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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writing Prompt: 11/25/09

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! December classes with the amazing teacher, the one and only, Aaron Henne are now almost completely full:

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Writing Prompt:
Here's a good one for the holiday. What comes to mind when you think of "Thanksgiving?" Make a list of 5 things that you associate with that word. Here are some suggestions of things that could end up on that list: cooking disasters, eating triumphs, family spats, what you are thankful for, favorite Thanksgiving foods or rituals, etc..

Pick one item off of your list and add a sensory description to it (e.g. smell, taste, touch, sound, sight). Write whatever comes to mind about that one item for 10 minutes. Include the sensory description in your writing.

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of "Thanksgiving?" What are your cooking disasters, eating triumphs, family spats, what you are thankful for, favorite Thanksgiving foods or rituals, etc.. The best comment of November wins a free class!


Writing Pad said...

I wrote about the cooking disaster that I had last Thanksgiving where I spent almost an hour giving the turkey a full body massage with expensive truffle butter. I stuck my hand in goopy, obscene parts of that turkey that I never imagined I would touch.

The turkey ended up tasting dry, dry, dry as the Sahara dessert. I could have made an entire auditorium of people choke, that turkey was so dry. Rar! Remembering how much I fawned over that turkey and how it let me down still makes me mad.

Thank goodness Adel cooks for our classes! Her food is consistently delicious. :)


Aaron Henne said...

Bayonne, New Jersey. A nice Jewish household on the north side of town. A party of 20 due for dinner, mostly relatives with hearty appetites. At the last minute, great heaps of worry that there will not be enough Turkey and we will be left having to serve leftover Gefilte Fish, still sitting in jars from Passover, 8 months earlier.
A second Turkey is purchased.
Hours pass. Silverware clinks. Toasts are made. Laughter and stories.
Half of the original Turkey and the whole second bird remains untouched. The relatives somehow go home satiated and we are baffled. Turkey sandwiches, Turkey scrambles, Turkey Hash, Turkey Ice Cream follows for many days.

Writing Pad said...

From Howard Leder:
"I've only spent one Thanksgiving with my family since I was 17, over 20 years now. It became a holiday I associated more with friends & college classmates. I still think one of the best Thanksgivings I've ever been to must've been my senior year of college. In a tiny tiny kitchen we all whipped up a stunning variety of vegetarian dishes (we were too poor for a turkey & I don't think it would've fit in the half oven....) I made these delicious stewed kidney beans that I think are the best contribution I've ever made to a holiday."

Stinky Junior said...

The most important thing about Thanksgiving is the stuffing. Sure, family is close and stuff, but all that matters is how you make that bready side dish. This year, I went wheat-free and am too much of a novice to make WF stuffing, so it just didn't feel like a feast.

In years past, I always tried to outdo previous stuffings. Oh and OUTSIDE the turkey please, what maniac decided to put bread up a turkey's dead ass. Weirdo! I create stuffing extravaganza's with sweet sauteed apples and onions, add tart dried cranberries or the fatty meat of spiced sausage.

My stuffings filled the kitchen with more aroma than a plain old bird or baking pie every could. I miss that dish. I'll shed a tear for it's gluten-laden exit from my allergen-riden life.

JengerBreadBooksBlog said...

Chaos concertos. The sound of heavy oven doors closed by a nimble leg as aspestos hands handle a smoldering hot pan of caramel coloured turkey spilling with cornbread stuffing, homemade only, and a little white thermometer promising done to perfection goodness. Lower oven light throwing debut spotlight on tiny browning marshmellows melting over sweet-potato whip. Echoes of Patrich and Alison and the tenor of my own laughter dodging mother-quick pinches as we help our greedy fingers to a tasty hint of what's soon to come, and where did she come up with that free hand anyway?! The clink clink clink of plates played by busied forks and knives and spoons as happy faces sing praises of another holiday meal success. Insincere grumblings of gluttonous regrets spoken by smiling lips already anticipating post football game plates. Fast-stop mental camera shots of various family members pausing at open refrigerator doors in rapt indecision, as though this bounty were completely new with its gratuitous possibilities. Orange shag carpet, gold velvateen couch, paneled walls. The large bay window behind the TV, calling out its pro-ball scores to my captivated brother and father. Not me. My eyes are looking out into my beautiful Kentucky twilight, sitting on orange shag between my mothers legs as she brushes my grateful hair.

Carol Wyatt said...

