Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

11/23/21 - posted by Frank Dunnigan

Ah, Tim--thank you for resurrecting the dear old Message Boards. I don't think there has ever before been a 2-1/2 month period with no new posts!

Thanksgiving is definitely a time of traditions--culinary and otherwise. I'm still making Mom's Mandarin Orange Salad that has been a staple since it first appeared in a 1967 St. Cecilia Parish cookbook. I also stuff the turkey with a pretty basic dressing (croutons, onion, celery, parsley, chicken broth, and poultry seasoning). My friend Mary is bringing her husband's grandmother's stuffing with sausage and spinach, and when my cousin Dennis arrives, he will make two of his fantastic pecan pies (one to be double-wrapped in foil and frozen until Christmas). Cousin Tip always makes a cassoulet for a pre-holiday dinner of cannellini beans, hot and mild Italian sausage, and cherry tomatoes. When my cousin Kathy from St. Helena was with us, she always brought a home-made lemon meringue pie--a wonderful palate cleanser after a big meal. We always go light on hors d'oeuvres (olives and celery stick stuffed with cheese) because I can still hear Grandma's admonition from so long ago, "Now don't go spoiling your appetite for dinner!"

Glad to hear that others are also passing on the Christmas decorations within the family. With 30+ years of retail under my belt, I also have way too many ornaments purchased at 50% off on the 26th of every December. I weeded out the duplicates more than a dozen years ago, but still have too many to fit onto the tree. This will be the year that I do some strategic sorting and distributing to the younger generations.

This year, I've also been sorting and scanning old family photos, and sending copies to many cousins and old family friends who have gathered around our family's table over the past half-century or more. It's funny--I don't think we've EVER had exactly the same crowd twice. Some are surely regulars, while others are a part of the festivities for a while, and there are one or two new folks every year. The passing of my eldest first cousin earlier this year at age 80 led me to send electronic photo albums of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays past to several family members.

Whatever readers are doing, remember to enjoy time with others and keep some photographic or written reminders for the future.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.