Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Turkey, football, pie. My little family is no exception. Our own little traditions would seem odd to some, but to us, this holiday wouldn’t be complete without a few things: meatloaf, cribbage, and disaster films.
When we make meatloaf, we go all out. I mean, we make a HUGE meatloaf, Laura Vitale style. We hunt down brown sugar, search out ketchup, size up fat content in the ground beef. We make sure the glaze is absolutely 100% exactly the right flavor AND the right color. Not too red, not too brown. Now too sweet, not too acidic.
While the meatloaf is cooking, we hit the cribbage board. After a while, the same air that is blossoming with shouts of “15 for 2!” are now being permeated with the comforting aroma of our meatloaf cooking.
Time to make the potatoes. Mashed, of course. Three huge fat russets peeled, cubed and boiled. We mix and mash with a wooden spoon to keep them lumpy, but mushy, sending the dish into overdrive with half a slab of Kerry Gold butter and a big, fat dollop of Daisy.
But….the one tiny, little thing that you must NEVER do when making this feast is to forget the sweet peas.
No, the whole feast, the whole holiday is just RUINED if we forget the can of sweet peas.
I can almost hear Phillip say, “WHAT???? NO PEAS??? What are we supposed to have with MEATLOAF? BROCCOLI? Oh, that’s just DISGUSTING! Oh, TAKE THAT AWAY! Next thing you know, we’ll be having BRUSSELS SPROUTS AT CHRISTMAS!!!!! Not even the baby Jesus would eat that!”
With all of the focus on the big and grand at holiday time, sometimes something so simple being absent seems to ruin the whole day. Like that can of jellied cranberries everyone has present at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. You just can’t have Thanksgiving without it. And don’t insult us by putting it into a bowl and mashing it up, serve it right out of the can on a plate so that we can all see the can lines and know this is the real deal. The good stuff! Candied yams without marsh mellows? That would be the worst Thanksgiving ever! Green bean casserole without the French’s Fried Onions. We would all walk away from the table disappointed….
You cannot have meatloaf without mashed potatoes and peas….peas that have been slathered with that left over slab of Kerry Gold butter.
May not seem like much to many, but to us, our little feast, complete with our simple can of peas, reminds us of a journey of gratitude. Sometime ago, Phillip and I didn’t have much for our Thanksgiving dinner….then eventually, we had beans and rice with some kielbasa because it was a treat, and we were so happy for it. Then it evolved into the meatloaf….And we look forward to it, so grateful that this was our meal, right down to that damned simple can of peas, and that NONE of it would have been possible without all of you.
I get to eat a feast today because of you, a feast some would find paltry and plain. But, oh no. Oh, no. This meal, this home, this life….none of that would have been possible without you. And I just couldn’t let this day go by without telling you how thankful I am for that.
So! If you have a can of peas lying around in your cupboard, crack them open! Toss them in a bowl with some salt, pepper and butter, put them in the microwave for a minutes, throw them on the table with the rest of your sides and proclaim, “Hey! Phillip and Gregory are here!”
Thank you so much for everything. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂
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