Follow the Directions

And no, I did not find this recipe on Pinterest!

One thing most people probably don’t know about Mark Tracy is that he was a pretty good cook. He wasn’t afraid to try new things, and he used to say that presentation was everything. That should explain the above photo.

All kidding aside (wait, is that even possible?) when he wasn’t trying out new culinary inventions, he really was a good cook. He used to say all you had to do was follow the directions.

I would imagine that many people have fond childhood memories of their grandmother making a delicious Thanksgiving dinner every year. I am not that grandmother.

My method of “helping” in the kitchen has always been to take pictures and stay out of the way.

“All you do is follow the directions!”

Voilà! Perfect every time!

Then, the next day you make soup with the leftovers.


All this from the same man who would seriously think nothing of eating Ragu (or anything else) straight out of the jar. Or can. And I’m not making this up.

Left: One of the last photos of the grandkids with Papa Tracy. Right: Christmas 2015. Mark was still in charge of the kitchen, and I was still taking the pictures.

This April 13 marks the fifth year since Mark passed away. None of us can believe it’s been that long since he was with us. In some ways it seems like forever, and in some ways it seems like just yesterday. That being said, I still haven’t made a Thanksgiving turkey. However, due to its popularity, I have taken over his role as the official cranberry sauce maker of the family. It’s not too hard.

Just follow the directions.

23 thoughts on “Follow the Directions

  1. Linda

    Thanks for giving us that did not know Mark a incite to just who he was. Good looking dude also. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anonymous

    Great post! It was good to see pictures of him! He was a wonderful person!! I can’t believe it’s been 5 years?

  3. christinaclaborn

    Oh how I miss my daddy! He was one amazing person! He was truly one of my best friends! I think of him everyday. Sometimes the memories bring smiles, at times laughter, and yes, sometimes tears.
    Thanks Debra for posting this! Love you!!!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Christy! The father-daughter relationship you two shared was truly remarkable. And I would say, very rare in the world we live in. I am glad I got to see it first hand. I love you too!!🥰🥰

  4. What lovely sweet memories! I can almost smell the turkey. That little exchange between you and your daughter made me smile – a very special relationship 🙂

  5. Lulu: “What a nice remembrance for Mark! I bet he would love to know that you all still remember him and the food he made!”
    Charlee: “Dada does most of the cooking around here.”
    Chaplin: “Mama says he is a pretty good cook, but he says he’s just good at following directions.”

    1. Foster: Well our mom isn’t a good cook and she doesn’t follow the directions so I’m just glad I only eat cat food!
      Panda: Well I wouldn’t mind some delicious bamboo every now and then.
      Mom: Are you guys answering comments on the blog again?
      Foster and Panda (in unison): Ummm….

  6. I’m sorry about your loss. That photo of him smiling with the turkey is the best 🙂 It sounds like you all had some great Thanksgiving’s as a family, and that’s great!

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