Over the River and Through the Woods


Over the river and through the woods

What ever happened to “Over the river and through the woods to grandfather’s house we go!”?

I would like to go to grandfather’s house for Thanksgiving too. “Potatoes and cranberries cooked to a turn and biscuits as light as a breeze,” or something like that. “Gravy boats swimming and glasses a brimming with cider, as much as you please.” I suppose it is just another one of those Norman Rockwell paintings that we try to live up to.

Now I’m a grandmother, but when they come over to my house for Thanksgiving there is no river or woods, only an Interstate highway, and there is absolutely nowhere at all to park the horses and sleigh.

I used to actually cook a giant turkey – the kind that cooks all day and is raw until the pop-up button pops, at which time the turkey is immediately overdone and dry as cardboard.

Gravy is sometimes more successful than it is at other times. Eventually, I just quit worrying about lumps. I learned how to secretly strain the gravy while no one was looking so it was as smooth as silk.

Stuffing is something I’ve never liked or understood. Soggy bread, all squished up and full of sage. Yuck! But I make it anyhow because other people seemed to like the stuff. It did make the house smell nice while it was cooking.

Mashed potatoes were the real kind, not instant potato flakes. I blended them with a portable mixer instead of a potato masher. Add too much milk and they are thin and bluish. After a few years of blue potatoes, I decided that instant potatoes were just fine.

Green beans like mama used to make were cooked in a slow cooker. None of those crispy, half-cooked, steamed green beans. Southern style green beans are cooked for hours and are full of bacon grease, of course. A vitamin couldn’t possibly survive.

Every year I threatened to abandon sweet potatoes. Too much trouble. However, due to a mutiny in the kitchen, I was overruled and forced to cook them or go to the gallows. The best kind are candied with plain sugar water instead of being sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Cranberry sauce? It must be something left over from the New England Pilgrim days. Just to be proper, I open a can of the goo for my family to ignore and then throw it away after the holiday.

I’ve never made a pumpkin pie in my life – would pumpkin bread work okay? Pumpkin pie is another non-favorite. Sweet potato pie looks the same but tastes different. Practically any kind of pie at all will do since everyone is too full of turkey to eat it anyhow.

Yes, I would like to go to grandfather’s house for Thanksgiving and let grandmother do the work. The thought of cooking all this food myself doesn’t excite me any more.

This grandmother ordered a pre-cooked turkey dinner this year.

“Over the river and through the woods to Kroger’s” does not have a nice ring to it, but it sure beats spending the entire day in the kitchen. That makes it holiday music to my ears.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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