tiny up there all by itself.
We unloaded it and headed for the house when we were struck by the realization the thing was about 15 feet tall!!!
Pretty much had to cut it in half and use the top for our tree. I quickly set about crocheting some snowflakes for decorations and tied on a few satin bows. It's still one of my favorite trees.
The only gift was a giant white stuffed bear for my daughter from a tree of joy in town. It was Christmas!

Many many happy memories, the food is always good, but the company was more important.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 7:33PM
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My most memorable meal was Christmas 2001. The meal itself was standard Christmas fare - tradition not to be messed with. It was however, the last Christmas that my Mom was with us. We were fortunate enough to know that it would be. Mom was allowed out of the hospital for a few hours, and although she was weary and beaten by melanoma that had matastesized to her lungs, liver and brain, she had managed, with the help of my youngest sister to put on a new outfit and have her hair curled and a bit of makeup applied. She looked radiant and peaceful. There were no tears that night, just a lot of laughter and stories of Christmases past. My Mom made sure she was holding or touching one of her grandchildren at all times. She died less than a month later, but not before giving us all the gift of one last, perfect Christmas.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:09AM
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I'm bumping this thread up, because I loved the previous contributions. Hopefully, there can be some more added?


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:36PM
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This thread jogged my memory on several times. The first wasn't really a "holiday" meal, but it was this time of year, probably 30-35 years ago. A cousin I didn't see very often invited me over to join him and a few friends he was having over. It was sort of a pre-holiday party for the singles. I was the youngest of the group, a couple were probably about 10 years older and "Uncle Roger" the patriarch was there. He was an older friend of the guys. I can't really say why it sticks out so much, probably a lot of reasons. For one, my cousin showed me how he made country style ribs, which were the menu's main course. We sat around, watched some football, had many beers, lots of shooting the bull and it really began a closeness between this cousin, well and his friends too and me. They all treated me great from the start. It was a nice memory to have jogged as this cousin, who quickly became my favorite cousin, died a little over a year ago from rapidly growing cancer. Took him out in less than a year.

Probably the most memorable holiday meal was more about the trip than the meal itself. Some friends live about 200 miles north of me and they were down one year for New Year's Eve and I had a New Year's Eve party. (Gee, now there's yet another one, oh well, I'm limiting it to two!) I made sloppy joes, chips, cookies, bars, etc and they were so impressed with it. In years after they didn't get to come down very often because of his work schedule but invited me up to their place. OK it became a regular thing and she was so impressed with the sloppy joes, I had to teach her how to make them. Well this one year, don't remember exactly the year was a cold day leading up and then it started snowing. My sister was going to come with me and I had to wait for her to get off work. She was hesitant on making the trip because of the weather and I said I'm going, if you want to go with me, get your stuff ready and I'll pick you up! So off we went. Of course not getting on the road before late afternoon at this time of the year means driving in darkness. I was going to need gas but decided to stop along the way in a town called Cambridge. I figured it'd be a good time for a bit of a break and I had plenty of gas to get there. I even knew which gas station I wanted to stop at. The wind came up, the snow kept coming. The traffic started moving slower and slower. The snow built up on the road, the snow was drifting and it was at the point things were getting slick underneath the snow. There was a good 5"-6" piled up on the roads and with the drifting you couldn't even tell where the shoulders of the road were. We talked a bit about turning around, but there wasn't a good place to turn around and I didn't really want to anyway. I had 300# of weight in the back of my mini pickup and I had pretty good traction. Speed kept decreasing, 40-45 for a big part of it, then down to about 30. People were really slowing down because it wasn't easy to tell where the road was. I didn't want to follow them so I passed a couple and wound up leading the way. Even a couple semis pulled in behind me and followed me rather than pass! I was watching the gas gauge and knew it was taking a long time to get to Cambridge and running a lot in second and third gear was using more gas than would be normal. It seemed to take forever. I was busy watching the road, so I didn't even want to look at my watch, so Sis kept me updated on time. Every muscle in my body was tightening up from a little stress on the conditions. I basically drove in (what I guessed was) the center of the road. I didn't want to wind up in the ditch. The plows still weren't out. Finally the plows were out a little farther along and I still was going WHERE'S CAMBRIDGE??? At this rate it would take forever to get to our destination. Finally the lights of the city appeared in the distance through the snow. Never so happy to see a town in my life. The gas gauge was below empty and it had been for a while. I knew how far I could go and knew I was at the limits but had to keep going. Finally hit town and it was Mora. I go... huh? Mora is about 25-30 miles from Cambridge. How did I miss it? I asked my sister, did we drive past it? She said no. I knew she hadn't fallen asleep. Felt like we were in a time warp. Filled with gas (14.5 gal in a 14 gal tank) and on we went, mystified. Weather eased up. Got up there a lot later than expected and told them about the time warp and they just laughed it off that I must have driven through town and not stopped.

