Holiday time starts one to thinking about the many traditions that come with the holidays and our friends and families. I have been known to share some of those family traditions with you, my readers, and if you will indulge me, I will continue to do so.
This column will relay a story I have told before, but it bears repeating. It is our family tradition of sweet potatoes. Now you may say yams, we always said sweet potatoes. They were one of my mother’s specialties.
Each Thanksgiving she would peel, boil, cut and mash by hand the pretty tubers. No food processor for her. She had that hand masher and attacked the potatoes as only an Italian cook can.
Once that was accomplished, she would add butter, crushed pineapple (drained) and maybe a little brown sugar if needed. That would all go into her specific Pyrex casserole bowl and placed into the oven. A little before serving, she would remove the bowl and sprinkle the beautiful orangey-colored side dish with mini-marshmallows and put it back in the oven to brown before removing from oven, bringing to table and letting the feasting begin.
Mom continued making her sweet potatoes even after we tried to convince her we could all take over — you know that didn’t happen — until one Thanksgiving. As we cleaned up gathering leftovers to take home, this little lady picked up the remainder of the sweet potatoes to place them in the refrigerator and suddenly the bowl slipped from her fingers and broke.
Naturally, she was upset and we consoled her, telling her it was OK and that we would get her another bowl for next year. I purchased another bowl to save for the following year to give her, but it didn’t happen. That was the last Thanksgiving Mom made her sweet potatoes.
The tradition stays in our family, with daughter Tina taking over the bowl. This year, son Michael will assume the role. They try to make it as good as Nanny did and they come close, but there is something missing and I think you know what it is.
So as you celebrate with family and friends, be thankful for all you have and those who have been a part of your traditions, and remember — even if it is about a bowl of sweet potatoes.
To all family, friends, readers, Bob and Dan, I am thankful for all of you.