Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: The Rest is Gravy

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
And the Rest is Gravy....
Family History in the Kitchen

(See the Milano Slices in this photo? Well, the rest about the gravy. You may substitute a glass of wine in your photo as the results would be the same. It's something to make cooking more enjoyable. Cooking, ugh.)

For several years, I cooked the full turkey dinner following the lead of my maternal ancestors. Now I like to call it "mtDNA" cooking. In my mother's composition book of family recipes, there is nothing about cooking large meals. My maternal grandmother, who lived to be 98, was a good cook and made the meals until she was too old to do so. Starting in 1989, I cooked turkeys. I did this, for Thanksgiving until 2006, when we bought a turkey breast or purchased the full dinner offered by the local grocery store. That turned out to be a good choice because it gave me exposure to what other people thought a Thanksgiving dinner SHOULD include.

Notes on Turkey cooking, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015.
But, since this is about gravy, I should stick to the topic. This is my mother's directions for making chicken gravy. Mom was an artist not a cook and many recipes are just this confusing. I think my grandmother told her what to do over the phone. My mom was the queen of the double boiler NOT the roasting pan.

Dot's Recipe Book, 1950 to 2002
The photo of Roche's Bros. Turkey gravy and the bottle of Kitchen Bouquet just keeps telling family stories forever. The gravy used to be labelled, "Holiday Gravy" I thought that was pretty funny, don't you? Well, they are back to turkey gravy now because there is no meat called Holiday. Seriously, people are just that clueless.

The first year here in Stow in 2010, I went to my local Roche Bros in Acton, MA to buy a new bottle of Kitchen Bouquet when I noticed a young woman, in distress looking at the cans and jars of gravy. Her mother, knowing she did not eat anything with fat, assigned her the gravy to bring, hoping she would realize it was a by product of cooking poultry. She told me that her mother was going to judge her cooking harshly because it was her DUTY to start being the holiday cook and stop slacking off. 

So, I showed her the "Holiday/Turkey" gravy and Kitchen Bouquet seasoning in my cart. She picked up her own bottle and followed me to the refrigerated case of prepared foods. She picked up the container of gravy and put it in her cart. I told her how to add a tiny bit of pepper, the right amount of Kitchen Bouquet to the gravy and mix well. Then, she should cook it in the microwave, put it in her own container and take it to her mom. 

I wonder if her mother asked, "How was your turkey?"

So, remember those genealogists of the future, while eating your Thanksgiving meal because leaving behind a piece of your own history may help others who follow you for as the saying goes, "the rest is gravy".  

1 comment: