Thursday, November 6, 2008
Thankful Heritage & giving thanks.
From my Grandfather & countless family members the lessons & savory teachings have lasted a lifetime.
I'm so thankful for my culinary memories & heritage which makes me yearn for the sweet & memorable meals for the past. There was an exquisite timing to Grandfather Harrington's perfect Sunday afternoon pot roasts. He taught me not to grab for the salt & pepper before tasting & savoring. Long before I understood; he imparted wisdom of watching the food as it cooked. He showed me that flavors either mellowed or reached the anticipated perfection. The experiences of seeing him in the kitchen or working in the restaurant showed me that if people enjoy the experience, food is almost secondary.
The women in my family later taught me that perfect baking measurements really matter but mistakes can be covered with mounds of icing & clouds of powdered sugar! The truly inspiring person in the family was my Mother who did wonders with simple ingredients turning every meal into an occasion. She taught my sister & I that food prepared with care for the family takes center stage even if you've made it a hundred times before. To this day my favorite meal is her fried chicken. My sister & I used to argue about who could have the chicken wishbone & then make a wish at the end of our meal as we broke it. (Does that sound strange & primitive to kids in 2008?)
My father's family had large holiday gatherings where boisterous groups of uncles, aunts & cousins would come together under one roof for a Texas size feast. At the appointed moment we were all drawn into the dining room at the ranch house towards what seemed like an endless buffet table loaded with turkey, stuffing, gravy & enough deserts to send a kid into orbit! It was difficult to concentrate when my Grandfather or some other family member said the Blessing & the kids waited to be served. (we always hoped the food wasn't growing cold & the prayer wasn't too long...) After the meal the adults retired to talk, play the traditional Texas game of "42" & kids could roam & play. The serious discussions of religion or politics always waited till after the food had digested. As we draw towards Thanksgiving 2008 the serious business of politics has finally been settled even if it has worn us out with months of pre election babble. For this I am truly thankful!! I look forward to some much needed family time. Now with my own family, I realize time is to be savored as much as the finest of wines. I hope my daughters realize the rich heritage they have inherited. Let the culinary heritage continue & the memories deepen. Family is a rich & sentimental mix! Cooking & family: blessed be the ties that bind throughout the South!