Thanksgiving glows pink and green

For many families, Thanks giving is as stuffed with traditions as it is with dressing and pies. But the Pilgrims would recognize few of the rituals Americans treasure today (see story) - especially in my family.

Before my Dad moved to Florida, my sister and I always had two Thanksgivings, one on the holiday with Mom, and another the next day with Dad. My mother is an excellent cook. My father is ... well ... he has the gift of humor.

Dad always served what he dubbed his after-Thanksgiving special. My sister and I called it the "I'm turning green" casserole.

There was no turkey in this dish. No self-respecting turkey would get anywhere near it, we always teased Dad.

"You guys have no taste," he'd reply. Then he'd demonstrate again how this meal should be prepared: Boil a bag of egg noodles, drain, return to pot, and add a can of cream of mushroom soup. Leave pot on medium-high heat.

Then, with a flourish, he'd add the star ingredient: chunks of Spam, minus the jelly. The "nuclear pink glow," he claimed, added to the aesthetics.

Finally, he'd throw in two cans of peas and stir up his creation. Invariably, the mixture burned on the bottom, and the black bits got into almost every bite. These Dad called "tasty flavor chunks."

"You aren't going to make us eat that?" my sister and I would groan.

My dad, acting wounded, would repeat, "You guys have no taste."

Maybe not, but that's how the two of us liked it. Our ritual was more about reconnecting through laughter than it was about tasting Dad's lousy cooking. The day after Thanksgiving just wouldn't have been the same without that distinctive, glowing green mess.

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