Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Day Troubles - Installment #6

There are many downfalls to living 1000 miles away from your family like I do. And not surprisingly, the biggest downfall is the Holidays without them. Forrest and I have been lucky enough to travel home during some holidays, but we always stay in DC for Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is a hard holiday to be away from home. I miss decorating the table at my parents' house, I miss waking up early and watching the Macy's Parade with the other early risers, I miss my niece and nephew's expressions as they sit down to their pint sized table we have set especially for them, I miss the annual Kris Kringle name pull after dinner, and I miss my Daddy's annual declaration of "You really outdid yourself this year, Momma!" But the one thing I miss most every Thanksgiving away from home is- my Momma. She is an amazing creature in the kitchen and Thanksgiving is one of her times to shine. She cooks every single dish we eat including the turkey and does it all without a single recipe. She doesn't get stressed, she doesn't appear flustered, and she always has it ready right on time. The menu remains the same each year, but the dishes are deliciously consistent. Every year you know what you are about to experience as you settle down to the table with your overflowing plate. I admire her composure and her ability to perform what she so aptly defined once as "mommering". Mommering is the ability in any situation to do something that seems superhuman. It is that admirable quality to swoop in during what seems to be some of the most hectic situations and gain immediate control. The ability to put the metaphoric band-aid on any problem. But you can only posses these powers if you are in fact a momma - and that I am not!

So as I prepped for my first big Thanksgiving dinner I am cooking alone, I called my mom several times in order for her to execute a little mommering. She guided me through prepping the turkey - telling me to calm down or I would have a stroke (I am not nearly as calm or composed as my dear mother). She helped me determine cooking times and schedules for my dishes and she listened as I revealed every single miniscule detail from my recipes to my supermarket excursions.

As I sit here on this Thanksgiving-Eve I can't help but feel a little saddened. Saddened by the fact that I will not wake up tomorrow and stumble into the kitchen to find my mother in her red striped apron, chopping away, listening to country music, and trying to convince my Daddy to join her for a glass of wine.

It seems very fitting to finish my Turkey Day Trouble Installments off by talking about my mother. She is, after all, the person who inspired this recurring series. I wanted to share a couple pictures of this precious turkey shaped butter I picked up today at the grocery. What does this bird butter have to do with my mother? Well nothing really, except for the fact that as I placed it in my basket I couldn't help but think how ridiculous she would have told me I was being for buying butter shaped like poultry that cost twice as much as a pound of regular butter. She is very practical (I guess that is a good counterpart to "calm and in control") and she would have laughed at my extravagance. But it was too cute to pass up!

I also included some pics of my table setting from my last Thanksgiving in New Orleans:

And my table setting for my Thanksgiving Dinner Tomorrow (a much smaller table, much more cramped):


Allie said...

I am crying like a baby!!!
I just finished prepping things for the 2 little dishes that I will be contributing to tomorrow's Big Turkey Day! I have been stressed all night as I do not normally cook for any occasion, much less THANKSGIVING! I am 'thankful' for your post tonight because it made me stop and consider all the crazy things, sayings, and events that make this family absolutely AMAZING!! I am also 'thankful' to be a part of all the insanity.
You will be greatly missed tomorrow! And don't you worry... Mommer will not be drinking alone!

Gabriela said...

A most beautiful and well deserved ode to Momma. Well done, my friend - well done.

P.S. Both table settings are oozing with elegance and I adore your little turkey molded butter.

Many blessings to you, Forrest, and your respective families.

mom said...

Elizabeth, you humble me. "Mommering" as you call it, isn't something one develops, I think it is a God-given trait. I love "mommering" to my most amazing group of children. I can remember watching each of you sleeping and being proud that you were breathing. You had to do nothing except breath to swell my breast with pride. Now, that you are all adults, I know that my purpose in life was to mother. I know by each of your successes, that I have performed a job well done. But you guys were so loving and so amazing that it was not a job but a journey.....and what a journey it was and continues to be. And, in deference to you.....before you came into adulthood, not only did I not set such a stupendous table, I had never used my wedding china. You lifted us to a more sophisticated level. Martha Steward, I'm not. You will be missed today, as you are missed everyday. And off I go to try to persuade your dad to join me in a glass of wine. I love you, child.

MaryBeth said...

Both of your table settings look great, I too would have purchased the turkey butter just because it was cute. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Somni said...

I came here via tastespotting.. lovely post and the comment from your mom brought tears to my eyes. :)

Laila said...

I've had to miss the last two thanksgivings with my family as I am on the other side of the world. It really is a difficult holiday to be alone on, even though I was the only one who was ever excited about it! Sweet comment from your Mom, makes me miss mine terribly.

By the way, I bought that same "turkey" butter a couple years ago and my Mom gave me a great eye roll when she saw the receipt :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post.

Your friend,

gaga said...

Wow, that butter is so cute and your tablescape is gorgeous. It must've been a beautiful, elegant dinner.

Anonymous said...

Your table is beautiful! I love the colors and the napkin rings are TOO CUTE!! Looks like a LOVELY thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Hello Elizabeth,
While I am a guy, i share the memories of home and family and my Grandparents home. Your turkey was perfect and a stroke of decorating genius. My Grandmother always had one and I never did learn where she had found them or the mold she had used. That longing brought me to the point of finding an antique bisque Turkey butter mold, but now the issue is managing to get it out whole. The mold came without instructions and is in two pieces and I softened the butter and put it into the mold and then froze it for 30 min, but for some reason it seems to want to stick to the mold when I try to open it. As the mold is antique, I was afraid to try to warm it to loosen the butter shape.
So, would you or any of your readers have a suggestion for easing the form out of the mold? Thanks for the consideration and hope you are able to be "home" this year.