Nov 30, 2009

What are you picky about?

It occurred to me this weekend as I laid on the couch and reflected about our holiday meal we just finished. Grams was exhausted because she had just spent the day cooking the turkey, making the mashed potatos, gravy, rolls, stuffing, and cranberry salad. Fortunately, I found the following amusing because I'm not in the mood for hurt feelings over something so not important in the grand scheme of things.

When I was young and newly married, I was asked to make the cranberry jello salad for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. I was even given a specific recipe to follow. At that moment I figured out what it was that I didn’t like about the jello all those years…celery. I am of the opinion that vegetables do not belong in jello. Fruit, I can handle, in fact appreciate, because the texture of jello does not sit well with me. So, as I went over the rest of the recipe, I found that another crunchy part of the jello was chopped apple. I chose to leave out the celery and add an equal amount of crunchy apple to make up for it. It was delicious if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, my Grams noticed the missing ingredient and asked me why I didn’t include it in the recipe. I explained to her that not only did vegetables not belong in jello salad, I loathed celery and refuse to touch it. The thought of the strings on a piece of celery getting stuck in my throat was too much for me. That was the last time I was asked to make the jello.

The next year, I lived in close proximity to Grams and she asked if I would like to be in charge of the rolls. Rolls for 50 people? No problem, seriously. I made Rhodes rolls at least once a month for my own family and they loved them. So, the day before, I prepared approximately 8 dozen of the most beautiful rolls I had ever seen. My house smelled divine. They were lightly browned on the outside and soft and perfect on the inside. I knew it because I tried one or two that evening. The next afternoon, we delivered our rolls and much to my dismay, Grams had a small meltdown because they were so “undercooked.” She promptly began moving things out of the oven to cook the rolls. She complained more than once about having to finish cooking the rolls that afternoon, thus making dinner be served about 20 minutes late. Needless to say, that was the last time I was asked to make the rolls.

There are other assignments I haven’t gotten right for one reason or another, green bean casserole, sweet potatos, even frozen corn. I don’t remember how I got those wrong, but I was never asked to make those dishes again. The last few years, I have been put in charge of the relish tray; a few veggies, some dip, olives, and pickles. Piece of cake, right? I thought I had been doing a quality job the last few years, and although this pregnancy has really been hard, if I couldn’t wash a few veggies, stir some spices into a tub of sour cream, and dump olives and pickles into a bowl, I have a husband and plenty of children who can.

On Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, my sister calls me and says that she has been asked to help with the relish tray. I laughed and told her I had it under control. She told me that Grams specifically told her what kind of processed cheese to purchase to put on the celery that she knew I wouldn’t be touching. So, later that night, she came over and retrieved the celery I had already purchased (that my daughter was going to prepare) and brought them back the next morning filled with the process cheese spread. We left for Grams early enough to arrive and put the veggie tray together before dinner was ready. As I pulled out all my cans of olives and pickles, Grams quickly stopped me, “I didn’t know if you were going to actually get it all or not, so I asked someone else to take care of the olives and pickles.”

Don’t get me wrong, I know that Thankgiving is a big and important holiday, and she just wants it to be perfect, but I get a chuckle wondering what my assignment will be next year or if I will even get one…


  1. Tradition...tradition! If traditions exist for themselves rather than for the greater purpose of gathering, what's the point? I'm sure I'll have to remind myself of that someday when I'm the visiting mother and my daughter cooks--she hates all of Thanksgiving dinner except the turkey and mashed potatoes.

    Fun post. Thanks!

  2. All I can say is life is so freeing when you just don't care. My daughter and daughter-in-laws will have it easy.

  3. Uh can you say, controlling Grandma? Keep at it. Your job is to find the humor in the day. Well done!

  4. I think you have a great thing going here...don't stop. Eventually Grams will not ask you to do a darn thing and you can just sit back and enjoy. For the record, I love celery hate jello so I'm with you from a different point of view, ha.

  5. Family dynamics are so fascinating! I'm glad you can look at the situation with a sense of humor. I agree with Terry...I think you have a good thing going here! oh and for the record...vegetables have absolutely no business being in jello! That grated carrot thing...bleck! and celery is worse! Good luck with your new baby.


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