The children are heathens

Dateline: Tue 28 Nov 2006

Or perhaps they are simply gourmands.

This Thanksgiving, how many 50-something adults saw their kitchens not only taken over by the next generation of cooks but also told, subtly and not so subtly, that our style of food preparation is so over? And worse: all those meals we served that nurtured our children are now nothing but hot Hoosier slop.

"Mom fries everything in butter," one friend's son said snottily (to his girlfriend), speaking on high of his mother's efforts to put together a great meal with the bird as centerpiece. Hence he commandeered the kitchen early Thursday with the vegan lady love as they prepped their OWN stuffing and fixed their own main course -- something with mushrooms.

At our home, the cooks -- daughter-in-law assisted by son who looked hung over but was not (it's the frumpy computer generation look) -- came roaring into the kitchen about 10 a.m. to fix a wonderful four-course meal.

But of course nothing was quite right. The roaster wouldn't cook the bird until 7 p.m. or so, so maybe they should dash out and buy a turkey fryer, because apparently nothing is more marvelous than a deep-fried bird, and they were not talking about trash-can turkey. This debate was abruptly terminated when they realized that the only place open in Greencastle was Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart is just evil," said my son, shaking his head and apparently forgetting that he happens to toil in the vineyards of capitalism himself.

My daughter-in-law is a marvelous, inventive cook, but for my 63-year-old husband, and perhaps others of our generation, Thanksgiving is not the time to try new recipes. Hence when it came to Joy's hors d'oeuvres made of figs, prochiutto ham and blue cheese, Guy took one bite and said they "tasted like poop." Fortunately she has a strong sense of the ridiculous.

She also laughed, later on, about the fact that he avoided both her signature vegetable dishes: an elaborate favorite of my son's, made with brussell sprouts and bacon, and her special green beans. To my husband, both taste raw -- Hoosiers and those of us in the middle like our vegetables cooked, and by that, we mean "like mother used to make."

Fortunately, my assignment was to stick to the back bedroom with the boys -- Gabe, 5, and Ezra, 5 months. In between watching movies ("Jurassic Park," "Lake Placid," and "Charlotte's Web,") I fed Ezra mashed banana. I am proud to say he ate like a trooper. and I have the banana stains on the Restoration Hardware bedspread to prove it.

Fortunately, mashed banana is one dish that has not gone uptown.

Nor, I daresay, is there anything wrong with butter.



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