Remembering Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is so much about family traditions – like baking pies – two of the pie tins go back to the mid-1950s…

….getting out the 1952 wedding china….

…my oldest daughter embroidered the tablecloth in the 1960s…

….having the youngest kids check out the turkey.

This tradition began in the mid-1950s with my two pre-school children posing for the movie camera, gently poking the turkey with large forks to see if it was done.  It continued with another son and daughter in the 1960s and 1970s and now the youngest grandchildren are somewhat bewildered looking at the turkey.  Grandson is happily contemplating turkey breast, cranberry sauce and apple pie.  Granddaughter doesn’t eat anything.

We had a good Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving

My doll table magically held a full Thanksgiving dinner this morning, thanks to my daughter’s skill with clay.  There are all of our favorites – a big turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and apple pie.  It would save me a lot of time if the meal could appear by magic today on my dining room table, but then I wouldn’t have the fun of getting everything together for my family once again (the 60th Thanksgiving dinner I’ve cooked).

Cranberry Cake and Brandy Sauce

This dessert was adapted from a recipe on AllRecipes.com.  I first made it for Christmas dinner in 2004 and my daughter and I loved it.  The original was for a large bundt cake and I cut the recipe in half to make this version which I bake in an antique 7-inch tube pan.  It could also be baked in a 9-inch loaf pan.

CRANBERRY CAKE AND BRANDY SAUCE


Cake

  • 3 Tblsp. butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
  • 6 oz fresh cranberries

Sauce:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tblsp. brandy

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease/flour 7-inch tube pan or 9-inch loaf pan.

To make the cake
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar.  In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients.  Beat flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with evaporated milk, beginning and ending with flour.   Stir in cranberries.


Pour into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes @ 325 degrees F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (loaf pan may take longer).

Let cool in pan 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

To make the sauce:
In a small pan combine the butter, sugar and cream.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in brandy.  Drizzle warm sauce over slices of cake.

The sauce is quite rich and this amount is just right for drizzling over 6 individual slices of cake.

6 servings

It’s Turkey Time in my November Kitchen

Turkeys are the main attraction in my November kitchen, accompanied by some pilgrims and other fall decorations.

The shelves on either side of the window over my sink hold some turkey items…l


The big rustic shelf holds a painting I did on enamelware and two vintage turkey candles.

The middle shelf has some small vintage pilgrim candles…



…and on the bottom shelf are a turkey tile and some more candles.

My doll table is decked out with a crocheted-edge tablecloth, silverware and plates, plus a miniature turkey and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

On the walls are a cross-stitch piece that my daughter-in-law did for me….

…a quilted turkey wall hanging I made several years ago…

…a pilgrim enamelware platter that I painted in 1996…

…and a patchwork wall hanging with my favorite Rockwell Thanksgiving picture.

It won’t be long until I’ll be buying the real turkey to stuff and roast for my family once again.

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A 70s Turkey Mini-Quilt Table Topper

When I gave my youngest daughter a mini-quilt and rack for her anniversary in October, I knew I would be making some more mini-quilts for her.  I wanted to give her something with a Thanksgiving theme and remembered a pattern I had picked up in Ohio Amish country several years ago.  It’s a fused turkey design that I used to make a wall hanging.

Since my daughter is definitely a child of the 70s, I made up a mini-quilt for her with a very cool turkey, using all of the frantic 70s fabrics left over from other projects I’ve done for her.

I used wide black zigzag stitches to give it an even wilder and crazier 70s look.

Of course, she loved it and it’s in her family room along with a big stuffed orange and green owl and some other 70s stuff.

The pattern is by Becky and Me, #T-1044.  Address:  5811 Valley Ave. E, Fife WA 98424 – (253) 380-2284.

Thanksgiving, 1964

Throughout the years while I was raising my four kids (beginning in 1954), I kept a journal where I periodically made notes about holidays, school, vacations, etc.  As an occasion arises where I think one of my journal entries would be pertinent, I’m going to post it just as I wrote or typed it back in the day (except for an explanatory note or correction of a typo).  

The children will be known here by the nicknames their grandfather used when they were toddlers:  The oldest daughter will be Newsie (because she was as good as a newspaper for finding out the latest happenings), the oldest son is Bar (because he called Grandpa’s truck Bar and Grandpa called him Bar), the youngest son is Jackson, and the youngest daughter is Shanty (as in Shanty-Boat).

This journal entry was made 6 years before Shanty was born.  We were living in a 1922 house on Maple Drive in Oakley, a suburb of Cincinnati.  My mother and father lived at the other end of Maple Drive.

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1964

Bar, 8 years of age, and Newsie, age 10

Jackson, 4 years old

The afternoon sun is bright as it shines on the white birch in the backyard.  A gaudy red cardinal perches on the fence while his earth-brown mate pecks at the grass.  A great pile of leaves is heaped at the entrance to the hollow, waiting patiently for a push into the woods below.  The houses across the hollow are in clear view now that the leaves are gone and our forest of the summer has become an autumn canyon.

Dinner is over and the dishes washed and put away.  The turkey was golden brown and only lost its two wings in its transport from roasting pan to platter.  The potatoes were perfect, according to Newsie, and the rolls, light.  We all ate too much, as usual, while Penny (our dog) whined in the basement, eager to get her share of the feast.

When I look back on Thanksgiving, 1964, I’ll probably remember Newsie busily toasting bread and cutting it into cubes for the dressing; Jackson putting great slabs of turkey on a roll with radishes and making a sandwich; Bar, in his football helmet, either playing football in the street in front of the house or watching the game on television; Frank (husband) lounging on the floor in front of the television after consuming an enormous helping of everything on the dinner table; Grandpa coming through the back door into the kitchen carrying a bowl of half-beaten whipped cream for me to finish up after their mixer had broken; the parades in the morning on TV, the aroma of roast turkey filling the house, the frenzy of getting everything on the table at once, the feeling of gratitude for everything I have.

Lillian – Thanksgiving Day, 1964

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Happy Thanksgiving

In the 1990s, my oldest daughter and I had a booth at a large craft mall which we kept supplied with a variety of handmade crafts.  My interest was in decorative painting.  I liked to scour antique malls and thrift shops to find old wooden or enamelware items to paint and sold hundreds of pieces over the years.

Fast forward to 2010 and a walk through the Ohio Valley Antique Mall in Fairfield, Ohio (near Cincinnati).  In one of their beautifully decorated booths, I saw a familiar object….an enamelware platter that I had painted in 1996.  I had adapted the design from a picture in a school textbook, simplifying it and adding a few items.

I had painted the design on several projects through the years but had never kept one for myself.   A week before Thanksgiving, this old platter seemed to call to me to take it back home, so I bought it and after 14 years, it’s on display in my living room.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY.

Granddaughter at her First Grade Thanksgiving Dinner