Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving: Messing with Tradition or Not

I am trying to keep the Christmas decorations in the closet until after Thanksgiving. But it has been tough. I've been weakening since Labor Day. Not. Well, maybe I've been humming Christmas carols just a little.

Looks like someone tried to turn a Christmas nativity into a Thanksgiving scene. The seasons are blurring.

Still, Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. Something about the food coma, family, football, the endless variations of pumpkin pie.  I used to add the start of Christmas movies to my list but those have been going on for a while now too. Yes, I've indulged.



Yep, this is upside down for a reason. Reading a new biography of Rockwell kind of turned me upside down when it came to what I knew about the famous artist and his time.

With all the talk about stores opening on Thanksgiving (ugh, I prefer the after meal walk outside, not walk around the mall) and reading a new biography about Norman Rockwell, I've been thinking about what a "traditional" Thanksgiving really means. Many folks are familiar with his "Freedom from Want" poster featuring a family around a table eagerly awaiting the turkey Grandma is about to set down. Folks take as the representation of a traditional Thanksgiving. When you read the background on Rockwell, you realize how nontraditional he was in real life. 

I know people eat strange things at Thanksgiving and have weird superstitions when it comes to football. Come on, confess.
I grew up going to Grandma's house or visiting my parents' and in laws after we were married. Then my son started having kids. We have rotated between his in laws, his house and ours the past years. Over the years, we've added new must-have dishes to our Thanksgiving feast like my daughter in law's stellar apple pie. It sits beside the green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, little sweet pickles and olives my mom always had, my mother in law's rolls, ManO's carrots and the turkey.

But sadly, my grandson refuses to eat his mom's apple pie. He is a pumpkin traditionalist and he's only five years old. And his sister follows his lead. So their mommy made a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin and now they look at her in awe. Another new tradition was born for this holiday season.

What are must haves for Thanksgiving dinner? I checked with friends.  What a list!

  • Two kinds of stuffing (bread or cornbread) was mentioned several times. That one made me chuckle because my mom used both in her recipe.
  • Don't ask people about cranberry relish because everyone's mama has a different recipe. Virginia has cranberry-orange relish like my mom made.  Some folks just hide the Ocean Spray cranberry can or call it "turkey jello" like my friend Kelly's family does.
  • Pie! It's not just pumpkin.  It's sweet potato pecan, peanut butter, lemon meringue. Missy's pecan pie was featured yesterday in Yankee Belle.
  • Pasta shows up at quite a few homes with Italian roots. Lasagna at one. Homemade ravioli at another. And then there was Mary Connealy's family who has spaghetti instead of turkey sandwiches on Thanksgiving night. I wouldn't expect anything less from her brood.
  • Pintos and cornbread, creamed corn, and other veggies are served as much to honor a departed loved one as anything.

Some even spare the turkey. Gasp! And go with ham!

My dad and his wife have a flock of wild turkeys who visit daily to be fed. How do they look them in the eye?
So, what is your Thanksgiving Traditional Dish That MUST be served? Have you ever had an nontraditional Thanksgiving meal or dish and have it flop? Or did a new tradition start?

43 comments:

  1. Some traditions just don't pass down to the next generation.

    My mother-in-law's dressing is one. When she makes it (or made it - at 90 years old, she hasn't made it in a few years), it's absolutely delicious. I could make an entire meal out of it! But even though I watched her make it step by step one year, and took notes, I've never been able to duplicate it.

    Another one is my mom's cranberry jello salad. The children loved it when she made it - but when I try, it becomes a leftover that languishes in the refrigerator until I finally have to dispose of it.

    I'm going to try the dressing again this year, but not the jello.

    But the rest of the menu stays the same: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (no marshmallows!), green beans, Brussels sprouts, a relish tray with carrots, celery, pickles (sweet and dill) and olives.

    And pie. Of course pie.

    I usually make two pumpkin and one apple. This year I'm trying Missy's pecan pie, too!

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    1. My sister is the one who got to learn how to reproduce all my grandmother's candy. I made my mother's jello salad for years but it hasn't been requested of late.

      No marshmallows?????

