Thanks for Thanksgiving
Nov. 12, 2011 6:13 am
Updated: Nov. 13, 2011 3:21 pm
Thanksgiving is quite simply my favorite holiday, and the only way to make it better would be to add fireworks. But really, not even that is necessary, I just really love fireworks....Back to Thanksgiving. I am the only one of my siblings that isn't married
and doesn't have kids, so T-day is my holiday. It's the only holiday that doesn't involve gifts, loads of decorating, and child-centered events, so it's perfect to be the feast that I get to host. I've been in charge of the fourth Thursday
in November since 2004, and every year gets better, and bigger.
The guest list can get pretty big, and the amount of food grows with each new guest. I have two diabetics, one on low sodium diet, one sensitive to shellfish, one who doesn't like nuts, one who doesn't like beef, one allergic to chocolate, three who don't eat
pork, a toddler, three kids between 5-7, and a growing number of adults. I've got parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews, a niece, inlaws' parents, siblings in law, and friends. We always have at least a friend or two. Some years I have some cousins who
pop in, other years I have an uncle show up. One year my daddy drove 1500 miles to join our crazy loud boisterous multigenerational festivities. That was the first peaceable gathering between him and my mother in more than 20 years.
The food traditions that everyone brings get more involved every year too! Some of my favorites are:
Baking pies with the kids - I usually try ot have most of the apples cut and the dough made, then the kiddos get to take turns rolling, filling and assembling the pies. the older they get the better the pies look
:) We do this first, and the pies bake while we're eating dinner.
My dad's mother's corn crab chowder with parmesean wafers. We are from the Chesapeake region you know - crabs are good with every meal! (This is a PERFECT starter course- I make the soup with a veggie and chicken
stock with no salt, serve low sodium dieter on the list, then go back add the salt and serve the no seafooders, then go back and add the crab to serve the rest of us)
Sweet or Savory - my brother in law loves sweet maple brown sugar yams, and can't have T-day without them - but there's a handful who prefer savory - so we have his yams, and a savory squash recipe.
Campbells vs. Plain - my sister in law, and now my brother's whole family, loves green bean casserole, the rest of us not so much, so we always have one casserole and one plain green veggie, sometimes green beans,
or brussels sprouts or asparagus.
Applesauce & Cauliflower - we cannot have dinner without homemade applesauce and cauliflower with a cheese sauce (not together mind you). Who knew that these two dishes would be essential? My brother has threatened
to boycott if I ever leave the cauliflower off the table.
Three kinds of cranberry sauce! - Homemade sugar free cranberry with blueberry sauce for the diabetics, homemade regular cranberry relish, and jelly outta da can.
Brandied Pumpkin Pie - another recipe from my grandma. I make homemade pumpkin pies with her secret recipe adding lots of ginger and lots of brandy.
And, that's just SOME of the sides. It gets epic. Really.
So, the thing is that with all of this work and 10,000 dishes, why do I love it? For me, it's about being closer to my friends and family. Spending time with the kiddos. Celebrating my grandparent's wedding anniversary (this year is Number 60!!!!!!!) learning
more about the people I love, having everyone to my house for one day, sitting back and watching four generations come together with no material things - no gifts, no shopping, no expectations. It's about hearing my grandpa say grace, and watching my nephew
help grandma carry bags in. watching the dogs under the table hoping that the 2 year old throws them something. Figuring out what marvelous dish got forgotten in the kitchen. Sending leftovers home with everyone.
Thanksgiving is the one day out of the year that we try to put aside our petty family bickering (you know, the stuff you and your family have too) and just enjoy each other. That's what Thanksgiving is all about for me.
So, what are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Foods? Things you cannot live without?
Thanksgiving Turkey 2010