TRAVEL HERE: OVER THE RIVER & TO THE RESTAURANT
Where do you go for Thanksgiving Dinner? For most of my young years we lived several states away from Grandmother’s house. Though I’m sure my mom baked turkeys and whipped up marshmallow covered sweet potatoes, Thanksgiving didn’t register on my horizon.
Thanksgiving Dinner the Way it Used to Be
Then we moved back to Texas when I was eleven and Grandmother’s house became the preferred destination for turkey-related events, but the visit didn’t require a sleigh. I remember wondering why we only ate turkey twice a year and why the occasions for it were so close together. I probably asked someone, but never got an answer that resolved my query.
Now turkey is no big deal. Snuffer’s, my favorite burger emporium, serves turkey burgers every day of the year. If you’re watching your cholesterol, you might eat turkey bacon for breakfast on a regular basis. Then there’s all the lunch meats, like turkey pastrami. We even use turkey in recipes when we don’t have leftover turkey. That must be a relief to the turkey industry. Imagine having to make all your sales in two months out of a whole year.
I’m glad the turkey industry now has non-seasonal sales opportunities, because I was never a big fan of the birds served on holidays. As long as other people controlled the menu, I was satisfied to eat what they offered and I loved everything that went with the turkey. Beyond the marshmallow-adorned yams and obligatory green bean casserole, cornbread dressing and scalloped oysters were reason enough for me to get excited about the annual feasts.
But as the years winnowed away the older generation and no younger generation materialized, Thanksgiving feasts got harder and harder to justify. One year we realized we’d only have the four people of our immediate family to celebrate with and who wants to wake up at 3 AM to cook a turkey only four people will eat? That’s the year we went to Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine Company for Thanksgiving and I had coconut shrimp for the very first time. Baby Doe’s no longer graces the hill between Harry Hines and I-35 in Dallas, but I’m glad coconut shrimp didn’t disappear along with it.
Our delicious Baby Doe’s meal did not do away with baking turkeys completely, but if you had listened carefully, you might have heard a death knell. For a season, my Mom and her remaining sister would trade off Thanksgiving and Christmas, but somehow that dwindled down to trading off Christmases. A few times I hosted the event, but I could never prepare the meal to everyone’s satisfaction. My sister didn’t even enter the turkey competition.
Then I lived in California for six years and while I was away, my sister and my Mom discovered that Lawry’s was open on Thanksgiving. When I moved back to Texas (Thank you God) I fully endorsed the new Lawry’s tradition they had begun, a tradition we will honor later this week. I’ll be having the prime rib, but Lawry’s does have the traditional meal for turkey lovers.
While I enthusiastically endorse Lawry’s as a Thanksgiving destination, I wouldn’t recommend just dropping by on Thursday. Mom made our reservation weeks ago. We’re always there for the first seating and by the time we leave, they’ve got enough people waiting on tables to fill up the rest of that day and into the next. So where will you be on Thanksgiving Day?