Mom’s Next REAL Meal

Canada has its Thanksgiving in October, but ours is in late November.  As has been our habit for years, we visit my mom every other Sunday.  She uses her one meal per day meal plan to get lunch, so she does what I would do, and load up on as much as is allowed, to get two meals out of it.  The food is crap, except for Sundays, when she can get salmon or beef tenderloin.  The beef is usually stringy tough, no matter how rare to medium-rare it looks cooked, so salmon’s the best bet.  The rest of the week, it’s some unappealing sounding sandwich. Sure, she can get salad, and side veggies with it, but it’s mostly yucky — maybe a little better than Army food, but no better than college cafeteria food.   She sends us over with her plastic bar code tag for the checkout woman to scan.

So, we’ve gotten in the habit, for at least the last 15 years, of catering holiday food for her.  We promised her a “real” meal on Thanksgiving.  Although we have to pack it in coolers, or a multi-crockpot thing that can rewarm whatever’s gotten back down to room temperature during the two state drive to get there,  the turkey’s never dried out, and all the fixin’s are up to snuff.  She’s not going to want all the leftovers, but she will keep the leftover turkey breast slices, some of the cran-apple sauce, and maybe a slice of pumpkin pie (made from the heirloom sugar pumpkins we grow in our garden).  The only thing I cheat on making is the stuffing, by using a “Stove Top” equivalent.  I make everything else from scratch.

By way of background, mom sometimes sends us over to get her meal from “The Bistro.”  She did so yesterday.  By now, the lady at the front desk in the main building sort of recognizes us, and doesn’t make us sign in when we tell her “My mom just sent us over to pick up her lunch, and bring it back for her. ”  You really only have to sign in at the frot desk if you’re visiting someone who has an apartment, assisted living suite, or is there in skilled nursing, in the main building.

FWIW, Thanksgiving will be a good meal.  The first time I ever had to roast a whole turkey, I was terrified of having some sort of disaster, but it came out nice and juicy, and not undercooked.  A little compound sage butter tucked under the breast skin,  plus basting the bird with it every half hour or so works wonders, and the nifty thing about sage is that around here, it’s almost evergreen, so I can harvest fresh leaves of it right out of my herb garden, long after a hard frost.

What the funniest thing was that when we were in line in “The Bistro,” which really is a small-ish cafeteria, the residents in line behind me, who looked like he had to be 90-ish, told me “I like your boots!”  It wasn’t a come-on.  Told him “Thank you,” and the conversation continued for another minute or so when he asked how they are in snow.  My reply was “I haven’t tried that.  Might be okay if the snow’s packed down, but hunting boots would be better if it hasn’t.”  Anyway, he was a nice guy, from my parents’ (“The Greatest”) generation.  I wish him well, whoever he is.

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