Where’s The Turkey… by JoAnn

A table with plates and napkins on it.

My favorite dinner of all time has got to be the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Complete with a delicious roast turkey and all the sides the kitchen counter, stove top, and dinner table can hold. Bring it on!

Don’t get me wrong, I love ham. I’m a southern girl, and I’ve eaten quite a bit of smoked pork in my lifetime. And being a southern cook, I realize that ham is much easier and more economical to cook for a holiday dinner. But what if you are invited to a big holiday celebration and realize there is a HAM in the oven instead of roast turkey? Just please, not for Thanksgiving!

Is it even Thanksgiving day without a turkey roasting in the oven? The aroma of all that deliciousness wafted throughout the entire house. I would rather postpone the day altogether and celebrate when a turkey is available. That is how serious I am.

Growing up, I would awake on Thanksgiving day to the smell of roast turkey. My mama would have been up for hours already, getting an early start to a morning filled with cooking. The distinctness of the turkey, along with the smell of my favorite dressing, was something I looked forward to all year. My mama made the best dressing I have ever eaten. It was so very flavorful and never dry. I have never been able to duplicate it. She had a special flare to her dressing. It was the star of the dinner, and no turkey was complete without it.

Perhaps my upbringing, once again, spoiled me. How could I ever embrace any other type of Thanksgiving dinner when the one my mother provided us was so perfect. Of course, my brain returns to that beautiful memory and longs for an encore. And while I raised my own family, I did indeed try my best to replicate my mama’s Thanksgiving dinner. I did a decent job most years, and no one ever complained. However, my older sister nailed it! She wasn’t even the one interested in cooking growing up. Yet she can make a holiday dinner most reminiscent of our mama’s.

After my daughters were grown and I became an empty nester, the holiday cooking torch was passed along to my oldest at her request. She loves to cook and has a family of her own to impress. She does an excellent job. Yes, I miss cooking sometimes, but the older I get, the more it becomes a job rather than something I enjoy. My daughter still enjoys the dance of it all. Watching her makes me long for the days when cooking a big dinner for loved ones was a joy. I miss it.

Wherever you are on this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you find joy and a full belly. And you can relive a little bit of the wonderful memories you have of past holidays. I am looking forward to being invited to a loved one’s home, and I expect to be hit with the fragrance of roast turkey when I walk through their door. I will also try to prepare myself for disappointment if I’m hit with the aroma of smoked pig instead.

Happy Thanksgiving!