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LJ Idol week 6 - food memory
I never realized that my childhood Thanksgivings were somewhat unique until I began comparing stories with other people in college.  A lot of the difference can be attributed to the fact that in my family there's another ritual, a holiday of a sort, being celebrated that week.  It's deer hunting season.  

My aunts and cousins would all gather at Grandma's house to start the cooking and other preparation on Thursday morning.  Around noon the men would start to arrive - all with beards and wearing blaze orange and generally looking a little rougher than I was used to seeing my uncles or my dad.  Grandma had a truly open heart, so our Thanksgiving celebration picked up a lot of extra folks, if you had no place to go for the day and knew someone who was going to be at the Rochon's, then you were invited.  Her house would be bursting with people by early afternoon, an odd mix of family and hunting buddies, men in flannel and girls in dresses.

The football game would be on the TV, and around 2p the meal would begin.  There was only one large table, everyone else grabbed a plate and a corner of the couch or a piece of the floor.  And the men were always served first.

I was around nine when I really noticed it for the first time and asked Grandma while helping stir something in the kitchen.  She told me of course the men were served first and to her the idea seemed as natural as breathing.  Whether it was because of when she was raised or her Native American heritage, it was ingrained into her.  Sitting at a table with men who were literally hunting for food that morning seemed to only prove her point.

I argued, mostly because I was hungry.  It didn't seem fair.  Then Grandma told me something I've remembered ever since.  

The men are served the completed meal first.  But the women doing the cooking have to taste what they're cooking, to know that it's ready.  

Truth bends, and is all about your point of view.  Sometimes an early taste is better than a later meal.

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that's a neat perspective. :)

I've never bought the idea that the cooks can eat last because they get to taste things, though other people have told me that. I say people who make the food get first dibs. :)

You have given me something to think about! Thank you.

I found this so great to read after my rather sad deer story last week. This Thanksgiving tradition was also held in my husband's family. The men all went hunting early on Thanksgiving while the women stayed home to make the meal. The men 'quit hunting early' to come back home for dinner. I always thought the men got firsts because they always went back for more. The women and kids got a plate in the middle before the seconds were taken! Loved your entry.

My dad was a deer hunter too. We never had a crowd for Thanksgiving, though. Thanks for sharing your story.

I never thought of it that way. That's certainly an interesting perspective. It made me think; I was just remembering how when I would bake cookies I often ended up eating many of the fresh-out-the-oven cookies & lots of the batter (especially if they were vegan cookies with no threat of raw-egg-based salmonella).

Very interesting perspective on the serving of the meal there. I've never heard the line about getting the tastes first versus the later meal. :)

I always eat as I cook, tasting this and that. That's how my family does things!

Though my family feeds the kid first, then free for all with the adults, but usually the men let the women go first. I think the kids go first because for the parents to make their plate then... But I don't know if there's more to it than that!

Interesting insight into your family history here. I was the only girl in a house with 5 children, but my mom didn't necessarily serve the males first, just my Dad. She always made sure that his plate was served before anyone else's, and then the rest of us could dig in on our own, except when there was something to be carved, and he was always the one to carve it. I actually never really questioned that, or even thought about it too hard... he was Dad... That just seemed right to me somehow.

I came from a big family, and started helping in the kitchen at an early age. And yes, people who never learn to cook don't know the secret that you and I know.

A marvelous piece. Thanks for posting it.

Interesting connection between old ways and new and how we find ways to get around whatever it is that holds us back.

As a mom and the head chasf of my home, I agree. Well done.

Beautiful - love your grandmother's way of interpreting the tradition!

I like your take on this.

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