Friday, November 29, 2019

The Minnesota Definition of "Salad"

From L to R: Kathy, Mark, Millie, Sherrie, Laurie and Wayne. Thanksgiving 2015, the first without Neil.
For more than 20 years we've been celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband's family. His family has always celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. When Wayne was a senior in high school all of his three older siblings got married. All of them, in one year. Can you imagine marrying off three of your kids and having your fourth graduate high school in the same year? Whew! Anyways...

For years all of his older siblings had Thanksgiving Day at their in-laws homes, which meant that the Horsman family gathering wasn't until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The day itself didn't matter, what mattered is that family came together to spend time together, eating, visiting, playing cards or board games...eating again...

Card-playing. 2015.

Watching Christmas movies, Thanksgiving 2012.
For years I would ask what I could bring and was usually given the non-cooking task of bringing drinks for the grandkids, which, at the time, usually consisted of several 2-liters of soft drinks. I perhaps brought some dinner rolls, store bought, of course, that was it.

One year, Millie asked me to bring a salad.

When someone says "salad" to me, I picture a bowl of lettuce and spinach, tossed with tomatoes, cucumber, rings of red onion perhaps, maybe some dill weed or other things mixed with a dressing.

When my mother-in-law says salad, she means a side dish that goes alongside the turkey.

That year, I dutifully brought a salad. The tossed lettuce and vegetable kind, which went entirely untouched by family members. I watched as person after person went down the line to serve up their plate, smiled at the salad bowl, but didn't take any. It all ended up back in the frig; we ate it the following afternoon for lunch alongside other leftovers.

The next year, when I asked once again what I could bring, I was asked to bring a salad. So I did, which, again, went untouched. It seemed so odd to me, to ask me to bring a dish that no one was going to eat!

Soon the request went back to store-bought rolls and drinks for the kids, and I didn't think anything of it.

It wasn't until years later, when my sister-in-law was reminiscing about Thanksgivings past with me, that I learned that when my mother-in-law was asking for a "salad" she meant "side dish." She told me that the smiles at the salad bowl was people taking in my "city" salad.

Weather kept us from getting together with Millie this year, but we were able to gather with some of the extended Horsman family by way of nephew Travis, his wife Elizabeth and kids. It's always a treat to have our house filled with giggles, sweet little voices and quickened footsteps. And since my sister Kristi lives in town also, she got to spend some time as well with the family.

Snapchat filters are so entertaining apparently! 2019
And no, I did not serve "salad" this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Halloween Still in our House

Our neighbor's house — they go all out!
I love Halloween. I love the idea of dressing up to be whomever you want to be. For years we've hosted Halloween parties and invited all of my girls' friends. We've made ghoulish cake, witch's brew, musty meatballs, all kinds of delicious foods disguised in gory names.

This year, Marissa and Wayne were in Iowa the weekend before Halloween, when we normally would have had a party. And sadly, Lindsey's friend group has shrunk since she's in online school, so there were few people to invite for just her set of friends. party.

I was starting to get sad about Halloween. Marissa wasn't planning on dressing up. Lindsey wanted to dress up and go trick-or-treating, but had no one to go with. It looked like it was going to be a quiet night, which made me rather sad.

But then....

At the last minute I invited my cousin Sam and his wife Sarah and their family to trick-or-treat from our house. I don't know why I didn't think of it before! Their Theodore is 3, Lucille is 15 months, and they would have a wonderful time in our vibrant Halloween neighborhood!

And so instead of being a quiet house filled with the sound of occasional doorbell ringing, we had a crazy, silly house filled with toddlers and a couple friends for my teens.

Theodore with "his Wayne." 
I made wild rice soup for dinner for us all, my traditional Halloween night meal, which was deemed delicious by those who ate it. The little ones got into costumes and away they went. Theodore had the time of his life running from house to house, trick or treating. Lucille wasn't quite so into it, but she was cute as a button as a little pig. Lindsey bought the costume for her the day before at Turnstyle for $1.75. Sarah bundled her up in her winter gear and put the costume over it all. Theodore took one look and her and declared "You're so cute!"

Lindsey and her friend Maia made ghoulish cake balls. Marissa and her friend Hanna ate pizza and watched scary movies. I went trick-or-treating with Sam and Sarah and kids for a while, then Sarah and I turned back with Lucille who was done with being in the stroller while Sam and Theodore hit a few more houses.

Aprons over costumes

Hanna and Marissa making pizza.
Maia the pirate, Lindsey the Beauty and Beauty the Beast.
After guests had left and the doorbell went silent, I was left with a dozen soup bowls to wash, a messy kitchen from all the baking and cooking, and an empty bottle of wine.

Just my kind of night.