I grew up with just my dad and my brother who is 6 years my senior. My dad did his best to keep us healthy and fed, but his repertoire was limited. The fanciest he got was Easter when he’d cook this heart attack casserole from our recipe box that involved hard boiled eggs, spam and at least 10 types of dairy. He was best known for his meatballs (which were a big hit when he’d be the only dad at my girl scout potluck dinners) on spaghetti night. The rest of the week we rotated through classics such as Kraft Mac & Cheese, Hamburger Helper (gag), soft tacos and hamburger and rice. For a rocket scientist raising two kids on his own, he did a pretty kickass job.
So, Thanksgiving. Not his best meal… Hah. I don’t remember visiting relatives around that holiday, though we may have at some point. We all got together with my mom’s family for Christmas. Our Thanksgiving dinner involved a piece of “meat” I grew to dread. A turkey-like substance that probably had a hand in me becoming a vegetarian at age 16. What was so horrific? Turkey loaf, my friends. It was turkey loaf.
This man-made dish came in a tin like pound cake and was slimy with “gravy”. When you sliced off a hunk you could see a diagonal line separating where they mushed the “dark meat” and “light meat” into two halves. It held its shape perfectly, much like our canned cranberry goo. Turkey loaf was a thing of horror in my childhood. As we got older, I’m pretty sure it was a thing of ridicule as well, hehe.
Oh, Turkey Loaf… I love the family memories you are in, but I sure didn’t love you!
This year, as we have done for several years now, we are sharing a meal with our neighbors. They purchase a pre-prepared meal from the store that we just embellish. If they had this in the 80’s, our Thanksgivings could have been a whole lot tastier!
I don’t want to end on such an unappetizing thought as turkey loaf, so here is a photo of me in kindergarten. I rememeber that I was assigned to be a Native American in our little Thanksgiving assembly and I was super jealous of those who got to be pilgrims. It was only because I really hated wearing a paper grocery bag. But, I rocked that grocery bag – don’t you think?