Over this past weekend, we had the wonderful Welcome Home turkey dinner for the sailor son of Mother Goose. (By the way, his name is Erik…) The turkey proved as tasty and generously endowed as we expected, and we were again most thankful for the stranger who paid for our dinner! As you may expect, Mother Goose is fond of side dishes. I prepared many of them to accompany the turkey bird to the table.
Some readers may ask if Mother Goose has any tender thoughts about eating fresh or frozen fowl.
And, of course, Mother Goose does not.
There was cranberry sauce to splash over the stove top stuffing. There was gravy from an envelope to moisten the somewhat dry mashed potatoes. There was plenty of corn niblets to scatter over the top of our platters of welcome home food. And here’s just a little story about the stuffing:
The oldest daughter of Mother Goose is an out of the closet Vegan and has been for years. One of the things that I try to do for her at mealtime is to adapt our foods to fit her stern and self-imposed dietary restrictions and requirements. As I prepared the stove top stuffing, I substituted her “butter alternative” product, Nature Balance, for the actual natural cow-milk butter. I patted myself on the back for this brilliant idea that would make the stuffing palatable to my precious daughter.
When she arrived at the table, I proudly announced that the stuffing was vegan and that she would thoroughly enjoy it.
“Really?” she asked excitedly. “Is it really vegan?”
“Yes, it really is,” answered the clever Mother Goose. “I used Nature Balance instead of butter!”
She happily loaded her plate.
As I watched her consume several servings of the stuffing, I thought about the stove top stuffing. I thought about the name, Stove Top Stuffing for Turkey. I began to wonder why they mentioned turkey in the title of the product.
But Mother Goose remained silent, smiling slightly as my daughter ate and ate the stuffing, the vegan stuffing which in my mind was suddenly not so vegan after all. Suddenly it all seemed a little too good to be true. The words “suddenly very suspiciously not vegan” came to the mind of Mother Goose.
Minutes after the meal was over, Mother Goose did read the ingredients of the stuffing. And it did contain the words, “turkey broth” and totally processed bits of real turkey meat”.
I have remained silent for three days, but now it’s all out there for the world to see — alas, I am such a goose.
Mother Goose had not prepared a dessert for this grand Welcome Home dinner. We had consumed large quantities of a bakery-baked cake the night before, but I had not cooked a pudding or rolled a pie crust or even filled a jello mold for the sweet ending of this fine culinary event.
But I did have four boxes of fresh strawberries which I quickly washed and cleaned. These were very large and mostly unripe strawberries. The produce man had assured me that this is indeed strawberry season in California and thus these would be the best strawberries we had ever eaten. The leaves of each strawberry were very very large — like a cluster of oak leaves atop the berries! When I had finished hulling and trimming the berries, I had more than a quart of green leaves piled on my paper towel.
We laughed about what should be done with them — a salad? soup garnishes? smoothies?
And before you could say “Jack Frost”, Mother Goose had the blender out and was dumping all of the strawberry leaves and hulls into it along with a cup of cold almond milk.
We considered adding other bits of refuse — potato peels, egg shells, coffee grounds and banana peels. We thought maybe not this time. Better to create a basic recipe before adding variations…
We poured the graying-greenish semi-smooth beverage into the glass of the vegan daughter — a nice tall glass of Strawberry Leaf Smoothie to top off her vegan stuffing…
She gulped it about halfway down and pronounced it “Good!”
We poured shot glass-sized portions for other family members: Ben, Erik, Husband Goose and yours truly.
Husband Goose took a small sip and made the most sourest of faces.
We all had a good loud laugh.
Like a good sailor, Erik tossed his strawberry shot back. And then it nearly came bubbling back up.
More good-natured laughter.
Ben took a mouthful and ran for the sink to spit it out.
Mother Goose added some honey to her glass of smoothie and easily sipped and swallowed the entire cup of green-gray goodness.
Vegan Daughter took another mouthful, and then she too ran to the sink to make a large deposit. She just could not swallow it down.
As an afterthought, we googled strawberry leaves to determine whether or not they might be poisonous. We learned that if they had been quite wilted, they would have a toxic effect on our digestive systems. Otherwise, they are fine and frequently used in the preparation of strawberry tea.
It was a joyous family occasion, and we made plenty of memories. What began as a heart-felt patriotic donation to the Welcome Home Dinner for a sailor turned into one of the most hilarious and bizarre meals that we’ve ever enjoyed as a family!
God bless your families today — with love and laughter from Mother Goose.