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Thanksgiving's Day Traditions


lovebenton0
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OMG! We almost had to break tradition this year and were going to drive to MIL's in Lafayette as she is not feeling like flying here. But mr has a new job, doesn't feel like jumping out of state right now, and my turkey is saved! :laugh:

Mom and brother will be here, probably the girls, depending on their work/lovelife/college (not necessarily in that order :wink:) obligations.

So the menu is coming together. Pumpkin-something-wonderful for dessert from brother this year, his fresh cranberry/orange relish, something green from Mom (plus whatever else she thinks up to bring. :wink:). Turkey, cornbread dressing, rolls, stuffed squash, and sweet potatoes with plantains and pecans here, for sure.

What does everybody do the night before? When I was in college one of my jobs was managing and baking in a pizza shop. Wednesday night before T-Day was one of the single biggest selling days of the year. :rolleyes: Easy, fresh pizza, we bake or you bake, no strain, no mess, no clean up involved. :biggrin:

Guests usually arrive the day before and I like to do something light for dinner, completely removed from the next day's offerings, and fairly simple. Considering doing frittatas with fried polenta this year (make ahead basics like polenta are good things :wink:) and a nice green salad.

What will you kick off with?

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Sweet Potatoes with Plantains and Pecans

3 large sweet potatoes

4 plaintains (unripe to mid ripe-- mostly green to slightly yellow)

2/3 cup pecan halves split

Syrup

1 stick butter (unsalted)

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (ground)

1 tsp ginger (ground)

1/2 cup apple cider plus 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Garnish:

12 pecan halves

Thin slivers of *candied ginger (optional)

Peel sweet potatoes, and cut in quarters.

Cut each section in half (or 3 pieces if potatoes are very large).

Cut plantains in half crosswise. Take a sharp knife and slit the plantain peels lengthwise. Remove peeling.

Quarter plantains.

Spray a 3 quart (or 9" x 13") glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Arrange the potatoes and plantains so you have a piece of plantain for each two sweet potatoes pieces.

Melt butter in saucepan, stir in brown sugar.

Add the apple cider/cider vinegar to make a nice syrup.

Stir in cinnamon and ginger.

Cook on med low, stirring until well blended and slightly thickened.

Add pecans to syrup.

Ladle evenly over sweet potatoes/plantains.

Top with the additonal pecan halves (and slivers of candied ginger, if using).

Cover with heavy foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 375 F.

SP and plantains should be very tender but not mushy when done.

Remove foil from dish, turn off oven,  return dish for five minutes to set the glaze.

*If the candied ginger seems hardened, soak in a little warm cider for a few minutes.

Can any of this be done ahead? Well, I'm assuming the syrup can be, but could I bake it partially and then warm it the rest of the way? I'm running low on oven space, but it this is better made fresh, I can find the space!

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Sweet Potatoes with Plantains and Pecans

3 large sweet potatoes

4 plaintains (unripe to mid ripe-- mostly green to slightly yellow)

2/3 cup pecan halves split

Syrup

1 stick butter (unsalted)

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (ground)

1 tsp ginger (ground)

1/2 cup apple cider plus 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Garnish:

12 pecan halves

Thin slivers of *candied ginger (optional)

Peel sweet potatoes, and cut in quarters.

Cut each section in half (or 3 pieces if potatoes are very large).

Cut plantains in half crosswise. Take a sharp knife and slit the plantain peels lengthwise. Remove peeling.

Quarter plantains.

Spray a 3 quart (or 9" x 13") glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Arrange the potatoes and plantains so you have a piece of plantain for each two sweet potatoes pieces.

Melt butter in saucepan, stir in brown sugar.

Add the apple cider/cider vinegar to make a nice syrup.

Stir in cinnamon and ginger.

Cook on med low, stirring until well blended and slightly thickened.

Add pecans to syrup.

Ladle evenly over sweet potatoes/plantains.

