Here I sit, thinking about my Grandma Wilder as I wait for my turkey to cook. Today we are having my parents and sister's family for a big dinner and I am thankful that it's a joint effort! My Grandma hosted an enormous crowd every year and I have spent the majority of my 38 Thanksgivings at her home in Indiana.
She reveled in cooking for her family.....preparations began in advance although the menu never changed:
Turkey (of course)
Stuffing (regular with giblets and oyster)
Mashed potatoes (mountains of fluffy spuds!)
Green beans (the best ever)
Waldorf Salad (mostly for my Uncle Charlie)
Apricot Delight (Grandma's favorite)
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows in the early years, pecans more recently
Red Velvet Cake
Angel Food Cake
Grandma's famous sugar cookies
Grandma never seemed to mind the crowd. The kitchen was always full of my mom and aunts, bustling around to lay out the food. Someone was always brewing sweet tea and filling the glasses with ice. Not sure how they managed to have the food hot all at once at 11 o'clock sharp, but they did!
We ate until we could eat no more. On the warmer days, the kids (that's me!) would go outside to play on the swingset. On rainy days, we kept busy with coloring and games. Husker Du, TriOminos and Uno. Later, Rook and Up and Down the River.
The food fest didn't end there. Thanksgiving evening meant the highlight for us kids: the traditional Wienie Roast. (We did this every Easter Eve, too). The men would build an enormous bonfire in the backyard and we would load up the folding table with hot dogs, buns, condiments, marshmallows, grahams and chocolate bars. Good times with my pyro family.
When we cleaned out my Grandma's house before it sold, we had one last bittersweet wienie roast for old time's sake. The fire was super hot that day; we were burning piles of non essential papers. It was our last wienie roast, but such great memories we have had.
The final roasting of the wienies:
Thank you, Grandma Wilder, for instilling a deep love of Thanksgiving and family in us!