Thanksgiving was always white linens, sparkling silverware, and the good china in our house. My mother believed in family sit down dinners, big time. Often, we were living where Thanksgiving wasn't even a holiday ( always felt wrong to me, I mean, who doesn't believe in giving thanks?), but we still had a big family feast. Aspic with celery, ambrosia, oyster stuffing, wild rice, asparagus, etc.
In November of 1967, or it could have been '66, I'm not sure, my mother had invited a large number of Americans working for the embassy in Ankara. She'd snagged some celery root for the aspic (buying celery stalks was unheard of in Turkey back then), and she and the cook had been working on the dinner for days. Tables were set, crystal sparkled, and we were ready for the traditional American feast, a tiny reminder of home in a foreign land.
Unfortunately, there was a political and military crisis involving Cyprus or Israel, I don't remember which, and everyone was locked down in the embassy. Twenty-four hour work went into effect, and our Thanksgiving dinner was over before a forkful was lifted to lips. Mama arranged plates of food and sent them to the embassy via the embassy driver. Then she, my brother, and I surveyed the remnants.
My mother's aspic was famous in our family, but it didn't travel well. Twenty-four aspics remained on the fancy tables. My brother and I took one look at each other, grabbed silver forks, and began eating. I still remember that aspic as the best Thanksgiving dinner, ever.
I've never been able to duplicate that memory of my mother's aspic satisfactorily.