Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. Growing up, our house was always filled with family and friends. Actually, it was more like a small herd, but nonetheless it was a place of warmth, food, and laughter. I remember waking up each Thanksgiving morning with the fabulous aroma of the big bird in the oven and the TV blasting the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
Mama had been up for hours basting the turkey and ducks, making the stuffing, and opening the can of jellied cranberry glop. My job was to set the table, never knowing exactly who the mystery guests might be. And it was also my job to make our family’s traditional dessert – we call it Instant Fat– and it is not for the faint of heart. We make it to this day, and it’s still a crowd favorite. (Check out the recipe below!)
These days I’m the designated hitter for the Thanksgiving meal. My son lives in New York, and he comes down the week of the holiday to help me prepare for the feast. He is a wonderful cook and a tremendous help in the kitchen, even though he’s a little messy. (We all have to learn to pick our battles!)
If one of my sisters decides to host Thanksgiving — sometimes my birthday lands on Thanksgiving day; maybe they will get the hint this year! — I still put a small bird in the oven just so I can embrace the familiar smell of turkey. I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and reflect on my childhood and how lucky I was to have wonderful and loving family.
We all cherish our family traditions during the holidays, and if you feel like adding something new to yours this year, try my family’s recipe for Instant Fat. It’s sure to be a hit!
(Amounts are approximate, as the number of layers you want will determine how much of each ingredient you need.)
- 1 can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 jar cherries, drained
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 box wafer thin chocolate cookies
- 2 cups whipped cream
In a large bowl or casserole dish, place a layer of wafer cookies in the bottom, next add a layer of pineapple, cherries, and pecans, then top with whipped cream. Repeat as many times as you like.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Notes: If you like your whipped cream sweeter, add confectioner’s sugar to taste. Cool Whip may be substituted, but in my opinion, there is nothing better than the real thing…