It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I’m still curled up under a blanket. This afternoon, we’ll go to my cousin’s house, to have Thanksgiving dinner with part of our extended family. I don’t normally cook the big meal on the actual holiday, as we typically go to my mom’s house. I usually get a turkey breast, and we do our own Thanksgiving dinner later in the weekend.
I’ve probably shared this before; but, as my grandmother is always on my mind around the holidays, I thought I would share a laugh.
When I was a little girl, our family all lived very close together. My grandparents and one of my mom’s sisters lived within walking distance of our house. I was in the same classes as my cousin, Tom. The other aunts, uncles, and cousins were all within a short distance. Thanksgiving was a very large get-together, with lots of food, more alcohol, and kids in and out of my grandparents’ eclectic home.
My grandmother would make the turkey and the stuffing, and others would be assigned various side dishes. With eleven grandchildren, and 110 fingers between them, there were never too many cans of black olives.
With time, we moved to Colorado, and other parts of the family spread out, as well. Thanksgivings got smaller, but the recipes were shared.
Cut to my first attempt at cooking a turkey and making my own Thanksgiving dinner in our new house.
I had planned out the meal, but needed to get my grandmother’s directions for stuffing. I didn’t care for stuffing; but, it was tradition…we had to have a small batch to go with the bird.
I called my grandmother, and after chatting for a bit, I asked for her recipe. Bread, bacon, onion, celery, chicken stock, spices…check, check, check.
“How much vermouth?”
Silence…then, my grandmother asked, “What?”
“Vermouth. How much vermouth do you put into the stuffing?”
“Why in the world would you put vermouth into the stuffing?”
“My mom puts vermouth in…doesn’t she make it the same way you do?”
“There’s no vermouth in stuffing!”
Suddenly, my grandmother burst out laughing.
“I don’t even like stuffing…I don’t like vermouth,” I said, sending my grandmother into another fit of hysterics.
Apparently, during one of those hip, happening celebrations back in the sixties, the martinis had started flowing early in the cooking process. A little vermouth in the martini, a little in the stuffing…my mom had seen this, and thought that it was part of the recipe.
I hung up the phone, my grandmother’s giggles ringing in my ear, and called my mother.
“Do you know there is NO vermouth in stuffing?” I demanded.
My mother was as confused as I had been. I relayed my conversation to her, and we both laughed.
From that point on, vermouth-less stuffing has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!
I can’t ever think about Thanksgiving without remembering those days back in the seventies, playing with my cousins, getting underfoot in the kitchen, and celebrating with my family.
To my family, and all of my friends near and far, I love you, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you!