November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Story

1948: Grandma and grandpa on the back porch of their San Diego apartment.

I loved my grandmother dearly.  She loved me back unconditionally.

Our family spent many Thanksgivings in grandma’s small apartment, and she made a great effort to serve us a truly traditional meal.  I know now she had grown tired of cooking.  As her husband progressed up the University ladder, she hosted many meals for the faculties and staff of several universities.  By the time I came along, grandpa was very ill, and they were reduced to living on a pittance.  Medical bills took it all.

She would serve a turkey, stuffing, two kinds of potatoes, onions in a crème sauce, peas, Brussel sprouts, rolls, and two kinds of pie that’s she baked herself with two kinds of whipped cream.  I remember two things about these special days.  She would keep her oven door closed with a broom stick, and her stuffing was the best stuff I ever had.

For years I tried to duplicate her stuffing.  More butter, less butter, chicken soup, no chicken soup…always with minced onion, dried bread, sage, and celery.  The basic stuffing.  Mother added chestnuts or oysters to hers, but I wanted the flavors of my childhood.

One year when we were in the Lotus Street cottage, I was mixing the Thanksgiving stuffing on an extra small counter.  My hands were greasy.  The saltcellar slipped into the stuffing bowl.  I hurriedly scooped as much salt as I could from the bread bits, stuffed and roasted the bird.  When it came out of the oven, that stuffing tasted just like my grandma’s.  Exactly.

I’ve laughed about it ever since.  I didn't know my grandmother over-salted everything, but she did an especially good job of salting my Thanksgiving memories.


  1. Here's to our grandmother's and their cooking, and good memories. Happy Thanksgiving Mage.

  2. I love your story, a sweet memory of your grandmother. Any more to come? I hope so! This one was beautiful.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  3. Love the story. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I like your TG memory, even if I find it in-SALT-ing. (Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself. :)

    As for previous posts, yes, the internet continues to change life. We never watch local news but I sometimes catch out national news on our news channels at night. They are actually pretty good -- but nothing local, of course.

  5. How super to find the secret so randomly. I'll bet she had a quiet smile.


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