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Jim Fabiano is a retired teacher and writer living in York.

It is that time of year again. A time when one’s entire family gets together to enjoy a feast that defeats 364 days of constant exercise and dieting. I especially love Thanksgiving because all I have to do is show up and eat.

During the days before the big day, I like to remember my favorite foods of past Thanksgiving days. Some stand above the rest and are remembered throughout the rest of the holiday season.

The first food that comes to mind is a green bean concoction that is found on the corner of the large dining room table that is only used on Thanksgiving Day. It is produced by one of my sister-in-laws and never makes it through the first serving.

I know it is made of green beans but one can see very little of the green of the beans because they are engulfed in a thick gray sauce that has chunks of some unknown stuff in it. If you think it doesn’t look very enticing, you are right. But, if you have the courage to taste it, you quickly forget about its appearance. The taste is remarkable. I have been known to fight for that particular corner of the table with a not so loved brother-in-law so I will have little difficulty serving myself over and over again.

Deviled eggs are another favorite. When the dish makes its way toward me, I promise myself that I will only have a couple of halves because of a fear of a cholesterol level that would equal the national debt. Twenty-two halves later, and still looking for more, my wife pulls me away from the dish in fear I might explode.

An interesting entree appeared a couple of Thanksgivings ago. In fact, it originally came out of my garden. Not that I was attempting to grow it but some ocean breeze must have blown it in my garden from some place in western England. Around July I assumed it wasn’t a weed, so I let it grow and lo and behold it produced a type of vegetable.

By late October, the uninvited guest’s vine took over most of my garden. It produced a dark green ribbed squash. At first, I was going to throw them all away, but then my wife told me what they were and said that she would make something out of them for the next Thanksgiving dinner.

She did some magic with them by cutting out the insides, mashed them up and then put them back in the skin. My wife then baked them in the oven for a couple of hours or at least the time it took to watch a football game, and then sprinkled them with brown sugar. They were great.        

No Thanksgiving would be a Thanksgiving without a turkey. Since I have a rather large family who loves to eat, the turkey is usually the size of a small Volkswagen. For the past few years, it never makes it to the center of the table because we are all getting a bit too old to carry something that heavy.

The turkey is carved on top of the stove and plates are filled with white and dark meat. I always end up with one of the legs because everyone knows how much I love dark meat. To be honest I really don’t love the leg, but I do love sitting at the end of the table feeling like Fred Flintstone gnawing on a Brontosaurus leg.

Gravy flows like water. I cover everything with gravy. Even the string bean mixture can’t defend itself against the flood of gravy I pour onto my dish.

One would think after all the food of the day that was forced down one’s throat and into one’s expanding stomach you would be forced to stop eating. Not with the tradition of desserts lying on a table between the dining room and the living room. If one thinks they can get past this table to pass out watching some worthless football game they have another thing coming to them. There are pumpkin pies, apple pies, blueberry pies, and of course the ever popular mince pie.

One year, one of my cousins advised all of us that we should skip dessert because of the large amount of food we eat during the main meal. I don’t think we ever invited that particular cousin to another Thanksgiving feast.

Once again it is that time of year. Months of eating sticks and dirt have become useless because of one meal. The end of Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of a dreaded season for me. A season that I actually have to do more than just show up and eat.