contributed by Lisa
When I was a little girl my large Italian family gathered at my grandmother's house every Thanksgiving. My Grandmother would put the turkey that was just about the size of my younger brother into the oven on Wednesday night before we went to bed and she would get up periodically during the night to baste the bird. My Grandmother insisted that I be able to sleep over the night before Thanksgiving because she desperately needed my help in preparing the meal.
It was my job to "stuff the celery". Oh it makes me laugh now but then, she had me convinced that it was an absolutely crucial part of the meal.
There we'd be in the kitchen every Thanksgiving morning, the Macy's parade on the television, the smell of turkey, sage, potatoes, squash, and tomato sauce (we're Italian remember) in the air, my poor Grandmother scrambling to prepare enough food to feed a platoon and me forming soft peaks of cream cheese, slowly and methodically into 2" boats of celery.
My Grandmother would always provide me with the crystal relish tray on which I could arrange my masterpiece and then she would help me apply a light sprinkling of paprika to the tops of the celery. I would always sample one just to be sure it was perfect and my Grandmother would give me a big glass of cider to wash it down with. Cider has never tasted as good since, as it did back when I was a kid, helping with Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandmother's house.
Now I'm crying so I have to go call my grandmother.
A note from Leanne:
Sometimes we forget that kids don't need huge, complex recipes to make them feel part of the team. A simple sense of family and belonging are the best ingredients for lifelong, happy memories!