Monday, November 27, 2006

Fruit Salad...yummy, yummy

On Thanksgiving a friend’s baby died in birth because of the cord wrapped around her neck, and I gave thanks for the twelve days I had with Oliver.

On Thanksgiving my uncle was able to go home, and I gave thanks that the heart attack he had the day before didn’t take him away from us.

On Thanksgiving I learned that my biases for my family’s cooking are not at all overrated, and I gave thanks that my mother taught me how to cook.

Last Thanksgiving I was 7 months pregnant and marooned in London – the only American for miles. Steve was in America – the only Brit for miles. He’d returned for a something important, though it sure didn’t seem very important to me as I wandered around Tesco aimlessly searching for something anything pumpkin. Why oh why hasn’t the rest of the world caught on to that lovely sunset hued squash of deliciousness?

This year, I bought the first pumpkin pie I saw – a gigantic 15” round monstrosity from Costco for 5 bucks. I think I ate the whole thing myself afterwards wondering again why I don’t weigh 500 pounds. This year, I made food for 20, but in the end it was my Mom, my sister, Steve and me around the little table with the old table cloth and mismatched plates. Audrey lay asleep on the couch, exhausted by all of the waiting and asking “Is it ready yet?” There were no empty chairs around this table, but the absences carried tangible ghosts. My aunt, in California tending to my sick uncle, my brother, on a navy base in Connecticut being trained to defend our country, my brother, at some other table nurturing a grudge, my father, last rumored to be in Massachusetts, paying for the sins of his past. Happy we were though, our small little group, the food was excellent, and the company – well, my sister and I didn’t fight, so that was something. Although,

Earlier that morning, I collected ingredients for the famous fruit salad and called my mother. “Should I put nuts in it?” I asked because my sister has been rumored to be somewhat allergic.

“Well, why don’t you just cut them up really small. She won’t even notice,” my mom suggested.

“Okay, you’re the mom.”

So I sprinkled the nuts theatrically and Audrey stirred them in as I always imagined. When we sat down to dinner, we piled our plates full of everything, and after a while my sister said, “Ooh, my throat’s getting itchy. I think I ate a nut.”

My mom and I exchanged guilty looks and carried on, neither willing to admit what we’d done. So we ate and talked and enjoyed, and then my sister went back for seconds. She picked up the serving spoon to the fruit salad and looked closely, “There ARE nuts in here!” And so it began. I learned that you don’t mess with a nineteen year oldand not to trust my mother when she tellsme to put the nuts in anyway.

Rebecca’s Fantastic Fruit Salad…Yummy Yummy

1 can pineapple tidbits

2 cans fruit cocktail

2 cans mandarins

2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored, chopped into bite size pieces

2 bananas, slice

¾ bag of colored mini marshmallows

¼ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup chopped walnuts (Note: Avoid if anyone is rumored to be allergic – just a hint)

1 container Cool Whip

Drain all canned fruit until nearly dry, mix all together with apples, bananas, marshmallows, and coconut. Sprinkle nuts on theatrically (see note above) and mix in cool whip, refrigerate, serve and enjoy.