22 November 2006

Thanksgiving and the New Bride

Do all my female readers remember the first Thanksgiving meal you cooked in your home?

I do. Vividly. Here's the story.

CarGuy and I had been married for about 7 years. All this time I had been able to slide out from not cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, I had every excuse in the world. But it really boiled down to the fact that I did not know how to roast a turkey, had never done so, and my MIL was a farm wife. She belonged to the Farm Wife Extension club or some such thing and knew everything about cooking, I thought. Me? I'm a city girl. You could ask me what my favorite Campbell's Soup was or what wine to serve with it, but not cook a turkey. And I was too embarrassed to ask for help.

Okay, now backtrack a couple of years, to when we were living next-door to a young couple from New Jersey. His mama (Mama Santoro) came for a visit and insisted on teaching all the new brides how to make authentic Italian red gravy and ravioli.

Can you see where this is going? Fastforward.

Yep. CarGuy volunteered us to have Thanksgiving at our new home that year so I made a wonderful red gravy with meatballs and sausage. This, BTW, takes about 4-5 hours to make because every hour you are adding something else to it. I made homemade ravioli just like Mama Santoro taught me. I made garlic bread. I made antipasto salad. There was a red wine. The red gravy was served over your choice of rigatoni or ravioli or both. I spent hours and hours cooking this meal and it truly was wonderful!

And the only thing people said was, "No turkey?"

Sidebar: I now know how to roast a turkey. It really isn't that hard.


  1. Paula, I'm an Irish girl who married an Italian boy. The first time I made sauce or as you appropriately call it "gravy", I added celery. I thought my Italian boy's eyes would pop out of his head. Hey, I'm irish we love green stuff!LOL

    I did finally learn how to make gravy the proper way.

  2. I would love to come your house for dinner. I love a good italian meal (and I'm Irish).

    I don't remember the first Thanksgiving I cooked. I think it was about 20 years ago. I remember the weather being crappy and my first DH was out to sea.

  3. OK-- My in-laws were coming. I went home to La. In July and My Mom and I had a practice run...Turkey and Dressing for the fourth of July....On thanksgiving I kept the corless phone close at hand.

    Nice Memories....Thanks

    Happy Thanksgiving

  4. That sounds like a lovely meal to me! Thanks for sharing the memory.

  5. Sounds truly yummy! Then there was the year I roasted the turkey upside down (breast down) and have not lived it down to this day - it was cooked - what's the big deal? LOL

  6. Paula, your blog brought back soo many memories! I don't remember the first Thanksgiving meal I cooked, I must have gone into denial and blackout. But I do remember the first time I tried to cook,period, after getting married...it ended up being the directions for using the stove (in the oven, on preheat)It was well done and browned at the edges, nicely. I started a pattern from there that took me years to get even close to right. Your meal sounds absolutely delicious!

  7. What a fun first Thanksgiving memory - the only thing I was supposed to make for that first dinner was the pie and I had no idea how to make a pie crust. Fortunately I was able to find a small grocery open and buy a frozen crust that saved the day.

  8. Turkey is okay, but I think your dinner sounds much better. Yumm!!!! My favorite part of the turkey is making stuff from it afterwards. Just a hunk of turkey meat is kinda blech.