Giving Thanks

Turkey imageAs I prepare my Thanksgiving weekend menu, I always tend to reflect back on Thanksgiving past. It is my favourite holiday of the year, and I think the most beautiful of all the long weekends. The best and most anticipated Thanksgiving weekends were the ones my Mother’s brother organized on Rice Lake, just outside of Peterborough, ON.

We rented well worn cottages, with a big fire pit outside and the best part was actually pulling up to the site and seeing Uncle Bill, dressed in his cottage garb, a cold Labatt’s in his hand waiting for us. As soon as we unpacked the car, and dispensed with the necessary greetings the eating and drinking would commence and the festivities would last for three long splendid days. Between my aunts cheesecake, my cousin’s shrimp dip and my mom’s famous macaroni salad it was a decadent foodfest and each night we would roll into our beds in a food and fresh air induced coma. I loved every minute I spent with my cousins, aunts and uncles. The best thing about the whole weekend was the turkey, while it cooked away on Sunday it’s intoxicating aroma drifted throughout the campsite.  It had everyone (especially Uncle Bill) anticipating their first bites, not an hour would pass when there weren’t comments made about its arrival to the table and like true food addicts we were all waiting for our fix.

Its been a lot of years since we have all been together like this, these weekends softly went to sleep when we lost that lovable man 16 years ago, but thats okay, because thats what good memories are made of and I am so thankful for that.

Below please find the recipe for a very retro pasta salad, that has endured the test of time…..

Mom’s Macaroni Salad

I large bag of small pasta shells

2 cups of diced celery

1 1/2 cups of diced red onion

2 cans of crabmeat (or 1 can of crabmeat, 1 can of salad shrimp)

3 cups of good mayo (or your desired creaminess)

Prepare the pasta according to package directions and drain really well. When cooled mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. Prepare the night before (trust me on this).

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7 responses »

  1. tracy, this is just beautiful. i have my own family memories of my uncle james at rice lake scaring us all when we were little kids by driving the back roads with NO HANDS. cheers friend, i hope you have a lovely weekend.

  2. Those thanksgivings at Leo’s on Rice Lake were a lot of fun. Those cottages were more than well worn. Some of the bed springs hit the floor when you got into bed. There was rust around the bottom of the shower stalls, water leaked into the ground (right under the cottage) It’s a wonder the cottages didn’t float into Rice Lake. Some weekends it was like winter and you had to wear extra warm clothes, toques, gloves, etc. But, it was a good time and the liquid refreshments kept us warm. Those were the good old days. Maybe we could do it again somewhere else. It really was a lot of fun.

  3. What I remember was the laughter that went along with the food. Good hearty laughter ,the kind that makes you fall off a chair. I was just thinking today how we had to wear winter coats, now kids probably go for a dip in the lake on Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for those memories, even if I was afraid of the rust in the shower.

  4. Memories are made of this….

    We often spend Thanksgiving with my husbands mother, Kathleen, in Deep River. She knows how to cook the perfect turkey. She cleans it well with lemon then makes the perfect paste with butter and mustard. She is very careful with the timing and I don’t think we have ever had a dry bird. She can’t make gravy so that is my duty…really the only duty of the day.

    We will be going up to the Deep this year. We will hike around the dam in Diswisha. My son Brennan lives in Saskatoon and of course can’t be there. We will miss him. Kathleen will tell tales of my husbands childhood days and Jim (her partner of over 30 years) will fall asleep. I will roast my toes at their fireplace and drink martini’s (that Kathleen measures in a measuring cup). In the olden days we would stay overnight but now with boys grown and wanting their comfy beds we always drive home the same day.

    thanks for the pasta recipe. My moms is very similar…she uses tuna or salmon instead. I like the idea of crabmeat. I have put crabmeat on my list of things to buy this week so I can try out your recipe.

  5. I was just a babe during the later half of your visits to Leo’s…. But at least there’s a really good picture of me laying on a diaper changing pad with a drinking games book. (Real responsible people…)

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