My sister Laura is hosting her first-ever Thanksgiving dinner today, in her awesome new house, and we discussed what all we were to bring, I reminded her of the two most essential pieces of a Cudmore Family Thanksgiving: Brown & Serve rolls, and canned cranberry sauce.
My understanding and celebration of the Thanksgiving dinner is based entirely on how my grandmother, Cora Cudmore, made it for my sisters, my dad and I. My parents were divorced, so we had an early dinner with my grandma and then went for a second, later dinner at my grandmother Rivkah’s house. I was usually still full, so I just had dessert.
But oh, the classic American spread Grandma put forth! It was like something out of a vintage Good Housekeeping. We started with Chicken in Biskit crackers on a fancy silver tray, with port wine cheese spread and olives, which I never ate because olives are gross. She pulled out her good dishes for the holidays, a brown and tan set that she got every piece of — including the gravy boat and pitcher — with grocery store stamps. As a kid, I thought those dishes were ugly, but now I would give away every beautiful pot and pan and gadget in my kitchen to see them on the table again.