I remember with great fondness my sweet grandmother, and that during Thanksgiving she made simple, yet delicious pumpkin and sweet potato pies. She always made enough for everyone in the family, because that’s just the way she did things.
My mom always prepared the perfect turkey; low and slow was her method. I remember it as if it were yesterday, waking up on Thanksgiving Day to the smell of turkey and stuffing. It makes my mouth water every time I think about it. My mother was a master when it came to tasty meals. She is also the reason I like both freshly made cranberry sauce as well as sliced out of the can.
Mom was also a great baker, and her cakes were a pleasant treat. If you ever tasted one of her cakes, you would not forget it. She just had the magic, and she loved making great cakes and sharing them with others. I remember her red velvet cakes; dried apple spiced cakes and her absolute mastery of several flavors of pound cakes; they were always moist and never dry. A dry pound cake was never tolerated, and if ever a mistake happened because of some atmospheric change, she would toss it out and make another one. Mom made many types of pound cakes, but the black walnut was my favorite. It was an old recipe, and I don’t think she ever altered it.
Sweet tea was made and served by the gallons, and that was what most guest would drink. You could have sweet tea or sweeter-sweet tea. It was when I was older that I discovered that unsweet tea was an option.
Nowadays I seldom add extra sugar to anything, but that was not how I grew up.
I remember one Thanksgiving; I walked into the kitchen, and my grandmother was at the stove with the turkey out of the oven. And when she saw me she said, “Come over here, and I will show you where the best part of the bird is, just don’t tell anyone.” She proceeded to show me where the most tender and moist parts are. She said, “That’ll be our secret.” She was correct, and to this day that’s the part I still like the most.
A lot of people came for Thanksgiving, and most would bring a little something they made themselves; however, a few would bring something store-bought. It was all good, and the most important thing was the fact that everyone came together for the fellowship and enjoyment of it all.
The food was abundant, and the idea of gaining a few extra pounds during Thanksgiving was not upsetting for most people. We knew it could come off later, or at least we hoped so, but we didn’t worry much about it. You see, we ate our lunch together, and many people would still be around to eat again before going home.
I love these memories and would do anything to have my Mom, Dad and grandparents today. The power of the memories of all those hugs and smiles gives me a feeling of warmth inside.
This time of the year when the activities of the season are in full swing, they bring back these sweet memories, and at times my eyes leak a bit, but the smiles outnumber the tears.
I am grateful for family, old and new friends, turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pies and having them all wrapped up in old and new memories.
I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you what’s the best part of the turkey, grandma made me promise not to, but I guess you have your ideas on what’s best.
Eat great food, make new memories, hugs are great, smile a lot and keep a tissue handy just in case you need it during those moments of reflection.
Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com.