Top with the additonal pecan halves (and slivers of candied ginger, if using).

Cover with heavy foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 375 F.

SP and plantains should be very tender but not mushy when done.

Remove foil from dish, turn off oven,  return dish for five minutes to set the glaze.

*If the candied ginger seems hardened, soak in a little warm cider for a few minutes.

Can any of this be done ahead? Well, I'm assuming the syrup can be, but could I bake it partially and then warm it the rest of the way? I'm running low on oven space, but it this is better made fresh, I can find the space!

Sure. You can prepare the dish without garnish the day before, baking covered for about 30 minutes. Cool, keep covered, fridge it and bring it out to warm to near room temp before putting back in the oven. Add garnish. Finish baking another 30 minutes, then at the end uncover as in recipe and serve. So you can do that while turkey (or whatever) is resting and being carved.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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OK. Here's the

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Oven 375 F

1 cup hot mashed sweet potatatoes

1 cup warm potato water, warm water, or scalded milk

1 cup scalded milk (yes, 2 cups total liquid)

7 or so cups AP flour

2 Tbsp dry yeast

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 to 1-1/2 tsp salt

4 large eggs

1/2 tsp mace, ground

the spread:

1 stick butter, softened

brown sugar

1 to 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

1/2 to 2/3 cup broken pecan pieces (or walnuts, or hazelnuts if chopped fine) (optional) More for on top with glaze if you like.

Beat together the sweet potatoes, liquids, and 1 cup of flour, allow to cool to lukewarm.

Stir yeast into mixture, cover and let the sponge rise until lightened.

Stir down with a wooden spoon.

Cream butter and sugar, add salt and eggs, blend thoroughly.

Stir creamed mixture and flour into sponge.

This is a rich dough. You want it to be firm but not a stiff dough.

Knead for several minutes.

Butter dough ball, place in bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.

Pat dough out onto floured board.

Roll dough into rectangle to about 1/4 inch.

Spread with the soft butter and sprinkle on a good amount of brown sugar, and the cinnamon.

Sprinkle on nuts, if using.

Roll it up into a long log, pinch-seal edge against board and cut into 1 inch slices. Works best to cut by slipping thread under rolled dough then pull up and together to close loop.

Place slices in buttered cake pan(s), cut side down, just so they touch. You can do one big cake pan or 8"/9" individual layer cake pans.

Brush with a little melted butter or spray.

Let rise again.

Bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes.

Glaze (or not).

All that being said, I usually put covered dough ball in fridge to retard overnight then pat down, roll, shape and finish. I have also completed through shaping rolls and set covered in pan(s) in fridge. Then take out in the morning let rolls finish and bake. But lots of times you just don't have the room for that on holidays!

These keep really well -- if there's any left. Which also means you can do the whole thing the day before, then brush tops with a little butter, warm up in the morning, and then glaze. :biggrin:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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That Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll recipe looks really good!

The night before Thanksgiving is nothing special in my family.

One special Thanksgiving was held in 2001 at my godmother's apartment. We all said something about what we gave thanks for. I said I was thankful that we were still here and they hadn't wiped us out. Many others had more obviously positive things to say, but ultimately, I think the celebration of life is the most positive thing, and holidays to me are really all about the joy of surviving to share another occasion and another meal. Jews traditionally say the Shehechianu for special occasions, thanking God for sustaining us so that we are able to celebrate the occasion. And really, if you think about it, that's what's so great about every day - that we're here to appreciate it. As the wonderful Headmaster (retired and still alive and kicking at 92) of the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine that I spent 3rd, 4th, and 7th grades at used to say at Chapel every Friday, "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." And whatever your religion is or isn't, isn't that what breaking bread with loved ones on holidays is really all about? Whatever else happens on your Thanksgiving, I hope all of you have the chance to rejoice in that day.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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That Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll recipe looks really good!

The night before Thanksgiving is nothing special in my family.

