Our family decided to kick start the holiday season the weekend before Thanksgiving and it was so much fun. Everyone brought sides and shared recipes and, of course, sat around and talked about our favorite memories. Isn’t it funny how the taste of a cookie, pie, cranberry sauce or fudge cake brings back so many memories? Going home for Christmas meant we all got together at my parent’s farm in Smithville, Texas and had fun! As I got older, I realized my mom cooked and decorated for a week getting ready for all of us to embark on the house. We all loved the pumpkin bread she would slice, butter and toast in the oven. That is the recipe I make every year to kick start my holiday season.
We were not a wealthy family at all, but you would have never known that to see the spread of food we had out for a holiday weekend. One of our favorites was, and still is, Mema’s Fudge Cake. This was the best ever Texas sheet cake recipe. It was too rich to eat a big slice so she would leave it on the table in the den with a knife in it and napkins close by. Each of us would stop by that pan and sneak a little square of fudge cake. There is something special about how all the calories go away of no one sees you eat it. Within 24 hours, the pan was empty, but there were still so many cookies, fudge, cakes, pies and snacks that no one went hungry.
I made the fudge cake last weekend for our family fun day and the same thing happened. No one saw anyone take a bite, but it disappeared. We also shared a lot the old recipes. Another one that is so good is my sister’s homemade cranberry sauce. When I was growing up cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving was that jelled cranberry that came out of the can (with the ridges on it) and y mom would slice it and place it on a fancy dish. I believe my dad was really the only person who liked it. Most of us thought it was disgusting. My sister started bringing her cranberry sauce and it is delicious. Simply and something you can use after Thanksgiving on an English muffin or toast. We made way too much one year and drizzled it over a homemade cheesecake. Yummy!!
As our family grew and kids got married they brought their own traditions. We have gotten to the point where we have to make two different types of dressing, two different types of sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and fresh green beans sautéed, so many pies and cakes and the list goes on and on. It is so much fun to watch them all come together for a family feast of good food and memories. And, yes, our holiday feasts extend far beyond our immediate family to inlaws (and a few outlaws), neighbors and our wonderful friends. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and I do not hesitate when I say “I am thankful for all of my wonderful friends and family and the many memories we have all made together along the road of life”. Raise a glass and share my toast to each of you and the memories we have made and the many more we will make together soon!