A Thanksgiving Memory

November 25, 2010 at 5:52 AM | Posted in Family Life, Food, Growing up | 6 Comments
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Mince pie

In the fifties, as I can recall, we always had Thanksgiving at our house. With 6 kids, we were likely a hard sell and that was fine with me; I trusted my mother’s cooking. It wasn’t a question then of hoping if everyone was in town — were else would they be? Wednesday as a bad travel day was not one of our worries.

Our most consistent guests for Thanksgiving were my Aunts Mary and Elizabeth and we always said their names in that order, oldest first. They were the maiden aunts of my father and they helped bring him up after his mother died when he was only two. They had another brother, besides my grandfather and he was a Priest. Father Martin died long before I was born, as my father was headed out to the Pacific at the tail-end of World War II.

Those aunts loved us but I was too young to understand that their protectiveness was love. Aunt Elizabeth once gave me money as a bribe not to wear plastic sun-glasses as they were bad for my eyes; I was not allowed to eat the bottom of  a cone where the soda-jerk held it. In Prospect Park in Brooklyn with Aunt Mary, I was not allowed to drink from a public water fountain unless I used the cup she had brought with her for just this eventuality.

On Thanksgivings, and I’m thinking of the ones over fifty years ago, they would bring two pies from Ebinger’s, the famous bakery in Brooklyn. The second time they walked into our house with those neatly tied boxes, I had only one thought: ‘I hope they didn’t bring mince pies again!’

I had been worried about those pies for days — almost as much as I had about getting one of the drumsticks (as the oldest, in my mind, it was my due.) We considered mince pies (what is mince?) not just bad in themselves but they took the place of delectable cherry and blueberry pies.

One time, as I got older, I asked my Aunt Mary not to bring mince pies anymore. She gave me a look and said that I was “as bold as brass.” Then, she laughed.


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  1. That was great. I don’t know much about your aunts. Though your childhood eating abilities has been well documented.

  2. Great post but you should try some of Vicky’s mince and you’ll be converted.

    • Well, could we precede the pie with some good Bordeaux?

  3. Wonderful post Tom.

    • Marty,
      I was thinking of you when I wrote this as you are the only other person who could really remember those fifities Thanksgivings. I have many other memories of our aunts that I’ll write about in the future.

  4. Thanks for helping me remember. The “neatly tied boxes” triggered quite a few memories. What a wonderful Thanksgiving gift!

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