Tag: Family Meals

The Holiday Table

This is an archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” and was first published 25 May 2012.

Many memories were made in Butch and Marie’s dining room  sitting around the table. This table that groaned with food at every holiday and many days in between was one of the first purchases that they made for their new home. The table with its six chairs was purchased on May 20, 1947, shortly after celebrating their first anniversary. What a lot of memories were made that included this $252.00 purchase!

This is where it all happened. Photos with birthday cakes, homework, a dumping place between the kitchen and the family room, plus a special place under the pads for things that needed to be quickly and easily saved. Checking under the pads this past week (I had taken a tip from Marie and tucked any found cash under a pad so that we wouldn’t lose it in all of the shuffle and bustle of taking the household inventory), I found the last items that she had tucked away. Included among the expected receipts, was a large photograph of herself with Mike that someone had printed for her from their computer, a thank you note from Bryan, and the thank you note from Jillian’s wedding, along with a photograph of Jillian’s parents from that day. Special things that needed to be treasured and remembered. 

I love this 1963 picture of Butch, Marie and Duff. What makes it so unusual is that there are so few pictures of BOTH Butch and Marie sitting at table. I wonder what the occasion was, but it must have been something special as Marie was using her good china, and the table is laden with food. (Notice the doilies in the corner cabinets, just like they are today).

The recipe that I have chosen for this post is a later addition to our holiday menu. A recipe that was chosen with her grandchildren in mind. Along with the bird, ham, the stuffing, potatoes, homemade cloverleaf roles, cranberry nut bread, and we can’t forget the bowl of black olives – filled to the brim so that Kimberly could have one for every finger, she had added “Mandarin Orange Salad.” It soon became an expected part of the holiday table.

These pictures were taken December 24, 1991, and Butch is taking the photos. As they did in the picture with Duff, Butch and Marie always shared the head of the table, Marie always on the side nearest the kitchen so she could get up and out as needed. 

The amount of food that could be produced and most importantly served hot, in that small, but for Marie, efficient kitchen. We will spend a lot of time in the kitchen as we move forward, but one holiday memory from me. It was Thanksgiving 1987, my first Thanksgiving at the Fassbender’s. One way she had of making the magic happen was cooking the turkey in a Nesco placed in the utility room. As Marie finished the final prep in the kitchen it was Butch’s job to start carving in the utility room. They set up a card table and pulled the bird out. Trying to be helpful, I joined him at the carving station. As he pulled the perfectly beautiful, amazing crisp skin off the bird and set it aside to throw away, I snatched a piece. Looking at me in amazement, he realized he had a partner in crime, and helped himself to some. We continued with our task of carving the bird, but with a newfound shared secret. Now if I had only taken him up on his challenge to get me into the driver’s seat of one of the White Clover trucks…

The Dining Room today. Quiet. Just the ghost of laughter, and the smell of favorite food.
St. Francis Catholic Church Our Favorite Recipes, 1988, p. 19