Thanks For Thanksgiving - Hunter/Gatherer Blog at - 256694


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
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Jack-o-Lantern Pie
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Sunday's Harvest
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Nov. 12, 2011 8:17 am
It sounds wonderful and it is a great tradition! I love Thanksgiving too. What a great way to Respect the bird!
Nov. 12, 2011 8:34 am
My mother made mashed turnips every year, every year we refused to eat them and told her to stop making them. She has passed on now, I always put an empty dish on the table in honor of those hateful turnips and her loving memory.
Nov. 12, 2011 12:29 pm
Ya know, I love it, too! For many of the reasons you stated ~ No gifts, no expectations (except for good food) and we all just have fun! I have been cooking T'giving for the last 3 years. It is just my sis, nephew and hubs! I cook everything and we eat 'til we are comatosed! Great blog!
Nov. 12, 2011 7:19 pm
Ever since I became an adult it has been my favorite holiday too. I do it buffet style because we are too many to sit down at once. Yep, we also set aside the "family stuff" and all get along nicely for at least one day.
Nov. 13, 2011 9:37 am
I LOVE the idea of Thanksgiving fireworks!! No mosquitoes!! Thanks for the great blog! Looking forward to the day, also!!!
Nov. 13, 2011 3:17 pm
@iceemama - Thanks! it is a great way to respect the bird!
Nov. 13, 2011 3:19 pm
@covergirl - I hate turnips too! And I love that you have an empty bowl for them!!!!!!! It's really nice to remember the people that aren't with us at our holidays and smile. I use three family branches worth of china all mixed up on the table, so that everyone gets respresented.
Nov. 13, 2011 3:19 pm
@shannon - sounds good! Maybe when I get tired of cooking, I'll head to your place!
Nov. 13, 2011 3:20 pm
@bigshotsmom - It is so nice to have one peaceful day isn't it?
Nov. 13, 2011 3:21 pm
@Chris - If I lived more outside of town then I do, I would for sure set some fireworks off on T-day!
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About Me
I love to garden, and I love to cook what's in my garden. I grew up vegetarian and went through many styles of diet until I ended up where I am today. I love vegetarian food, seafood and poultry. I love to try new things and every year in the garden I rearrange what I'm growing - one of these days I'll find the perfect balance for me.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake bread and desserts, and since the man joined me in the house with two crazy dogs, I get to bake a lot more. My friends and neighbors still end up the lucky recipients for anything he doesn't scarf down though. Cajun and southern food is a particular favorite, I never met a grit or a fricasee that I didn't LOVE!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I am the family baker, so I get to play around with desserts every year for all of the holidays. I am not allowed to skip the brandied pumpkin pies for thanksgiving or christmas, and we have to have lemon something for easter. I also make huge batches of apple butter every winter and that's become my favoite part of fall.
My cooking triumphs
Hosting Thanksgiving last year I served 12 with no assistance. I made the soup, rolls, salads, sides, turkey and desserts. It was a treat for me to be able to do that for my family instead of the normal potluck that we do. No one else had to lift a finger and I got to do what I love!
My cooking tragedies
I have a few, but last year's jalapeno fume cloud takes the cake. I was making a jalapeno pickling liquid and forgot to turn the vent fan on. I ended up having the get my dog and leave the house for several hours while the vapors diminished! Thank goodness I did not throw the habaneros in the pot too!
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