For 30 years I made the same Southern cornbread dressing for holiday meals, never deviating, never trying something new because, for my sons, that would have been culinary sacrilege. They liked it the same every year. Exactly the same. Traditions are wonderful, but rarely do they last a life time without some degree of change.
My sons are grown now, busy with their own lives, and holiday meals with the boys aren’t as simple to plan as they were when they were growing up. The three of us live in different cities, all roughly 3 hours apart. They have work schedules, wives, and in-laws, my youngest has a beautiful daughter, and their father and I are now divorced so there must be time for dinners with their dad and dinners with their mom – in short, like most American families, there’s a lot to pack into a short period of time.
Family dynamics change. Guest lists change. Traditions change. They can be strictly observed, or modified to retain some of the old while embracing some new – much like love. We can add someone into our heart without our love for someone else diminishing because of it. Hearts expand, miraculously so – much like my dinner table. There’s always room for one more.
Unfortunately, we are unable to go to my son’s for Thanksgiving due to work schedules. I feel a little lost without them and preparing that same holiday meal they love doesn’t seem quite appropriate without them, so I decided the time has come for modifying my menu.
That cornbread dressing I spoke of earlier will be saved for another time, and instead, these golden brown lovely loaves of sourdough bread are the beginning of a stuffing made with freshly boiled chestnuts and a delectable alligator sausage. The traditional roast turkey will still reign supreme and rule over an impressive array of sides and dessert, but that stuffing has all the makings of a new tradition in itself. It won’t be the storybook Indians and Pilgrims celebratory meal, but then that story is far from reality and today’s classic Thanksgiving meal is far from what those who first bowed their head to thank their God they’d lived through every adversity that could be thrown at them ate.
Whatever your traditions and however you choose to pursue them, I wish you Peace, Happiness, and Joy, and may it last throughout the year until yet again we sit down, bow our heads, and thank God for loved ones and for the many other blessings we have enjoyed throughout the year. God Bless, and Blissful Meals Yall,
Victoria, The Historic Foodie