What is your favorite food on your Thanksgiving table? Was it that big golden brown turkey? Its crispy skin just waiting to be sliced revealing the tender white meat perfumed with sage, black pepper and thyme? Maybe it is that steaming hot bowl of mashed potatoes? Whipped by hand with plenty of cream and butter swirled into its potatoey goodness. None of that froo froo chopped parsley on top. There had to be a spoon-made, empty swimming pool of a dent, waiting to be ladled full of thick brown gravy.
For me Thanksgiving wasn't the pumpkin or apple pies. It wasn't the ubiquitous green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on top or the olives you put on your fingers to wiggle at the kids. It wasn't the green Jell-O salad quivering on a single lettuce leaf or the can shaped dish of cranberry, we'll call it.... sauce.
My favorite part of the Thanksgiving table were the dinner rolls. Nothing special, really just more of an after-thought. The dinner rolls were something that was always purchased in a package and thrown into the oven after the turkey was taken out to "rest." The rolls would go in right out of the bag, each one stuck to the roll next to it. They were pre-baked, pre-browned little biscuit shaped pillows that, according to the instructions on the package, all you needed to do was to Heat N Eat.
Every year after our feast was over, my grandmother would go into the kitchen to get the pies and say loudly "Oh Damn! The ROLLS!" Then she would bring out an aluminum cooking tray of 24 over browned and slightly dried out dinner rolls that she forgot were warming in the oven. She would then insist that we all had to have one because "At this house we don’t waste food."
Each of us would chip a little of the still frozen butter onto a roll and eat it with the biggest smile on our faces. To me those rolls were the lesson my grandmother Dorothy taught us. Thanksgiving isn't about food at all, but something much larger. Thanksgiving is about family. Thanksgiving is about tradition. Thanksgiving is about remembering people who are here and people who have touched our lives and now, live only in our memories.