Restaurant & Hospitality Consultants

November Newsletter

Thanksgiving 1974 – Let’s Take A Guilt Trip

Hello All –

Happy November!  It’s an exciting month around the halls of AF&Co.  Our 2015 trend report launched, our gorgeous new website made its debut, we have amazing openings on the horizon and all of our wonderful clients are planning great holiday offerings. Read on for all the details.

I must tell you all that by far my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving!  I absolutely love the family feel, the cooking and everything American that comes with it.  It was also the best day in my house growing up – except for 1974, when I was cherubic 11-year-old.

That year, my mom Gerry, who many of you know by now from my stories, decided that she didn’t have time to cook.  She was a busy career woman and had a major assignment that was running right into the holiday.  This was always her holiday to own and the whole family expected her to go crazy with the cooking, the decorating and all the pomp and circumstance that she was known for.  My Mom was a bit flamboyant (and yes, I am my mother’s son).

What to do?  Mom decided that she would have the celebration secretly catered.  She also hired Mr. Frank, her beautician, to decorate the table.  When it came to hair, she loved his skill with a teasing comb but when it came to designing a table, he had a style that was all his own.  As my Dad always reminded us – Mr. Frank was “creative” and he wasn’t crazy about my obsession with him either.

The plan was for all the food to arrive on Thanksgiving morning.  Mom would slyly transfer it all to her own pots and pans.  She would put on her favorite holiday apron and splatter it with some flour and gravy – to keep things real.  Mr. Frank would by at the house by 8am with the acorns, cornucopias and silver leaves that he spray painted himself and have the table done by 10am.  The guests would arrive by 2pm.  It was a brilliant caper and we were sworn to secrecy.

The day came and everything was going like clockwork.  Mom even jogged around the kitchen a few times to break a sweat.  Guests started to arrive – Aunt Selma and Uncle Dave, Uncle Morty and Aunt Blossom, Uncle Harvey and Aunt Mitzi  along with all my cousins.  The spirit was festive and the house smelled great.  And then Grandma Birdie arrived, got into her matching apron and hit the kitchen to help my mom.  As she always did, she started to taste things.  When she hit the gravy – she questioned the recipe and man oh man did the fibbing start.   Now Mom broke a real sweat and told her the recipe came from Ladies Home Journal.  (Between us, she had never even seen that magazine).  Grandma had a questioning look but accepted the suspicious answer.

Fast forward to the dinner table.  Everyone was blown away by the meal except for Grandma.  She was sampling every dish and questioning my mom about the techniques and recipes.  It was obvious she knew Mom was up to something.  Then she turned to me (I am not a good fibber).   She started to fire off questions about when we started to set the table, when mom went shopping and when she started cooking.  Mom was kicking me under the table as I lied my way through the questions.  Dad rolled his eyes and took another sip of his Wild Turkey while my brother Rick (who had gotten stoned with our cousin Stevie before dinner) just grinned and piled some more stuffing on his plate.

When Grandma asked my about the spray painted silver leaves – I cracked and started to cry.  The guilt was killing me.  I couldn’t take it anymore – I confessed.  It turned into major family drama – yelling, screaming, flying yams and then Grandma left.  She was disgusted.

Things eventually calmed down and the next year Thanksgiving dinner moved to Grandma’s house.

Have a wonderful guilt-free holiday.



PS – Just in time for Hanukkah!  You’ve gotta read Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food by my good pals Jordan Schaps and Aaron Rezny.  I couldn’t be more proud to tell you that one of my stories was selected for the book!  Click here for all the details – it’s truly the most delicious read of the year.

PPS – It is with great excitement that I announce has had a face-lift! Out with the old and in with the new, as they say! Our new AF&Co. website was designed by the ever talented Emily Shoop and we can’t thank her enough for the absolutely amazing work! If you haven’t already, take a peek and let us know what you think!

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