By: Amy Wise
Flashback to Thanksgiving 1993…Jamie and I had been husband and wife for just a few months and we were going to our first “married Thanksgiving” at his sister’s house. His sister asked me to bring a dish to share with everyone and I was so excited to be contributing to the Thanksgiving dinner. I was a little nervous because it was our first holiday as a married couple with his family. I decided to bring the staple dish that I had grown up with…green bean casserole with french onions on top. You all know it, you all love it, you’ve all had it…right?
Well, we got to his sister’s house and I proudly walked in with my green bean casserole. I set it on the table, took off the foil, and waited for everyone to dig in. After we said a prayer everyone started to dish up all their food from the table…everything but my casserole that is. So I thought, hmm, why is nobody eating my green bean casserole? This is a favorite at my house…what’s up? I was starting to get a little hurt as everyone dished up and walked right by my beans. Whatever…I proudly filled my plate and ate those beans up! However, I was literally the only one! Apparently black folk don’t like green bean casserole.
The funny thing is after that holiday meal, I was given the task of bringing the rolls and the soda going forward. Yes, you heard me…rolls and soda…pretty impossible to screw up right? My green bean casserole has been the holiday funny ever since. Good thing I have a good sense of humor! At first it really did hurt my feelings, but now I can actually look back and laugh. This was one more thing to adjust to in a mixed marriage….getting used to each other’s traditions big and small. As time went on I graduated to making complete meals for Jamie’s family…um, minus the green bean casserole!
The hilarity continued this year when my sister-in-law Niki called to let me know that the green bean casserole commercials had started and she couldn’t wait to make it. I laughed! It truly is the running joke even after all these years. By the way, a little aside, Niki is white like me. The silliness continued on Thanksgiving day while talking to my mom. She said, while giggling, ”Be sure to tell Jamie that Aunt Sal is cooking green bean casserole today.” Then minutes after that phone call, Jamie’s longtime friend Calvin, otherwise known as “T”, called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. Jamie and T were comparing menus and T listed green bean casserole as one of the dishes he and his wife were making for dinner. Jamie quickly said, “Oh hell no!” and just started laughing! He then proceeded to share the infamous green bean casserole story with T. Another little funny, T just so happens to be black and his wife is white. Do you see a pattern here? I have yet to talk to an all black family that serves the infamous casserole.
Through the years the green bean casserole jokes have become another fun tradition that we all share as we continue to embrace the differences between our two very opposite families. Who knew that each year we would literally have comedy in a casserole!? It’s a perfect analogy for us.
By: Brandy Black
I cooked my first turkey this year. This is a big deal coming from an ex-vegetarian with a flex-a-tarian wife. We screeched and screamed our way through the prepping stages and I think I washed my hands 100 times- they are shriveled and dry now, but…. the turkey was a success. Or at least my guests didn’t complain. So I do believe the basting every 20 minutes for 4 hours (yes it was 17 pounds) was worth it.
We also started our own family tradition. Ordinarily the “Black family” always find snow the day after Thanksgiving. We will sled or ski or just sit in a lodge and sip cocoa, but we are determined to seek the cold white fluffy stuff that makes you feel like the holidays are here. This is especially important for us Californians who can only rely on synthetic snow to boost our Christmas spirits. So…the Black-Howards (Susan, Sophia and me) have continued this tradition and have this year, upped the ante…Disneyland! It wasn’t intentional. We actually got tickets as an extended activity from a wedding we attended on Friday. We almost skipped it but the bride (who was beautiful at the wedding-congrats Amy) convinced us that Disneyland would be decked out with holiday joy. She was right! For a girl who likes to submerge herself in the hallmark holidays (we’ve gone through this before), Disneyland is the place to be. Christmas trees and holiday lights were around every corner and there was a holiday parade that ended with a perfectly suited Santa waving to my jaw-dropped daughter. It was pure joy and surprisingly Sophia couldn’t get enough of all of it. Here I was worried about the experience being wasted on a toddler.
“Ride! Ride! Mama”
“Mickey Mom. Mickey”
It was a wonderful holiday weekend for all. Now I fear my wife will never jingle another bell again and Sophia will forever carry around her Mickey Mouse balloon, deflated or not.
My own storybook note: I didn’t hit the November deadline for National Novel Month- I made it to 25,000 words but I will finish it!
On another note: My wife just launched the best children’s CD, check it out on our products page. I’m so proud of her!