Thanksgiving clichés make great traditions
Talk’s cheap. As my children can tell you (complete with some serious eye-rolling), that’s one of my favorite sayings — or clichés, if you prefer. Somehow things I observe around the holidays bring these thoughts to mind over and over.
For instance, “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything.”
With Thanksgiving coming up, nearly all of us can remember this or that holiday when some invited guest, family or otherwise, talked on and on until he or she sucked the air right out of the room.
Either sister Samantha bored you stupid with the exploits of her children (who are all, by the way, geniuses) or uncle Phredd again cornered someone and relived his athletic feats from school days long past (26 years and counting).
Have you ever heard “Better to say nothing and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt?”
Around the holidays especially, we’ve all seen wound-up children (at a restaurant, of course, and never in a group of which we’re a part) chasing each other, changing course too fast and dealing a glancing blow to someone’s aunt Gertie (who is not too steady on the best of days).
The inevitable spilling of the eggnog sets up this year’s slip-sliding contest — brought quickly to a halt by a group of curmudgeonly adults.
This classic scenario is usually staged with good humor and a great deal of loud laughter, followed by tears and recriminations as somebody sustains bruised feelings or body parts. Why have a gang of cousins around once or twice a year if a guy can’t point a finger at some of them when he needs a scapegoat?
What more familiar cliché is there than 15 hungry people milling around with the succulent smell of a turkey that refuses to get done? (I thought somebody said “Cocktails at 2:00, dinner at 3:00.”) When you finally sit down and pass the contrary bird, whose juices boiled away an hour or so ago, you realize you are faced with that most dreaded of Thanksgiving sins — the turkey is dry. Not to fear, however, in the most cliché save of all, gallons of gravy prove their worth year after year.
The final cliché, of course, occurs an hour later, as the same 15 people are slumped in their seats at the holiday table, the remains of the deconstructed meal in front of them, turkey tryptophan coursing through everyone’s system.
At that point, sure as God made little green apples, someone will speak up: “I’m…so…full.”
Thanksgiving comes but once a year. I hope you’ll enjoy your family, food and time together the way I look forward to enjoying mine. Here’s a little something that’s a classic at our Thanksgiving table to add to that full feeling on Thursday evening.
MOM’S PECAN PIE
(A yummy cliché)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar (not firmly packed)
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (minus 1 inch) butter
1 cup pecan halves
1 unbaked deep-dish pie shell
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except butter and pecans. Melt butter and add to mixture. Add pecans. Pour into pie shell; bake in preheated oven 40-45 minutes. Center of the pie should rise slightly when done.
There is no Karo syrup in this pie. It will not “stick to the roof of your mouth.”
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org