Food and Family #socs

I spent half my life living in Chicago and the suburbs, meaning I lived half my life in Cook County, Illinois. Just an interesting side note.

My stepfather, Tex, was a good cook, and since he had experience cooking for a crowd, he usually cooked on the holidays. He was a master of the Weber kettle. That’s a charcoal grill with a vented lid, making it an oven when it had to be. On the big holidays, that’s where he’d cook the meat: turkey on Thanksgiving, prime rib on Christmas, leg of lamb on Easter, and ham just about anytime during the year, sometimes in addition to or instead of the holiday meat. Didn’t matter if it was ten below and snowing, he cooked outside. 

Mom was one who, if you didn’t have a place to go on the holidays, she’d insist you join us. For that matter, if you didn’t want to eat alone on a given night, she’d invite you. “We’re just having chicken and a vegetable,” she’d say, “come on over around six.” It was easy to wrangle an invitation to our house.

Sundays were for “the usual crowd,” which would be Grandma Holton and her sister Florence and Mom’s Aunt Cash. Tex would drive down to Rogers Park and pick them up in the early afternoon and they’d spend the day with us. When Tex took them home, they’d have “care packages” of some of the leftovers. We always cooked for an army, so there was plenty for everyone. 

Tex had a nickname for the old ladies, “The Lavender Hill Mob,” after the movie with Alec Guinness. Eventually they all passed away, and with that went my Sundays. By then, of course, I was married and living in Atlanta, but it was a loss.

I wish I could have just one more dinner with them. 


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is sponsored by Linda Hill.

16 thoughts on “Food and Family #socs

  1. Precious. Bittersweet memories.
    We had a Weber for a long, long time. I preferred it. No one cares what I prefer, because I am not the grill man šŸ˜‰ Be a bit like The Mister having an opinion on my stove, I spose.
    I run an open house for Thanksgiving and invites vary year to year. But I’m stingy with Christmas. Christmas is the six of us only. (Only five this year.) I suppose one day they’ll have families of their own, but for now, just this clan at Christmas.
    And a very merry one to you and yours, John šŸ™‚


    1. I think there was one time when it was just my family on Christmas. And, if I’m not mistaken, it was the last one Dad was at, so it would have been 1965.

      I was nowhere near as good with the Weber as Tex was. He was a grand master. I tried turkey one year and we ended up having to finish cooking it in the oven.

      And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What fabulous family traditions! Sounds like a very loving family. I so miss family during the holidays. I remember all the great gatherings when I was coming up and the memories are bittersweet: They’re awesome memories and I miss those times so much.
    Thanks for sharing your traditions with us. Merry Christmas John.

    Michele at Angels Bark


  3. Know how you feel. Tex and your mom were my favorite friend-parents.

    I wish I could see my dad’s goofy ‘I’m glad you’re home’ smile one more time.

    Merry Christmas, John.


    1. Do you remember the night we were in your room and your father came in and started yelling at both of us to clean the room, and he said at the end “I’m yelling at you both because I can’t tell you apart!” Your Dad was great. Merry Christmas, Mark!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As an attendee at many, many of those dinners I too miss them. Thanks for the reminder of some great times! Merry Christmas to you and Mary.


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