OK, so on the way home the mystery was solved. The highway was moved and I didn't know it. It now bypasses Cambridge. So yes, I drove right past it, but didn't see it. And there's a big line of pine trees that blocked the view of the lights so neither of us noticed anything. Strangest trip I've ever made. BTW, the "joes" were great as was the rest of the food, drink, conversation and games.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:35AM
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A memorable Thanksgiving was the year we had our holiday meal out in the country at the then home of my brother-in-law. It was a gorgeous day, I'm sure he cooked the turkey on the grill - and we ate outside! Yep, a Thanksgiving picnic! Only time I can ever remember having Thanksgiving dinner outside. It was lovely!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Robin - great idea! Thanks for bumping this up.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Good or bad memorable?

The ones I remember the most were the disasters. The first time I cooked a turkey on my own I almost left the giblets inside. DH checked it right before I was putting it in the oven. Another time when I was in college and a vegetarian, my Mom broke her ankle and couldn't cook anything. It was left up to me, who didn't believe in eating meat, and my very strict Kosher SIL to cook the turkey and prepare everything. Neither one of us wanted to touch the turkey, but somehow everything came out OK. About 5 years ago we decided to cook the turkey on the grill's rotisserie. DH make a foil drip pan under it to catch the grease. It flamed up and we had Blacken Cajun turkey. There are more but I think that is enough of a trip down memory lane. The rest, that I guess would be considered good, I can't remember.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:01PM
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One Thanksgiving dinner I will always remember was back in the eighties. Like everyone else, everyone gathered at Mom and Dad's for the meals so there were kids, mom's and dads. My brother that was three years younger than I was a terrible tease and was giving Mom, who was sitting across the table from him, a double dose of teasing. Well, she picked up a spoon with a big blob of mashed potatoes and threatened him with it. He just laughed and kept on teasing her. All of a sudden there was a flying blob of white going across the table and hitting him in the face. Didn't hurt him, but the look on his face was a prize winner and the rest of us laughed ourselves silly. Grandma died in 1987, Daddy in 1989, Mom in 1998 and my dear brother seven years ago today. I'll never forget that Thanksgiving. Thanks for bumping this thread, its now no longer a day of sadness.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:00PM
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This qualifies as a memorable Holiday meal???

Many years ago, I was invited to a business Christmas dinner to the famous Tavern On The Green (no longer in business) in Central Park, NYC. I had not been to TOTG before. When I got to Central Park, following directions, I saw a big tennis court size air structure setup with Holiday decorations all over, and many well dress people were entering the tent. Thinking that it was where the dinner was going to be, I followed the crowd inside.

Once I was inside, I realized that I was in the wrong dinner party. All the faces inside were famous show business personalities, movie stars, (Liz Taylor, Leslie Uggams, etc.) Hundreds of them. I was crazy enough that I decided to stay. The event was a benefit auction. Christmas trees belonging to famous people were being auctioned off. Marilyn Monroe's tree, Elvis Presley's tree, etc. for instance.

Food was fantastic.

Not a celebrity worshiper, not a famous person, and no friends in high places, I am perplexed by why I have this habit of running into strange situations frequently. Like running into Jacques Pepin yesterday right after I posted about him here.

Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny. My Karma is unexplainable based on my actions.

A few photos I managed to convince a reporter to give me of the event.


Angie Dickinson

Rex Reed

Dr Ruth Westheimer donated her Hanukkah tree, decked with a few prophylactics.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 4:08PM
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dcarch - Love the story and pictures.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:26PM
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dcarch -- are you sure that is Angie Dickinson? It doesn't look like her. Maybe it's just the photo.

Anyway, most (99%) of my holiday meals have at my mom's and they were, to be honest, all pretty much the same. She makes the exact same turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. It was pretty much the same cast of characters at every meal, although that evolved over time.

The things that come to mind are not happy things. I rember one time my dad, not meaning to be critical, absentmindedly said "the turkey is dry." Well, my mother's face just crumbled. She was crushed. They had an old-fashioned 1950's style marriage and she lived to please him. She was (and is) and wonderful cook and took delight in his enjoyment of her cooking. That remark cast a pall over the entire meal. It was awful.

The other Thanksgiving I remember was the last one with my sister before she died of cancer at age 51. My mom was staying with her to help care for her. I went to her house for that dinner. The rest of my family stayed home because she could not take the commotion. In fact, she was being fed with a tube, so she couldn't eat, but sat in her comfy chair by the table. She so enjoyed the aroma of the food and having the family around. She was gone with three weeks.

Anyway, sorry to be Debbie Downer, but those meals are very memorable to me. I do remember wonderful holidays at my great-aunt's house, although nothing specific.

It's fun to read these stories, even the ones that are two years old.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Dedtired, your story is so poignant yet heart warming, like a few others on this thread, about food, Thanksgiving and family.

"dcarch -- are you sure that is Angie Dickinson? It doesn't look like her. Maybe it's just the photo. "

I think the lighting and special public makeup on her face made her look a little different. As a matter of fact, I was so amazed how different the stars look in person and up close. I didn't recognize Tony Bennett until he spoke.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:47AM
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Thanksgiving dinner 1972!

