"What are you having besides turkey?" That's been the question of the week, and I'm not really sure. There will be turkey, sage dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly, and sauerkraut. Most important of all, there will be pitted black olives. Turkey is optional, but black olives are essential!
My most culinary son and his special friend-girl will be here for the holiday. They are globe-trotting members of the foodie generation. They like to cook together. We'll make our final menu plan together.
Several of my little students will be having turkey "for dessert". Life is short, the saying goes, so eat dessert first. One student announced he will be having "turkey burgers, and they don't hop away." That's something for the gratitude list. With his wide blue eyes he patiently explained to me that turkeys hop away, but turkey burgers don't. Hope I don't have hopping turkey burger nightmares...
That is why I like pitted black olives. Once you put them on your fingertips, they never hop away. For that I sing "Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen" along with another three year old in class. He was singing Hymn 2072 like Sidney Poitier and the nuns in "Lilies of the Field"*.
None of the preschoolers expressed strong opinions about cranberries. No matter what the foodie generation decides, I will stick with Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce.
My oldest ate a whole bag of fresh cranberries, and wrote me wondering if his innards would bog down. He loves the bitter taste. I'm thankful for the memories of his eating cherries and berries as a toddler! Who would have guessed that cranberries were the tart trend for twenty-somethings?
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*Sidney Poitier won an Oscar for this endearing movie about a handyman who thinks he's just passing through a little town in New Mexico, and ends up staying awhile to build a chapel for a cluster of German-speaking nuns. The renowned actor is highly entertaining in his combative exchanges with Lilia Skala, playing a Mother Superior who survived Hitler and makes no bones about bullying the goodhearted, itinerant worker into doing more and more for her. The film has an ambling, easygoing style with several memorable moments, not least of all is Poitier leading his holy hostesses through verses of the gospel song "Amen." Lilies is directed by the late Ralph Nelson, a pioneering director of live television who also made a number of popular feature films with notable performances (Jackie Gleason in Requiem for a Heavyweight, Cary Grant in Father Goose, Cliff Robertson in Charly) in the 1960s and 1970s. --Tom Keogh