One special Thanksgiving was held in 2001 at my godmother's apartment. We all said something about what we gave thanks for. I said I was thankful that we were still here and they hadn't wiped us out. Many others had more obviously positive things to say, but ultimately, I think the celebration of life is the most positive thing, and holidays to me are really all about the joy of surviving to share another occasion and another meal. Jews traditionally say the Shehechianu for special occasions, thanking God for sustaining us so that we are able to celebrate the occasion. And really, if you think about it, that's what's so great about every day - that we're here to appreciate it. As the wonderful Headmaster (retired and still alive and kicking at 92) of the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine that I spent 3rd, 4th, and 7th grades at used to say at Chapel every Friday, "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." And whatever your religion is or isn't, isn't that what breaking bread with loved ones on holidays is really all about? Whatever else happens on your Thanksgiving, I hope all of you have the chance to rejoice in that day.

Thank you, Pan. That was beautifully said.

Breaking bread with loved ones reminds us of the essence of life. To give thanks for that -- however one perceives the Universe -- is a gift in itself.

The feast is just the exquisite cherry on top we foodies love so much! :biggrin:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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Pan - I am far from religious in any way, but that touched me, here here. I agree totally, this is what the holidays are about, rejoicing in what we have, in who we have, in our many blessings, in our treasured memories and in our hopes for the future. Man, I love the holidays, I wish it could stay this time of year all year round.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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  • 2 weeks later...
Pan - I am far from religious in any way, but that touched me, here here.  I agree totally, this is what the holidays are about, rejoicing in what we have, in who we have, in our many blessings, in our treasured memories and in our hopes for the future.  Man, I love the holidays, I wish it could stay this time of year all year round.

Me, too! :wub: But then what would we do to make it special? :wink:

Changing a few things in our particular/peculiar "traditional" t-day celebration. :shock::raz: Going with a different method for roasting the turkey: EVOO oiled cheesecloth draped bird from Monroe (LA) Cookbook, by the good ladies of Monroe, alerted to this by our own inimitable Monroe LA hero, Mayhaw Man. :biggrin: Book is on Amazon.com eG link. One pecan pie from me (girls won't be able to make it until t-day) and brother's pumpkin cheesecake this year. Mom's bringing a five bean salad with green beans and blackeye peas, etc., she's never done before that really does sound good. My version of pork mincemeat is doing (original version from the Pork cake thread) -- just altered enough to make it most compatible with the menu at large. And, wow! :raz: gorgonzola cheese spread for the stuffed celery (as opposed to a bleu or a zesty pimento spread); marinated artichoke heart dip with our roasted/pickled red Anas and garlic for a little different twist to serve with crudites (relish tray in southern speak :wink:)/toasties/crackers.

I always like to fiddle with the main plan just usually wait until this week to do it so I can surprise myself. :raz::laugh:

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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i'm an expat living in the Uk. I'm treating my friends here with this menu. I'm trying to male it a modern take on traditional recipes.

HERB ROASTED TURKEY CROWN/TUSCAN TURKEY RILLAD

BOURBON GRAVY

CRANBERRY CHUTNEY AL LA TROIS

PANCETTA, PORCINI AND LEEK DRESSING

ROASTED GARLIC CHAMP

CELERIC GRATIN

CORN SOUFLE

CREAMED SHALLOTS

GREEN BEANS WITH MINT VINAGRETTE

WILD MUSHROOM RAGOUT

CHILI ROASTED CARROTS

CORN BREAD

SALLY LUNN ROLLS

TRIO OF THANKSGIVING CRÈME BRULE

MINATURE PUMPKIN PIES, CRANBERRY PIES and BURBON PECAN PIES to take home with them..

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i'm an expat living in the Uk. I'm treating my friends here with this menu. I'm trying to male it a modern take on traditional recipes. 

