No – that’s not what I’m having today, but I do remember when I was in the 5th grade we had this. I wish I could ask my Mother why we did it that year. But, that will remain one of those unanswered questions.Growing up we only had fried shrimp as a special treat, maybe on birthdays. It was considered expensive, plus I had an older brother that could eat a whole box by himself. I’m not sure if “fresh” seafood was even available anywhere near us. The fresh catfish usually came from what someone caught or buying it from a local pond.
This time of year is when you reflect back and “remember”, they may not be accurate but it’s how I remember them.
Usually there was just the 5 of us, but after we moved to Arkansas, my Great Aunt and Uncle, Ti & Bill, would be there.
Mom would start the cooking a few days ahead of time – making the cornbread and drying the bread for dressing, cooking chicken parts for the broth, cleaning celery, making the German Chocolate Cake, and cooking sweet potatoes. She always got up early on Thanksgiving morning to put the turkey on so there would be room in the oven for the other things later in the day.
My Dad and brother would usually go hunting since it was a major sport instead of football.
The menu consisted of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato balls, dumplings (sometimes), green beans (not a casserole), rolls (usually the brown and serve), apple salad (which I learned later was Waldorf), German Chocolate Cake, and pumpkin pie.
The sweet potato balls were always a fancy dish to me – which I keep saying I’m going to make again one of these days. They were mashed sweet potatoes wrapped around a marshmallow, then rolled in corn flake crumbs. Baked and served hot so the marshmallows were gooey. The other years it might just be candied sweet potatoes.
I never considered us having much money – we always lived in nice house which was rented, food on the table and new clothes. My Mom did sew a lot our clothes which is where I grew my love of sewing.
Growing up in small towns and farming communities there was a lot of what I called poor people – I don’t know if I realized it at the time, but no matter what we had, my Mom would always give to others, even if it was just a plate of fudge, or a small bag of groceries for their Thanksgiving.
I thought some of my relatives were rich – they lived in bigger houses, had more than one phone, and went on vacations, not just to relatives. And, they could get more than one channel on their TV – these were days long before cable.
Although I thought they were rich, I never felt poor. We had good family times and Mom always worked to make the holidays a special time for us.
As I think of my family now, my son probably would have loved to have fried shrimp for Thanksgiving. He never started eating dressing until he was about 20.
So what’s some of your more unusual memories of Thanksgiving?
Now off to the kitchen.
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