There are many Christmas traditions I miss – those familiar happenings that only my dad could have created. He was the biggest kid when it came to Christmas. He would bravely face the busiest malls leading up to the holidays and no expense was spared. Our tree overflowed with gifts, the food and drink were abundant and the festivities began bright and early each year with a barrage of Beach Boys music at 6:00 am on that merry morning. And in the subsequent years, long after I had moved out of the house, that music still sounded when he called me at that same hour to make sure I was up and getting ready to head over. (side note: I took a break after writing this paragraph to surf Facebook and one of the videos I turned on was Beach Boys music – got the message loud and clear Dad!)
Our Christmas dinners were much-anticipated. The turkey was always perfect, the mashed potatoes and gravy were unrivaled and nobody made stuffing like my mom. We were always thankful for copious amount of food because that meant turkey sandwiches, Turkey Tetrazzini and, of course, my dad’s famous Turkey soup.
It took me years to figure out why his soup was so good. I’ve known lots of homes that had the stock simmering and the soup ready the next day but none of those creations even held a candle to my dad’s soup. It wasn’t until I paid faithful attention that I realized his closely guarded secret when it came to his ingredients.
Each holiday celebration when we have a turkey, I happily pack up the leftovers to recreate dad’s soup and I am confident that my dad would be proud of the results. When all is said and done, our turkey soup tastes just like Christmas dinner in a bowl. It’s thick and it has all the components of a full turkey dinner.
I no longer call it Turkey Soup. It is called Christmas soup, and for good reason. It takes all the elements of our celebration from the carefully cooked bird, to all of the tasty side dishes, to the laughter at my nephew pointing out that his Under Armor Boxers were on backwards, and simmers all of that magic together in a pot. It is a soupcon of memories, a fragrant blend of cherished moments, tears and laughter that make up our holiday season.
This years’ Christmas soup is simmering on the stove as I type this blog entry and I’m sure my dad would be happy that his post-festivity creation lives on in the kitchen of our past, present and future holiday celebrations.