HERB ROASTED TURKEY CROWN/TUSCAN TURKEY RILLAD

BOURBON GRAVY

CRANBERRY CHUTNEY AL LA TROIS

PANCETTA, PORCINI AND LEEK DRESSING

ROASTED GARLIC CHAMP

CELERIC GRATIN

CORN SOUFLE

CREAMED SHALLOTS

GREEN BEANS WITH MINT VINAGRETTE

WILD MUSHROOM RAGOUT

CHILI ROASTED CARROTS

CORN BREAD

SALLY LUNN ROLLS

TRIO OF THANKSGIVING CRÈME BRULE

MINATURE PUMPKIN PIES, CRANBERRY PIES and BURBON PECAN PIES to take home with them..

Great menu! Love your take on some classics. You should have happy guests!

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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  • 2 years later...

I could happily live the rest of my life without eating the traditional Thanksgiving meal. ETA: I'm talking about the food here. Not the companionship, memories, wine, or other good times. I am happy to put up with the mediocre food of Thanksgiving for those other gifts. This is a food website.

Granted, one of the problems is that some person in each family, regardless of skill or interest in cooking, is "obligated" to cook it so, therefore, it is frequently poorly cooked.

The traditional protein is an oven roasted whole turkey. Well, it's tough to get those thighs done without making the breast dry. An amateur without a lot of equipment might use the popup timer, thus ensuring an overcooked bird. Amateur home made gravy is frequently floury and bland.

The stuffing. Maybe it's me but there are lots of other sides that I'd rather have. Plus, in the days of MRSA (I know not really applicable but I'm being hyperbolic here), it can be dangerous to eat when done by a home cook.

The sweet potatoes. Meh.

The pumpkin pie. It all comes down to what you like but I'd prefer some good quality ice cream and a cookie to that which frequently closely approximates the sweet potatoes (especially if the cook did a mashed sweet potato).

I think it's easier/safer for an average/disinterested home cook to make something like steaks and twice-baked potatoes or pasta or pot roast or dozens of other things other than the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Lots of potential menus are easier to make well, regardless of the cook's skill or inclination.

There, I said it.

Discuss.

Edited by mojoman (log)
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Ouch, mojoman! Thanksgiving is not just about the food, although it should be a highlight.

I'm guessing you're the only eGulleter in your family?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Peter,

While none of my family members are hardcore foodie types like me, they all love good food and they can all cook, many pretty well.

That only strenthens my opinion that the traditional Thanksgiving meal is difficult to do well and is, therefore, dislike by me.

When made by people who can't cook...yuck.

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Perhaps you should volunteer one year to make the Thanksgiving meal for your family and show them how it should be done.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Perhaps you should volunteer one year to make the Thanksgiving meal for your family and show them how it should be done.

:biggrin: I thought someone might say "You do it better then."

Even though I consider myself a good amateur cook, I just don't think the potential for deliciousness is that high for the traditional TG meal.

I haven't tried to make it though.

Edited by mojoman (log)
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Quite honestly, I hate turkey and my mom's a vegetarian, so we do a sides meal.

Stuffing, homemade, with mushrooms and onions, brussell sprouts steamed in butter, homemade cranberrie orange relish, mashed potatos,cottage cheese, olives and celery.

We have pumkin pie, and apple.

But, My mom is a total foodie so everything is edible.

---------------------------------------

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I feel bad for you. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - I don't think it's particularly hard to cook a turkey or any of the traditional sides. Good food, wine and family.

I should have indicated that I'm talking about the food. Not the wine or companionship.

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My family would lock me in the basement if I did not cook Thanksgiving dinner! And like some of the other post this is my favorite holiday also.

I think most people want certain food at thanksgiving for different reason, remembering childhood days, and with the way things are in our world it is nice to see that somethings don't change like dressing and yes green bean casserole. I think for certain people seeing these foods on the table surrounded by love ones gives them some comfort and hope for the coming year.

