Looks like I have started my own tradition. I am posting Happy Lasagna Day on my Blog during Thanksgiving week for the third time since 2016. That year, my husband and I chose to spend Thanksgiving alone. Last year, although we enjoyed a traditional turkey meal with my daughter, son-in-law and the grandkids, I posted Happy Lasagna Day for the second time.
This year we will spend Thanksgiving day alone, again, but not by choice. My husband and I are at high risk for the devastating effects of Covid-19 and we decided to stay safe at home.
Rather than feel sorry for our isolation, I will relive the warm memories of family celebrations of the past by posting Happy Lasagna Day for the third time. Yes, my new ritual.
Happy Lasagna Day
First posted on November 24, 2016
My husband and I are spending Thanksgiving alone—by choice. We had been invited out but graciously declined.
After having three sets of houseguests in six weeks, we are happy to be alone. By the way, the house has never been cleaner.
And we broke from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner—we are having lasagna.
I love leftover lasagna as much or more than leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy.
Over the years lasagna has become the ubiquitous casserole. You can find it premade in deli departments and frozen food cases in grocery stores. It’s the go-to meal neighbors bring over to neighbors on happy occasions (childbirth) and solemn occasions (sickness or death in the family).
My love of lasagna goes back to my childhood when we visited Grandma in Jersey City. She lived in a second floor walk-up two blocks from my house. Who remembers what time she got up in the morning to begin cooking the lasagna and the rest of the meal, including homemade bread and a roasted chicken? As for the lasagna, she made the pasta from scratch. The tomato sauce (we called this gravy) simmered for hours on the stove. She used whole-milk ricotta and mozzarella cheeses that were made fresh at the Italian store down the block.
Being the oldest granddaughter, I sometimes helped by assembling the multiple layers of the dish. First the sauce, the pasta in one layer, a few spoonfuls of cheese mixture (ricotta, parmesan, eggs, oregano and parsley), sliced mozzarella, more sauce/gravy and then I started over again finishing with the mozzarella on top.
If the family ever had turkey for Thanksgiving, I don’t remember.
In Grandma’ s cramped kitchen the men ate first—Grandma’s three sons, her five sons-in law and Grandpa. My cousins and I sat at the “children’s table” that was cobbled together with end tables and folding chairs. The women served and cleared and eventually sat down to dinner with the windows open to let out the steam from the kitchen along with the delicious aromas of the Italian Thanksgiving feast.
So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for the usual, although not insignificant blessings, such as health, family, friends, but also for the memories that warm me and bring me back to Grandma’s table laden with her gifts and in the company of my extended family—some long gone but not forgotten.
Wishing you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving with Joyful Memories.