Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dressing for Success

No matter how old you are you still feel like the kid in the room when you're with older family members and they continue to perform certain roles within the family. Some jobs are left dangling in front of you with the admonition of "some day when you're old enough". Well, apparently, I'm finally old enough because mother called me last night to divide up the cooking for the Thanksgiving meal at her house, and I've been assigned...gulp...the dressing. "Would you mind", she asked? "Sure. Not a problem," I said smoothly, but the whole time my mind is screaming "Oh my God, I get to make the dressing!" Sniff. Sniff. Weep. Weep. I'd like to thank the Academy for this honor. I'd like to thank God and my family. My agent. You like me. You really, really like me.

Holy Cow. I can't believe it. This is one of those protected jobs usually performed by a mature female member of the clan, which in our family is my mother. Before her, it was my grandma. Grandma was the grand dame of dressing makers. She started two days early what seemed to my wee young mind, a complicated, top secret process. I remember watching her from my stool at the end of the kitchen table, amazed at the fact that she used chicken noodle soup in her recipe. When I asked her about her recipe she seemed a little evasive, giving me the old "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" dodge. I always vowed to worm that recipe out of her but she died before I was able to. That's one of my biggest regrets to date because her dressing was da bomb. No wait. Off the hook is the new phrase, right?

So, I'm feeling rather honored that I get to step into those big shoes (And they were big. Grandma had bunyons.) and carry the dressing torch. But here's the thing....I don't know what I'm doing. I've never made dressing in my life. I've watched others do it. I read yesterday how the Pioneer Woman makes hers, and I've read many a recipe, but I've never made it. And we all know how tricky dressing can be. It's easy to get it too sticky or too dry or too crusty or too bland or too sage-y. It's easy to screw it up. Sigh. The pressure is intense. I cannot fail. I have a standard to live up to. I have a torch to carry. A flame to ignite in my own Teen Angel, who is possibly the next generation of dressing makers. I'm hoping that somewhere up there Grandma is watching and between now and Thursday will whisper in my ear the trick to making a successful dressing. In the meantime, I'm going to savor this honor and the fact that I'm finally old enough to take on this important task. Or wait, does this just mean I'm getting old? Where's my manager?


janjanmom said...

I'm so proud! This is indeed a big honor. I tried to get it this year. I even volunteered-I make good dressing. The callback gave me the following assignments: rice casserole and sister shubert rolls.

Maybe someday, I too will get the honor.

Pioneer womans recipe seems to be "stuffing" which would not go over in my cornbread dressing world.

hulagirlatheart said...

Ah, the rice casserole. Don't you hate the consolation prize? I've tasted your cooking and I think you deserve a much more prestigous assignment. Rolls, what a smack in the face.

Jason said...

Would anybody realize it if you just used Stove-Top? Or is that equivalent to a true Italian using Ragu?

hulagirlatheart said...

Remember, this is the south where your worth is judged on the quality of your casseroles. They would notice, and I would be relegated to rolls next year.

janjanmom said...

Watch it hula girl. That roll comment hurt!

hulagirlatheart said...

No offense meant about the rolls, Janjanmom. I know you're a swell cook. It's just that in our family being assigned rolls and nothing else is the equivilent of a pat on the head and being told to go to the back of the line. It's right up there with being asked to bring extra chairs. Or a bottle of Coke. Or a bag of ice.