I think these dishes we put on our table good or bad is more a reflection on our family and loves ones. I lost my father this year and believe me I will have his

favorite dish on my table no matter if it is eaten or not. :smile:

Remember it is the memories and comfort you are making as a family not an article for the Times as a food critic.

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Dry turkey is pretty awful, I'll give you that. Well, it's not awful, but just not enjoyable. The rest of it is all stuff that is kind of hard to mess up. I've always loved the traditional Thanksgiving flavors -- maybe I don't cook enough with sage the rest of the year, but the flavor of it in the stuffing is just wonderful. And squash -- I love squash. Baked, mashed, in pies, in soup, I love it all, but really only make it for Thanksgiving. Same for the rest of the dishes. The total package of Thanksgiving flavor combinations is hard to beat.

It does grow tiresome if you have it too much, though. The last few years I've eaten not one or two, but four full Thanksgiving dinners each holiday. Starting with mine on Wednesday, it continues daily at various relatives' and friends' houses until Saturday. No wonder I only make this stuff once a year.

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Dry turkey is pretty awful, I'll give you that. Well, it's not awful, but just not enjoyable. The rest of it is all stuff that is kind of hard to mess up.  I've always loved the traditional Thanksgiving flavors -- maybe I don't cook enough with sage the rest of the year, but the flavor of it in the stuffing is just wonderful. And squash -- I love squash. Baked, mashed, in pies, in soup, I love it all, but really only make it for Thanksgiving. Same for the rest of the dishes. The total package of Thanksgiving flavor combinations is hard to beat.

It does grow tiresome if you have it too much, though. The last few years I've eaten not one or two, but four full Thanksgiving dinners each holiday. Starting with mine on Wednesday, it continues daily at various relatives' and friends' houses until Saturday. No wonder I only make this stuff once a year.

I also like the flavors and memories that go along with the meal very much--but also--just once a year for me!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I also like the flavors and memories that go along with the meal very much--but also--just once a year for me!

I just received notice that one Thanksgiving dinner has been canceled due to pinkeye. Yes! Er, no, I mean those poor, poor people.

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:biggrin: I thought someone might say "You do it better then."

No, Hon. The real danger is when they say, "You do it FOREVER, then."

I've done our traditional dinner since I was a teenager, having family and guests and all sorts of add-ons and lonely-but-fors, and last year we cooked for eight, a huge traditional Southern Thanksgiving meal, with cornbread dressing, home-canned snap beans with bacon and onion, eggs-in-the-giblet-gravy-just-like-Mammaw's, a black skillet of baked creamed corn from the several hundred ears that we had tailgated, shucked, cut and put in the freezer back in July, devilled eggs, and a dish of bright tomatoes, snugged into newspaper before first frost, and ripened in the dark to save for the holiday table. And two kinds of cranberry, both of which I forgot and had to go rescue from the fridge halfway through dinner.

I cooked the food, wrote about the food, took pictures of the food, and blogged it all for a week on eG, while Chris was in the hospital with a kidney stone and I was running back and forth to the hospital. He was dismissed on Wednesday, got in the car, and his first words were "Did you get a fresh turkey?" He spent Thursday morning smoking it, and it was wonderful, as usual.

The meal was wonderful as well. But for the first time in all my hostessing life, I counted the minutes between the end of dessert and the time I could decently rise and bid them good night. I know I stifled several yawns, and did not offer to go make that second pot of coffee.

I'm a good cook. I love the preparation and the meditation and the decoration almost as much as the celebration.

This year, we're invited to dinner with DS and DDIL in their new home.

Hallelujah. :wub:

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Perhaps you should volunteer one year to make the Thanksgiving meal for your family and show them how it should be done.

:biggrin: I thought someone might say "You do it better then."

Even though I consider myself a good amateur cook, I just don't think the potential for deliciousness is that high for the traditional TG meal.

I haven't tried to make it though.

What about educating them a dish at a time? Volunteer to make the gravy or the mashed potatoes. I'm sure they'll notice the difference and appreciate it.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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