Lists and memories are on my mind

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It’s the second Friday of November and we’re down to two weeks.  And for that reason, I’ve pulled out my orange folder full of Thanksgivings pasts.  This old file folder is what keeps me on track for Thanksgiving.

One year, possibly 1995, for some reason I kept my Thanksgiving notes, grocery lists, and menus. And have ever since.  Every year I compose my major list the same way with paper turned horizontally and two rows of underlined headings written across the page:  fresh, canned, dry, meat, frozen, dairy, paper, cleaners, and other.  It works well and I actually enjoy looking back over these grocery lists…comes from being a dietitian I guess…and a Thanksgiving host.

My folder also holds each year’s menu, though not much has changed, except who’s bringing what.  I could get rather teary-eyed over this, but I’m not. I’m thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives who made our Thanksgiving dinners special and delicious, too, over the years  Let’s see, there were Aunt Char’s infamous rolls, GaGa’s (my grandmother) pecan pie, Mom’s (DW’s mom) sugar plum pudding and cranberry sauce, Miss Effie’s (DW’s grandmother) jam cake, Pam’s (DW’s niece-in-law) stuffed eggs and the coconut cake that her mother would always send.  My daddy brought my momma who made the dressing and she will this year too. Now, though, my sister is her designated driver and Zachary is her sous chef. They mix up a dish pan full of dressing from all the ingredients I’ve assembled and get (and take) all the accolades! As, they should.

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It’s sweet to note new names added to my lists, those who joined our family and Thanksgiving traditions.  After the boys grew up, made their own homes, and returned for the holiday, the grocery list grew to include a Wednesday night family supper, too. Most often I’d smoke, or purchase, a Boston butt for BBQ sandwiches; once we had hot roast beef sandwiches, and looks like one time I ordered out for pizza.  And the Thanksgiving before they married, Nicholas and Laura hosted our Wednesday night supper at his barn residence at the Cole’s farm. We invited the new youth minister and his wife from church to join us and watched the movie Up!

When James joined our family, he didn’t know what to make of all the Thanksgiving hubbub, but he quickly learned to make himself at home with his new family and was immediately drafted as DW’s helper at the sink after the crowd left and I crashed on the couch. Lots of good conversation took place over that sink.

Once I set up my greenhouse for our Wednesday night supper.  What plants I had moved in I moved out (the weather was nice).  A table, chairs, and candles, and I felt like Martha Stewart!  Laura and Kristine helped out with more good food, and not much later Kathleen joined our merry group with chocolate truffles in hand which DW thought were just for him.  And soon thereafter my lists started including snacks, apple juice, and cereal for the grandchildren…. A grocery list can tell a lot about the house and family it comes from. Who knew there would be such memories in an old grocery list?

Fresh is last. So, finish out your shopping with perishables this week and enjoy the moment! Shop for fresh produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, meats, and fresh turkey or hen if you prefer, last-minute items and something for Wednesday night supper. I remember so well enjoying waiting in the old Piggly Wiggly store for green onions while they were being unloaded as Nancy Bridges and I visited in the produce corner, both of us only lacking the green onions from our lists. Another sweet holiday moment.

Regrettably, the only thing lacking in my old orange folder is a record of all who came to our Thanksgiving dinners, though I pretty much have all the numbers.  Once I bought a guest book but forgot to put it out.  I so wish I had, I’d enjoy looking at all the signatures of all those who joined us over the years.  This year the old book (I found it while moving.) is coming out because one day that orange folder and guest book will be passed on to another lucky Walker family member to carry on our Thanksgiving tradition, but no time soon!   Get your grocery shopping done and don’t forget the green onions.

Recipe of the Week

Wild Rice Soup

So good for a pre-Thanksgiving supper, add a veggie tray and toasted French bread

1-pound bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled

1 (8 ounce) box wild rice mix

1 (10 ¾ ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

3 (10 ¾ ounce) cans cream of potato soup

3 (10 ¾ ounce) cans chicken broth

8 ounces processed cheese spread, cubed

1-pint half & half

Chopped green onions, optional

Set cooked bacon aside. Cook rice mix according to directions on box. In a large pan combine cooked rice, soups, broth and processed cheese. Heat thoroughly stirring often. Simmer 30 minutes.  Stir in half & half and crumbled bacon just before serving.  Sprinkle each serving with green onions. Yield: 16 servings.  NOTE:  Low-fat and low sodium versions of milk, cheese & soups can be used to decrease fat and sodium content.