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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Mysteries of the Thanksgiving Meal

If one were a visitor to this country, I could only imagine what they would think when entering any grocery store this time of year.  Stacked in every aisle would be piles of canned goods, but how were the ingredients to be used or combined?  Gravy, green beans, yams, minestrone soup, stuffing, pumpkin, coffee creamer, baking supplies—was this a vegetarian holiday?

And how would they know that the french-fried onion rings belonged on top of the veggies, and not, say, floating in the soup?

Benedetto was turned off by all of it.  He could not understand odd traditions that combined strange food groups.

“Why would anyone place marshmallows on top of ‘sweet’ potatoes?  They’re SWEET already.  If you want your potatoes to be sweet, then put the fluff on top of a regular, white potato–.”

“Eeeewww!!!” exclaimed the children, unsure of this combo, but happy to try to the marshallow version of sweet potatoes, if only their meanie parents would allow it.

Instead, they had to suffer with acorn and butternut soup with a balsamic-maple syrup reduction glaze, and other delicacies that Benedetto and I chose to whip up, ignoring that our children were timid teens, and trying to turn them into intrepid gastronomes, instead.

Good luck with that.

“Brussel sprouts?” the girls started, eyes narrowing, as they watched us unload grocery bags.

“Choux de Bruxelles,” I explained in French.  Everything sounded better in French.

“Mini cabbages from Brussels.  You like ‘kapustah’, dah?  How can a Russian not like cabbage?  Saute’ with some diced onion and turkey bacon, and voila`, even a 4-year-old would love it.”

Unfortunately, the 14-year-old was not buying the story.

Let’s face it:  our refined palates had to compete with their palates-in-the-rough.  And never the twain shall meet.  Some of them didn’t even like apple pie or pumpkin pie, not to mention any type of cranberry.  Oh well, more for me.

The turkey we could count on.  Hallelujah for meat.  The stuffing had more than a fighting chance, as long as I threw some sausage in it.  Mushrooms, I would need to finely dice, in order to hide them.

And it wasn’t even that the kids did not enjoy veggies—they loved mushroom soup, and raw apples, and even brussel sprouts chopped in a stew—but dish them up in some other form and they moved into fear and trembling, if not shock and awe.

No matter what, it was going to be a good holiday.  I think that this was why “children’s tables” were first instituted at family get-togethers, so that the children and adults could both eat in peace.  Then, we could all give thanks.



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