Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving is Coming!

It's just around the corner.....and I've got some serious planning to do.

Grant's parents will be arriving next week and his brother will be coming down from DC a couple of different times, so preparations are in order!

Which leads me to question, as I do every year, how do I balance keeping traditions with my obsession with trying new recipes?  There are some things that Grant insists upon: "It's not Thanksgiving without Mashed Potatoes", he firmly declares.

Funny to me, because we never had mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving in my family.
My grandparents did most of the cooking, and all of my mom's siblings and their families gathered at their house for the annual Thanksgiving Feast.  The menu, always the same:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Homemade Cornbread Dressing (never stuffed in the turkey)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Corn (canned or frozen from my grandparents' garden)
  • Green beans (canned from my grandparents' garden)
  • Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top (I never ate it, not once). 
  • Rolls (either homemade or from Harps Grocery store - some of the best rolls EVER)
  • Strawberry Gelatin Salad (my mom made it, very delicious, even though I'm not a jello person)
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Chiffon (or Praline) Pie, made by my Aunt Nancy
  • Pecan Pie
  • 1 Mincemeat Pie (not sure who ate that, maybe an uncle or two)
  • Piles of sweetened whipped cream (seriously, the running joke in the family, spoken by everyone to everyone else was "Would you like some pie with that whipped cream?")
  • Apple Cake
I can't remember anything else.  Mom, was there anything else?

I loved the tradition, always knowing exactly what was going to be on the table and how delicious it was going to be.  The anticipation of that pecan pie was almost unbearable!

Now that I'm part of another family too, there is incorporation of my traditions with theirs....and the building of new ones.

And I just can't leave well enough alone and insist on making new things every single year.  Sometimes they turn out well, sometimes not so much.

This year, my eyes have been lingering on some new ideas from Taste of Home.....but I don't know if I'll have the guts to make all of them.

I do know, without question, that I will be making this sweet potato casserole.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that sweet potatoes are marvelous and this concoction is just divine.
I will also be making a pumpkin cheesecake, and while I already have a wonderful recipe for it on here, I'm thinking about trying another one. Why not?

So my questions for you are, do you make/eat the same things every Thanksgiving?  Do you try new recipes on unsuspecting guests?  Am I the only one who does that?  (Grant seems to think I am.)
What's on your menu for Thanksgiving?  What recipes can you not do without?


  1. Traditional foods - that reminds me. Somehow in our preparations for our first thanksgiving together, (we hosted my family), deviled eggs got mixed into the conversation. I thought it was in the context of 'things my granny always has at thanksgiving', and even though i thought it was an odd addition, i wanted to make sure we have everything important to him as well as what my family wanted, so of course i added deviled eggs to the menu. Luke was very delighted to have them on the menu.

    Months later in discussing holiday foods and deviled eggs, it finally comes out that devilled eggs are not a thanksgiving tradition in either family, just something Luke really likes when made to his taste and so he was excited when i'd suggested them as part of the menu.
    I still have NO clue how I had it in my head that he had to have devilled eggs for thanksgiving... but now of course, he DOES have to have them ;) it's a new traditional food!

  2. Well, Rebekah, I can think of some other things that we always had at Grandma's house. We had real cooked cranberries (mainly for Granddad), although, Anna and I really like them, now. We also had celery stuffed with pimento cheese spread. And, we had one mincemeat pie and maybe an apple cake. And, it seems to me that most of the time we had Grandma's homemade rolls. It's only been in the last years since her death in '98 that we have had Martha Harp rolls (I think).

    Of course, the day after Thanksgiving, even though we had plenty of desserts left over, we had to have chocolate pies and lemon pies (fresh, homemade, of course).

    You are very brave to try so many new recipes on guests. But, you are a wonderful cook, so you can usually judge when a recipe is going to be good or not. It's just sometimes we get surprised by new recipes. :)

  3. Lana,
    That's a funny story about the deviled eggs! I have never heard of that as a traditional Thanksgiving food either....but why not? Who doesn't like deviled eggs?

    Mom, I guess I forgot about the cranberries because I never ate them. Or the celery either. I AM making a homemade cranberry sauce this year, we'll see how it turns out.
    And I guess I thought we had mincemeat pie at Christmas, not Thanksgiving. But again, since I never ate it, what would I know?

    I miss chocolate pie. And lemon pie too. But I miss Thanksgiving with Grandma and Granddad the most.

  4. We have deviled eggs every Thanksgiving and Christmas, always have! :0) Also potato casserole...YUM!

  5. We have to have wild rice stuffing on Thanksgiving -- it's a family tradition :)

    I love the pumpkin cheesecake idea ... might have to think about that one :)


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