This Thanksgiving was a year of firsts. It was our first year with Sam, the newest family member to join the annual Stolperfest celebration. It was our first year without Grandpa Phil, who passed away in April at the age of 96. And it was my first year to receive my very own ten-pound bag of fresh, unshelled Oklahoma Mohawk pecans.
These pecans are a seasonal Stolper tradition. For as long as I can remember, Grandpa Phil gave each of his four kids a big bag of pecans as a Hanukkah gift at Thanksgiving. He had a local source for the nuts near his hometown of Muskogee. They were always unshelled. They were always abundant, lasting at least a year until the next bag arrived. And they were always delicious.
As a kid, I remember my mom and dad sitting at the newspaper-covered kitchen table, shelling the entire bag in one sitting. They always told me it was addictive.
As I grew up and moved out on my own, my parents regularly gave me a sandwich-sized satellite bag of these pecans from their own stash.
The year Mike and I got engaged, my parents brought none other than the famous Oklahoma pecans as a gift when they visited Mike’s parents home for the first time.
While Grandpa Phil wasn’t there to hand out the pecans himself this year, Grandma Nancy continued the tradition and ten-pound bags were distributed to each of her four kids, and for the first time, to me.
As I sat at the kitchen table shelling the pecans, I had some time to think. I realized how much these pecans remind me of Grandpa Phil. They demand hard work, just like he did. But once they’re done, no matter how you serve them, they bring people together, just like him.
Until We Eat Again,
Two Happy Cooks