Glendenning: Giving thanks to mom
The first time I made a full-on Thanksgiving dinner was in 2000 as a college student in Boulder. It was before you could pull up recipes and cooking techniques online — before asking a question on Google resulted in hundreds of answers.
My mother was my Google search engine in the kitchen that day. I must have called her 50 times as I went through the motions. The turkey was probably the most overwhelming piece of the equation, mostly because of its sheer size and weight. I had to MacGyver a lot of the cooking equipment I had available to me in that house considering I shared the house with four other 19-year-olds, three of them guys. I’m lucky there was anything to cook with at all.
So, as my roommates went snowboarding in Breckenridge for the day, I worked on a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, Key lime pie (Mom and I are both South Florida natives), stuffing and a few other side dishes.
Mom told me where the turkey neck was — somehow it wasn’t entirely obvious to me. She told me how to baste it and helped me figure out how to do it with the tools I had available (no baster). She walked me through stuffing the bird and made sure I didn’t overdo it.
This will be the first Thanksgiving without my Mom. She had been sick for two years before passing away last New Year’s Eve. While I hadn’t been home with her for a Thanksgiving in more than a decade, I was always with her, just like she is always with me now.
After that first Thanksgiving feast, I became a more skilled cook, but never so skilled that I could do it without Mom. Even when the Internet made every recipe known to man available with the click of a mouse, I preferred asking Mom. She loved helping me, too. Just when I’d dial her number for the 20th or so time of the morning and apologize for bothering her so much, she’d always say so joyfully “You’re not bothering me, honey.”
That’s just the kind of lady she was — happy to help others, but especially her daughter. She loved to hear how successful the dishes were, too, when I’d tell her later how my guests reacted to the meal.
Thursday, as I cook my Thanksgiving feast and splash food all over my laptop — which will be seated on the kitchen countertop displaying instructions for all of my recipes — I’ll remember the times when the only help I ever needed or wanted was from Mom.
Lauren Glendenning is the editor of The Aspen Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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