Posts Tagged With: dice

DOWNSIZED THANKSGIVING.

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Instead of a full house at Thanksgiving, we managed a small gathering with seven people- our  hosts, Virginia and Cedric. Their son, Owen, is visiting Greece with his Grandma Olga, who speaks Greek and Russian. They canceled the Russian part of their trip due to the unrest in that country. I brought avocados and gumbo. Theo is the family expert on guacamole, so he immediately set to work.  I find it hard to believe that he got taller than me since the last time I saw him.

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Virginia put him to work, cutting the ends of the fresh green beans.

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Doug claims mashed potatoes and gravy is the best part of the feast. He brought two ten pound bags of potatoes and Cedric cheerfully peeled all twenty pounds of potatoes. The first batch is ready to cook.

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The second batch waits in a large kettle for space on the stove top. Doug also brought gobs of cookies-his specialty-and a to-die-for lasagna. I filled a container to bring some home and dang, it got left behind.

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Traditional turkey, smaller, and cooked split down the middle and flattened. A new method. The turkey cooks quicker and more evenly with breast not drying out by the time the legs are cooked. That also meant giving up the traditional stuffing. No one seemed to miss it.

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Cedric made gravy by roasting vegetables, onion, carrot, parsnips, mushrooms, and celery. The veggies were yummy and so was the gravy, mixed with the liquid from boiled giblets and de-glazed drippings from the turkey pan. I don’t think Cedric left the kitchen at all until it was time to eat.

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The guests were having a good time while all this work was going on. I taught Theo how to play cribbage and he beat me in a tight finish. Doug and I played Cribbage, cutthroat style.  There was a game of liars dice going around. My brother Norman watched and snacked.

 

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Jim was waiting for his turn, a challenge issued for a four-way game, Doug and Theo, he and I.  All too soon, it was time to skype Laurie, Ken and Mason.  Thanksgiving in their new house was downsized as well with just the three of them.  And Kristanne was alone in Las Vegas.  Her boys and their father are off to Idaho visiting their other grandmother. We could only hear her on the skype. We couldn’t get an image. But, everyone will be coming to Murphys for Christmas this year, just four short weeks away.

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Doug put together, “cranberry man”, which has become a tradition. He looks different every year. This is a tease because Cedric likes the old-fashioned jellied cranberry sauce over the home-made varieties most of us prefer.

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Meet cranberry man 2016 with a kiwi head.

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Doug traditionally carves the turkey, too.

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Jim took a family picture for us. We had corn bread, gumbo, persimmon, pear and pomegranate green salad, olive rolls, stir fry garlic green beans, baked sweet potatoes, home cured olives, olive tapanade and all the aforementioned delights. I’ve probably forgotten something, but I tasted everything.  For a downsized feast, it was awesome.

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Cedric made one pie. He always puts a decoration made with crust on his pies. This year, with the political situation, he made a scroll that represents the constitution with We The People engraved on the crust.

Virginia made her usual pear tart.  The dessert bar was overflowing with cookies, fudge brownies with plump fresh cranberries and candy.

Giving thanks for the good things of 2016, cherishing family and good health,  the predominant theme around the table. Life is good.

 

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CYBER ASSISTED THANKSGIVING

We have three main family get togethers per year Independence Day Reunion, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. At times we are splintered, like this year.

Traffic was sane for the two-hour drive to Virginia’s, and in time to see the turkey come out of the oven for a  turn over from breast side down, to breast side up.The smells greeted us on the driveway before we entered the house. Now that alone is a special joy.

It takes three people to turn an 18 pound hot bird safely.

Virginia did the first basting.

Doug was teaching the boys to play Risk, a game of armies and geography.

Jim and I  set out the snacks, quite a bit lower in fat  from former years;  dilled green beans, crackers and cheese, a bit of salami, chips and Texas caviar.

We brought a new game, LCR, a fun and fast-moving dice game. Non-stop table games in shifts went on all day between snacking and tending the bird. Virginia taught us two new dice games, Threes and High Or Low. Both, challenging and easy to learn. We like to choose games the whole family can play in which the kids are equal to an adult by age seven.

Close to dinner time, eleven year old Owen peeled the potatoes. Two days before, both boys cracked walnuts from my tree for the walnut pie that Cedric is famous for. When the boys were too little to reach the table, it was their job to grind the cranberries in my old-fashioned hand grinder. At some point Owen discovered peeling potatoes and opted for that job on his own.

The turkey rested for 40 minutes while the previously tenderized in the microwave beets and sweet potatoes were roasted in the oven, green beans stir fired, the gravy made, potatoes mashed, and the salads put together.

Doug carved the turkey.

The table was ready with three different kinds of cranberry sauce, but Cedric, who gets teased by his wife and brother-in-law, loves canned cranberries over the fresh any time.

Cranberries we all love at Thanksgiving;  the more the merrier.

With the magic of electronic communications, we still managed time with each other. Ken & Laurie spent Thanksgiving at home with their sons since Stewart, away at college as a freshman, came home for the first time in three months. It was comfortable talking with family members on the screen. Kristanne, too, connected by phone from Southern California.

A walk to the park in friendly California weather, the desserts and conversation until bedtime.  We all expressed our thankfulness for each other, and we realize how fortunate we are.

And I am  thankful for my cyber friends that follow my blog and give me input on my daily scribbles and photos. You put up with my rants and let me know when I’ve pleased you. Without you, my blog would not exist. Cheers to all of you in the blogging community.

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