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    2. Oh I forgot to mention sweet potatoes! Candied nut NO marshmallows for us either.

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    3. My sister has the best candy recipes! She makes chocolate covered cherries and all sorts of truffles. MMMM.

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  2. Well, our thanksgiving has come and gone but we always have tofu veggie stir fry over brown basmati rice. (Hey -- can you hear turkeys cheering everywhere?) And pumpkin pie and apple pie are definitely on the dessert menu.

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    1. That sounds so much better than tofurkey!

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    2. Tofurkey is disgusting!!!! And expensive!!!!! Please do not assume that all tofu dishes taste like tofurkey. Yuck! Blech!!!!! That was one dreadful Christmas dinner that will never be repeated!!!!!

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    3. I've always said that having new dishes is so much better than trying to make something that will never ever taste like the real thing. At least that is what trying to recreate stuff because of my allergies has taught me.

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    4. Happy belated Thanksgiving, Kav!

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    5. Kav, anything with basmati rice (I like white and brown) makes me happy. I always use it for my rice pudding, too, because it doesn't lose its form/taste/texture. I'm sure there are other rices out there that are good... Jasmine, Carolina.... but once I found Basmati I squirreled enough dollars aside to only buy that.

      What a difference! Very "Road Less Traveled"!!!

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    6. Oh, YUM!! I haven't had a really good tofu stir fry since I left Eugene, Oregon! Nobody up here knows how to cook it, including me.

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  3. Wow I could only wish for lasagna at Thanksgiving! I'm not a fan of the traditional food but eat it cause it's, well, traditional (and also all there is to eat so not a lot of choice..) we haven't been too successful with adding or taking away dishes- a few green bean casseroles have snuck in over the years mainly by the more persistent offspring (not me!)

    and you think making room for new is hard - try having your uncle divorce the one who made the homemade from scratch all the way german chocolate cake and marry someone who thought sausage cheese bisquick balls would be ok with hamburger meat instead of sausage - blech! it's a good thing she has a good personality and was open to suggestions and constructive criticism...I think I"d have preferred Kav's tofu LOL! actually I would probably like tofu if I ever had any done right - one guy I used to work wtih brought some once and it was good- my attempts were NOT!

    ok Jan - finally got your amish book- think this will be my first amish romance - decided it was time to take the plunge...may even start it today!

    Susanna

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    1. I plunged into Amish Romance with Vanetta Chapman. Jan is also a wonderful Amish story teller.

      Yep, those blended family traditions are a challenge.

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    2. I'm trying to get the Seekerville authors and figured I should start with the cafe - already have Ruthy and Missy and Virginia and just got Jan's and I have Mindy's to read...so those 2 are up next for me! do u have any out?! I do ok except for historical though I read that genre from time to time..held off on Mindy's because hidden baby themes and long separations aren't my faves but they seem to be popular LOL so I may as well get with the program since that's life! :-)
      Susanna

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    3. None out for me but thanks for asking!

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    4. I hope you enjoy the story, Susanna! Thanks for trying it :)

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    5. LOL people keep publishing so you never know! I'm a reader not a writer! this one is really good so far..suprised since I don't usually like historical and didn't think amish would be interesting...at work and came out and a bunch of stuff had come in and I had no idea since I was caught up in the story! might have to wait til I get home or have my coworker come and take the ereader out of my hands when it gets busy...
      Susanna

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    6. I'm laughing at the thought of your co-workers nabbing your e-reader!!!! How funny!

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    7. Jan's book was my first Amish, too! Well, I think I"d started a few. Never finished them. Loved Jan's book! But every time I try to review it on Amazon, they take it off. Maybe because we have the same publisher. I'll let you give her the five stars!

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  4. We're very traditional at Thanksgiving. Christmas is where we go off the norm (because we're sick of turkey).

    We do cornbread and herb dressing (Pepperidge Farm crumbs plus crumbled cornbread). We do jellied canned cranberry sauce. Mashed potatoes and giblet gravy are a must. :) then throw in the traditional green bean casserole with the fried onions on top. We also like a cranberry-raspberry Jello salad with a sweet cream cheese topping. Now I'm starving! :)

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    1. What are those words you used? "sick", "of" and "turkey"? Those words don't belong in the same sentence.

