Cynthia L. Eppley December 2, 2021
One major holiday has just passed—Thanksgiving. And one is upon us soon—Christmas. And what would the holidays be without festivities and feasting?
We catch the aromas of cooking wafting through the house long before dinner time.
Our taste buds work overtime, expecting our favorite foods.
If you are going to cook, you need to shop. And if you shop, you need to store it all.
My refrigerator was bursting at the seams. Where to put it all? I saw one post that suggested putting cooling racks in your refrigerator, stacking things high.
I, for one, simply improvise and stack things high, precariously balancing it all.
And after all this preparation, all the different foods. (SeeThanksgiving Traditions) because you can’t leave out a favorite dish—we sit down to eat. You can be assured that most children will avoid all of it—except the rolls. Where would they be without rolls and butter?
It all comes to a culmination of textures and tastes, a delight to the eyes as well as the palate.
Take the mashed potatoes, for instance.
They fall right behind the rolls for the kids. A pot full of simmering water and sliced potatoes, waiting for the magic. Drain the potatoes, add milk and butter—lots of butter—and whip them into mountains of creamy white goodness. Add toppings.
This is, of course, unnecessary—but adds to the visual appeal. My favorite is a big dollop of butter, cut across the peaks and valleys. And if it is a holiday and you want to do it up big? Use Kerry Gold Butter.
A generous dash of freshly ground pepper, and perhaps a sprinkling of chives.
Is your mouth watering yet? And understand: my mashed potatoes, always from scratch, are delicious. Why, a good friend even said, “These are the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten!” High praise, indeed.
You can’t forget the gravy. There are gravies, and there are gravies. Some simmer the giblets and the neck and use the essence as the base of their sauce. My particular gravy this year was spectacular. Using a new recipe utilizing my Crock Pot, it assured “the best gravy you have ever had!” And to be honest? It was. Spectacular.
I saw visions of white mountains of steaming mashed potatoes, with gravy running courses down the sides, pooling around turkey and stuffing. Waiting to be devoured.
This was going to be a dinner.
Dinner was coming together nicely, and it was time to whip the potatoes. Add milk, salt, pepper, and butter. Lots of butter.
Start the mixer.
I knew immediately that this was not the creamy white mountain I had envisioned. This white mass took on the consistency of paste—wallpaper or Elmers, take your choice. “Whip it more!” I said. “Add more milk!” I said. And finally, the trump card that would save the day: “Add more butter!”
But alas and alack.
The gooey white cement would have been better suited for a food fight. Although it could easily knock you out…..And, I might add, it did take out my hand mixer. Broken. Ready for the trash. Those were some mean potatoes.
I had been in the hospital just 2 weeks before and was still regaining my strength and stamina. Napping in the afternoon was more than a luxury, it was a requirement.
Even the Dr. had suggested I not make dinner at all. And so I compromised: Make a smaller dinner. But even so, things need to be drained, seasoned, and plated. Smaller does not equate to easier. Certainly, Bob and our son were helping.
What are we to do with disappointments? What are we to do when things don’t work out quite the way we planned?
And understand, dear reader, I sense the frivolous nature of potatoes. And the solemn weight that many carry this year for so many reasons.
This is not meant to trivialize their struggles.
In the midst of disappointment, we look for perspective.
At the end of the day, I sat with my feet up while Bob and Justin cleaned up and stored food. The refrigerator was still stacked high with precarious piles. (And Justin was going home with goodies for future meals.)
A spirit of gratitude and thankfulness go far, whatever our circumstances.
Countless hymns speak to these values, and this is one of my favorites: “Now Thank we All our God”
There is so very much for which to be thankful:
Thankful that I was even home for this Thanksgiving. Thankful for good doctors and good care. Thankful for good food, full bellies, and a full refrigerator, enough to share. Thankful for family and friends. Thankful for our God who draws near to us. Thankful for His grace and guidance.
And finally, thankful for good gravy….