I was new to Oklahoma, just arrived in August, and got married in September. My in-laws drove to their daughters in Georgia, and I volunteered to make Thanksgiving dinner at my new to me house.

My other sister in law and her husband, and two boys came for dinner.

Someone had told me about cooking the turkey in a paper bag. Thus, I greased the bag well, put the defrosted turkey (at this time I had never ever cooked a turkey before) in, and put the whole shebang in the oven.

About an hour later, we had a fire in the oven. Gas oven. I must have greased the bag to much???

I ended up washing the turkey off, and putting it back in the oven, but covered in foil.

The good thing is, they didn't know about the fire... till much later, when I told. Also, the turkey was done, not dry, and tasted fine.

But it is a memory I shall never forget.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:48AM
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beachlily z9a

It had to be in the early 80's while we still lived in Denver. My husband had made reservations for 4 at a very nice restaurant about 40 mi from our home. Our neighbors were joining us. The night before Thanksgiving, we had a royal blizzard--high wind, deep snow. Beautiful! I called the restaurant and the chef answered. I asked if they were open, and he said he had 15 turkeys staring at him and yes, they were open. We piled into our neighbor's old, trashed Ford bronco and slipped and slided all the way to the restaurant. Each man picked up his wife and carried her to the shoveled sidewalk because we had on dress boots and long skirts. We were the only customers in the restaurant! The waiters hovered and the chef sat down to eat with us after he carved a turkey at our table. That was an amazing holiday dinner!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Dcarch, yes, that is the way I remember Angie. What a beauty.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:02PM
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The year I woke up thanksgiving morning with the flu. I woke up my 3 girls and told them they were in charge or there would be no thanksgiving dinner. None of them were out of high school yet, so out came the cookbooks. They did a great job. the youngest one is now a chef, and pastry chef. She's cooking this year. I have the best family ever.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Psst..sorry dude but that's not Angie Dickenson. It's Sally Kirkland. She was mistaken for Angie fairly often, especially when younger. You can really tell by the nose. Angie's nose was always thinner and a pointier tip where Sally has that roundish tip. Plus Angie's nostrils sort of flow into the tip, whereas Sally's are defined/separate.

Loved this thread. Thanks for bringing it back up Robin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Check out Sally Kirklands nose.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Thanks, Coconut I thought that could not possibly be Angie by her nose. Angie's little tipped up nose is one of her more noticeable features.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

My most memorable meal is similar to flowergirl, although I was the child, so to speak. I was in my early twenties, out of college but still living at home and my mother fell off a ladder and fractured several vertebrae a few days before Thanksgiving.
She was very much the mother in charge and no one else could do anything near what she did or knew how.
At the time, we said she broke her back. The church I was attending brought over a wonderful meal for all of us and everyone in the family was surprised, humbled, and very grateful as I hadn't been going there very long and the rest of my family was shocked that complete strangers would do that for them.
All in all, since no one in our family had ever been sick or hurt before, it was a poignant meal and we all were so thankful for our mother.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Coconut, I will have to agree with you, upon looking at another pictures of the same event.

In addition to the nose, Angie is not as full-bodied as Sally.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:24AM
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A few years back my wife and I were traveling on business in Brazil over Thanksgiving. A professor my wife was working with took us and several of the students to a churrascaria for dinner on Thanksgiving. (A churrascaria is a restaurant where servers roam around the restaurant with skewers of various cooked meats, continually stopping at each table to carve off some to everyone at the table)

While there I mentioned that it was the US holiday of Thanksgiving and described it to the professor and the Brazilian students in general terms: get together with family and/or friends and have a large meal together, and described the "traditional" Thanksgiving meal.

I was merely trying to make conversation, and make the point that what we were doing was pretty similar to the Thanksgiving tradition. However the professor responded "I'll see what I can do" and flagged the head waiter over, and spoke to him in rapid Portuguese. The waiter responded to us "We don't have any turkey but I'll see what we can do." and disappeared into the kitchen.

About 10 minutes later he emerged from the kitchen followed by a server carrying a large skewer of meat, he presented it to us with a big beaming smile saying "This is as close as we could get to turkey. It's Ostrich." It didn't taste even a little like turkey, but it was delicious.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I will always remember the first Thanksgiving dinner after my mother died of cancer. She died in July, leaving her non cooking husband and 4 children behind. My sisters were 17 and 11; my brother was 15 and I was 13. The relatives had worried over our holiday plans, but we told Dad that we wanted to be just our family that year.

So we planned our meal to be just like one Mother would have made. The questions among us 3 girls, were who knew how to do what. Well, lo and behold, between us 3, we knew how to prepare and roast the turkey, make the chestnut dressing and gravy, bake pies, cook the vegetables and potatoes and even prepare the mulled cider we liked. We were all a little anxious because we had not done a holiday meal before, but to our amazement, everything came out fine. We felt good that we could have a delicious, formal holiday meal that we had prepared just for our father and siblings.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:40PM
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Sheila, that is a sweet story. I bet your mother was looking down at all her kids and feeling very proud.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:51PM
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