Thanksgiving always reminds me of my paternal grandparents, Papa Dick and Grandma Jean. That was the holiday we spent with them.
After much ado, we piled in the car and drove from Cleveland (early days) and later from Pittsburgh. In the real early days, we would stop over at my great-grandmother's, Aunty Co's, apartment near Central Park. She was an eccentric creature, world-traveled by the time she was in her early thirties and delightfully full of it. Her apartment had wonderful, exotic treasures including a gilded birdcage that had a little canary look alike in it that when wound up, chirped and chortled its glee. She also had persimmons waiting for us, always perfectly ripe and sweet. It is really an art to get those fruits just right. And, of course, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was a must. So much fun. I still love watching it. http://social.macys.com/parade2010/#/home
From the city, we trekked over to Shelter Island where a simple feast awaited us. Gram Jean was an excellent cook, straight up about foods and flavors. Local all the way....turkey, oysters and clams, corn and potatoes, lima beans.
I have two favorite food memories about Thanksgiving. One is the drumstick. Both Papa Dick and I got one and winked at each other with every bite as if we were the only two folks in the room. Made my day. The second memory is of Papa Dick and Gram Jean's fruitcake. No flour- just fruits, nuts and rum...lots of it. They made a light and a dark version that my parents sliced paper-thin for me so I wouldn't get too much of an alcohol-laden jolt. Gosh...it is sad that fruitcake has such a bad name. Theirs was amazing.
But the most favorite memory of all is of them, just them.
And so, this The Red White and Food post is for grandparents everywhere, at the table or in the heart. It really doesn't matter whether you share a meal from scratch, from catalogues or from a menu or whether you share it the day of or days later. It matters that you are there.