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    2. I'm coming to your house! you eat normal LOL! my grandmother's recipe for dressing is cornbread and it's not my fave- I always liked the stuff at Wyatt's and Luby's better but shhhh dont tell the family! my dad and uncles wouldn't touch any fancy cranberry sauce - they like the jelled kind where you see the can marks on it ... I did try a homemade version that was pretty good but I ate it like a side dish and not mixed with the dressing!
      Susanna

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    3. oops never mind Missy - missed your earlier post about no marshmallows...dealbreaker :-( well guess I could hide my own stash in my purse..but no chocolate pie hmm not sure...thinking Whataburger LOL! I'm working day shift that day so probably a frozen dinner then make up for it Christmas.
      Susanna

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    4. Missy, are you going to share that cornbread stuffing recipe? Have you put it up here before? I'd love to try it...

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    5. I haven't yet, Virginia. Must do so! Along with the cranberry jello salad for Ruthy so she won't send neighbors to rescue me from myself! :)

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  5. Missy, you and I hit the publish button at the same time! I got sent back to "go" and told to hit publish again, and it was YOU!!!!

    I'm ducking my head into my arms because I will not read about canned jellied cranberry sauce when there is cranberry orange relish!!!! Oh my stars, I'm calling Missy's neighbors and havin' them send on over a dish of cranberry orange relish!!!

    But Missy Tippens you have intrigued me with your Jello dessert... cran/rasp/cream cheese?????

    Why haven't you shared that recipe my friend? If you have time this holiday season, will you share that?

    (Note how nice Ruthy is when she wants something!!!! ) :)

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    1. I want the real cranberries too, Ruthy. But I will only buy them in a bag. I saw an old woman (well, older than me) swishing her hand in a "collect your own" tank at Fresh Market. Ew.

      Our jello dessert was strawberry, crushed pineapple and banana in strawberry jello topped with sour cream.

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    2. Collect your own tank??? I'm not a germ freak but that sounds really, really, really bad. Like Typhoid Mary bad. EW.
      We're lucky we have the local Chinook Indian tribe berries year round.

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    3. I'll share it, Ruthy. It's so good!

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    1. I think I need to give one of those to each of my children.

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    2. They are local. But I am sure the same sentiment is on pillows at Etsy. If you HAVE to have one, I can check.

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    3. I love that pillow, too because it looks so vintage! Is it flour sack??

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  7. I told Julie of my mother's attempt to go fancy a few Thanksgivings ago by having an appetizer of broccoli cheese soup. Good stuff, but people wanted to know--where's the turkey and dressing? She never made it again. Good stuff, just not for Thanksgiving...Tradition means a great deal to people on this holiday.

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    1. Oh, I was going to put that in along with my mom's attempts at odd stuff. Bother! Your poor mom and mine too!

      I think it is really interesting how Butterball has been talking about a 16-20lb fresh bird shortage. People who would never dream of such a large bird are scrambling to get one. They want one straight out of the Rockwell painting.

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    2. I"d like to have broccoli cheese soup!
      Susanna

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    3. We would have liked it too. We didn't like the boxed Mrs Smith's pie instead of our grandmother's recipes!

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    4. If it was the appetizer, was there no main course? I am not a fan of broccoli, but broccoli cheese soup is delish. And 20 lbs???? We have 8 people and there's no way we could eat that much turkey!

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    5. I always buy a 20 pounder. I count on it for at least four meals - often six or eight.

      Turkey is a bounty not to be taken for granted!

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  8. Okay, so if they're having ham on Thanksgiving to spare the turkey, are they having turkey on Easter to spare the pig?

    Since my daughter became vegan, we've had to change up a number of recipes. This year, she and I will have a nut roast while the others eat turkey. Honestly, I prefer the nut roast. I love those turkey leftovers in sandwiches, but I'm not a big fan of the plain turkey.

    Nut roast recipe (for anyone who is interested *Kav?*) can be found here.

    http://xgfx.org/2011/10/lauries-nut-and-mushroom-loaf/

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