This Thanksgiving, after being unemployed for 9 months and almost losing our house a few times...We took a well needed drive up the coast to San Francisco.
Clean, crisp air intermixed with the pre-Christmas frenzy of families shuffling about the city. The energy of the city gave us life.
All 7 of us actually fit on various parts of a cable car while our youngest kids screamed as we crested Nob Hill. They played on the beach at the unusually, un-crowded Fisherman's Wharf, while our two oldest kids went inside each Giaradelli store over and over again for free samples... Chocolate peppermints.
Our children were used to not asking for things and did not ask for the M&Ms and Cokes peeking out from the hotel room refrigerator. They did not get upset when the one movie we did purchase stopped unexpectedly right before the end. Our toddler even put the Snickers bars back when we caught him taking them from the fridge.

We needed this trip. We needed a break. Every month worrying about how we would make the next mortgage payment and utility bill. Stress and arguing building each month. Eating the same meals and not being able to go out. Searching and testing for various jobs. Talking to so many producers I couldn't count them anymore. Making sure to keep good records for each unemployment form. We could not take the kids on outings or buy birthday presents for their friends. We had to choose between paying the phone bill or the gas bill. 3 jobs fell through.
I was defeated and tired.

Finally, after months of friends and co workers spreading the word, and me pounding the pavement, I was hired. A week before Thanksgiving. For a network that will keep me employed for at least a year.
Our children now know how important it is to have a roof over your head and clothes and shoes. They used to spend, spend, spend. Now, they are happy we can stay in our home. This Thanksgiving we were full of gratitude for all of the basics in life and our family sticking it out together. We made it! For now.

Writing Pad said...

These stories are AMAZING! Thanks everyone, for posting.

Aaron--I loved the leftover Gefilte fish, the sound of the silverware clinking, the Turkey Ice Cream. Your piece was hilarious and poetic!

Howard--I loved the half oven (sounds like a gnome oven or something), the vegetarian dishes, and the stewed kidney beans! Wish I had been at that Thanksgiving. Even if it was fictional, you made it sound wonderful!

Amy--your piece was like an ode to stuffing! I loved that bready side dish, putting it up a turkey's dead ass (so funny), and the different stuffings that the narrator cooked. They sounded delicious, especially the ones with the cranberries and the spiced sausage. Yum! The narrator's newly adopted gluten free diet makes the stuffing of the past seem even more special.


Writing Pad said...

OK--here are my likes and remembers continued (that coment was getting a little long):

Jenger Bread Books Blog--What a lovely, poignant piece! It's so packed with wonderful details. The descriptions are so vivid I feel like I am inside of the story. I love the tiny browning marshmallows and sweet potato whip (that made my mouth water), the grumblings of gluttonous regrets, and the scene at the end of the mother brushing the grateful hair.

Carol--your piece made me teary! Wow, what a moving recession Thanksgiving story! I love the details of the toddler putting the snickers back in the fridge, the kids getting free chocolate peppermints, having to choose between the phone bill and the gas bill. I liked the ending too.

Thanks, everyone for sharing your stories on the Well Fed Muse! They are fantastic!


Benny Blanch said...

Aaah, Turkey Day. An infamous day when Americans celebrate the conquest of Spanards conquering the natives through the guise of gifts and thankfulness. Lucky for the Spanish explorers and for contemporary Americans, the natives were some kick ass hosts!

Hundreds of years after the inaugural fall bash, we still celebrate today with excessive amounts of wine and comfort food that will put you to sleep quicker than a rufie. I have a very large, close extended family that all live within 5 miles of each other. I'm talking about a family of forty with cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, kids all getting together for the holiday. Imagine forty people in a relatively modest house of about 2100 square feet. It's loud, congested and you have to say hello and hug forty times. When I was a child I loved this gathering, seeing my cousins and playing football in the backyard while the brown-sugar carrots caramelize.

The women of the family are by far the loudest. Getting seven sisters together to gossip about nothing of an importance and laughing about it creates a shrill piercing enough to match the sound of the Homer's sirens. While this goes on the men sit in the living room, in near silence listening to John Madden spit his way through his color commentary.

Although I don't agree with the founding principles of Thanksgiving it is one of my favorite holidays because of the way that it brings everyone together. Now that I live in California I'm missing out on my families' Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. A holiday that I never missed my whole life, 21 years. But as the family gets older and the cousins become adults, the tradition is fading as it naturally does. The large family shrinks down and becomes compartmentalized into smaller, closer families that have their own new lives now, myself included. It's an opportunity to begin my own tradition with my new friends that are also missing their own tradition.