Green Beans and Memories
Favorite thanksgiving food: is it the sides, the main course or the desserts? For me, it wasn’t the food per se, it was the anticipation, atmosphere, and the presentation that came from the annual meal. My Thanksgivings were pretty epic. We are a blended family so several stops in the day meant that my sister and I were strategic in our selections at the table.
In the morning, we would anxiously wait until the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was over to venture to my Grandma Kolar’s house to partake in a traditional meal that could have fed an army. The platters were two-by-two and overflowing the counters.
I would sample a bit off the top of the honey ham or maybe sneak a buttered roll while Grandma got every detail in its place. Even the linens were pressed at the kids’ table (bonus points for Grandma). It smelled and tasted wonderful but moreover, it felt wonderful.
Grandma and Grandpa were a great team. He would grow the green beans and she would prepare them.”
Then it was off to my McCord side of the family. Funny and boisterous, my Aunt Cindy would host the next stop, most years. The house was abundant with cousins and laughter. Grandpa McCord would fill the room with huge hugs and scruffy kisses while sweet Grandma would work tirelessly in the background.
Grandma and Grandpa were a great team. He would grow the green beans and she would prepare them. So well in fact, that they were rationed out to each of us. The love in the room was palpable. It was the atmosphere that was the star and that feeling was doubled when my dad could make it to town.
My father could make any meal grand, so holidays with him were coveted. He was a master at making the simplest things glorious. With a few ingredients he could turn the plain, ‘not-a-crowd-favorite’ Brussels sprouts into a bright side dish that even the kids would try. He taught me that a convoluted recipe does not necessarily equal great; that modest, most times, is best.
His contributions to our Thanksgiving meals were through thoughtful ingredients, down to earth presentations and furthermore they were educational. These lessons have now made their way into my traditions with my daughter.
Our Thanksgivings have always been beyond the phenomenal food. We used the dishes to fill our plates, but the people to fill our memory banks.
The food helped to create the atmosphere that we craved even more than Grandma and Grandpa McCord’s green beans.
What is your favorite food memory?
Photo Credit: Craig McCord
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