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ALWAYS ONE FOR COOKING Paying Tribute to Jim
Thanksgiving is all about traditions, but what do you do when the person at the core of your traditions is gone? After my brother died, that was the question I found myself asking. Jim was the cook in our family. Every year, he prepared an unbelievable Thanksgiving feast: a 20-pound turkey and accompanying dishes that made your mouth water. We were next-door neighbors, and our families always got together to celebrate. Because we also celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife’s family, we’d developed a two- Thanksgiving tradition. We’d go to Thanksgiving No. 1 with my wife’s family, then go to Thanksgiving No. 2 at Jim’s. While I enjoyed both, my brother always cooked my favorite dishes. Jim was always one for cooking. Everyone who knew him knew he would always overdo it with a huge feast and incredible food. Most of our neighborhood probably partook in the two-Thanksgiving tradition because his food and hospitality were so good. After he passed away, we started to create new traditions to pay respect to Jim. We’re still next-door neighbors with Jim’s family, but now, we have Thanksgiving at my house. And knowing we could never make a turkey as good as his, we’ve found another bird, or really birds, to serve: the turducken. Have you heard of this crazy concoction? It’s a stuffed and deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed
into a deboned turkey. Jim and I always thought it sounded wild, and it is. I’ll tell you what, though, it’s also unbelievably good. Probably because of all the fat in the duck — it flavors the other meat as it cooks. As delicious as it is, I actually considered not doing a turducken again this year, until my nephew asked, “You’re going to have the turducken again, right?” I guess he’s just as wild about it. So I’ve already ordered this year’s odd bird, and we’ll be enjoying it with Jim’s family at my house. "After he passed away, we started to create new traditions to pay respect to Jim." In addition to Thanksgiving, Jim shared another tradition with me: making an incredible lasagna for my birthday. Every year, we would get together, and he and his wife would make me a lasagna. I loved it. Their kids are grown now, but this year, they all came back to celebrate my birthday, and Jim’s wife was generous enough to carry on the tradition of the lasagna. It was a special celebration and made us miss Jim all the more. This Thanksgiving, we’ll be gathering the family and taking part in a feast that reminds us to give thanks. It reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for. Most of all, it makes me grateful for the time Jim and I had together, as brothers, neighbors, and friends. These are memories of him that I treasure. I wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. Relish the time you have with your loved ones, because it’s never as much as you’d like. I hope you all have a day filled with good food and good company. Oh, and if you are planning the menu, I recommend the turducken.
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