Thursday, November 24, 2005


One of the toughest things to do when you are in a long-term relationship is to meld your family holiday traditions with those of your mate. Family holiday traditions provide insight into your mate's upbringing: does the family open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning, do you have ham or standing rib roast at Easter, is Thanksgiving dinner early right after the Macy's Parade or late after the Detroit Lions football game. Messing with those traditions will assuredly cause at the least a small tiff and at the most lead to a full blown, "I'm sleeping on the couch", knock out, dragged out fight.

Thanksgiving is MBH's favorite holiday and I messed with his family Thanksgiving tradition of not eating until almost 7pm. I plead ignorance but none the less there you have it. I contributed to MBH not enjoying Thanksgiving as much as usual for the past four years. MBH's father worked as a golf pro in the south, which meant that while all of us north of the Mason/Dixon line had put our clubs away in September, people at MBH's father's course were still out there getting in 18 holes on Thanksgiving day. His family didn't typically have the big formal meal until after 7pm. My family, on the other hand, eats early so that the men folk can go watch the Detroit Lions lose to whomever they are playing.

This year, while planning our meal, I laid out the day's dining/cooking schedule based around my family timetable and found myself mired in a little "disagreement". One of those that leave you wondering, "what did I say" and your mate wondering, "What are you upset about". MBH finally told me about his family tradition of eating late but "sneaking" bits of turkey through the day because his mother always fixed the turkey early. He explained to me why it is his favorite holiday and now I understand why he always comes into the kitchen while I’m cooking turkey asking like a little kid "Is it done yet?” This year, I woke up early, put the turkey in so that it would be done by noon. MBH was like a kid in a candy store. Picking at the browned bits of the breast and sharing parts of a drumstick with LB. I have my grandmother's recipe for scalloped corn, a good New England dish, in the refrigerator ready to be popped in the oven at 6:30 and my mother's cranberry relish is defrosting on the counter. MBH's family green beans are in the slow cooker perfectly timed to be finished in time to carve the turkey for our sit-down part of the meal sometime after 7pm.

And you know what, it is kind of nice to leisurely pick at the bird and sneak a black olive or two out of the bowl through out the afternoon while we sit and enjoy each other's company. The bird will keep.

MBH's Southern Green Beans

5lbs Green Beans
1lb Salt Pork
1 Cup of water

Break the greenbeans and remove ends and strings. Parboil and place in slow cooker. Cut Saltpork into 4 even sized pieces. Place into slowcooker with bean and add 1 cup of water. Cook on low temperature for 12 to 15 hours. Better next day, so make up day ahead.

My Mother's Cranberry Relish
(this is more like a chutney)

1/2lb Cranberries
2 Oranges (peeled, sectioned, remove seeds)
1/4 Cup Orange Peel
2 Apples (Granny Smith or Macon)
1/2 Cup Celery (chopped)
1/2 Cup Walnuts (chopped)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Pkg Cherry flavored Gelatin
1/2 Cup Boiling Water

Put cranberries, apples, orange sections, and orange peel into a food mill/grinder or food processor. Grind coursely. Put in large bowl. Mix walnuts and sugar. Disolve cherry gelatin into boiling water and add to mixture.
Stir thoroughly to make sure sugar and gelatin are mixed into fruit/nuts. Put in refrigerator until set. May be frozen after set.