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Thanksgiving's Day Traditions


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I think a lot of the "traditional" foods aren't really all that great (or at least, kind of overrated), which I guess is understandable when you consider that what appeals to the masses isn't always haute cuisine. Like this year, I wanted to try the famous American green bean casserole for the first time, so I did a Google search and many of the comments on the pages I pulled up were about how horrible and yucky this dish is. But at the same time it seems that if you use fresh beans and homemade mushroom soup, it just isn't the real deal.

It's the same with Christmas - how many people really like brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding? (Actually, I do, but almost everyone I know doesn't.)

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I look forward to the Thanksgiving food and as others have said I think it's because it is only once a year. I can only remember only one truly bad meal - at my Aunts house ; dried out turkey, greasy gravy, and wallpaper paste mashed potatoes (she made them in the food processor). But we did get enjoyment out of the meal because we still laugh about it. :biggrin:

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I think a lot of the "traditional" foods aren't really all that great (or at least, kind of overrated), which I guess is understandable when you consider that what appeals to the masses isn't always haute cuisine.  Like this year, I wanted to try the famous American green bean casserole for the first time, so I did a Google search and many of the comments on the pages I pulled up were about how horrible and yucky this dish is.  But at the same time it seems that if you use fresh beans and homemade mushroom soup, it just isn't the real deal.

It's the same with Christmas - how many people really like brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding?  (Actually, I do, but almost everyone I know doesn't.)

I know many people may not like green bean casserole, but it was one of the first things I learned to make when I was young (age 8) . You know the drill I am sure most of us here on this site could not wait to help out for thanksgiving and that was my job.

Of course my mom made a point telling everyone I made it so they all said how much they loved it! :smile:

I wonder how many people here remember the first dish they made for thanksgiving dinner and if like my mom made sure everyone at least put some on their plate!

Now mom makes it like you described Pennylane - and it is really good. As for brussel sprouts I am the only one in my house that will eat them, in fact when I was carrying my son I craved them with loads of butter!

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I just started the prep for T-Day. And since I am doing this part alone I have had some time to think about the whole thing. I like cooking with people, the congregating in the kitchen, and the smell of sage, thyme and orange on my fingers and roasting bird in the air. The slightly greasy jelly jars of mimosa in the morning taste better than fine flutes at an expensive brunch. The slightly greasy rocks glasses of wine bring more sparkle to the eye, joy to the heart and laughter to the lips than dusty bottles pulled from a cellar.

I think this could be because by the time I have nibbled my way through seventy some hours of cooking I'm just not hungry. I like looking around my table of friends and seeing them enjoying themselves. These Friends, here in NYC, are usually orphaned by distance from family, are a motley crew of bartenders, cocktail waitresses, cooks and artists.

Thanksgiving usually starts early, 10am or so, or as soon as we can drag our hangovers out of bed. We forage for mimosas the day before so that early morning liquor run (standing in front of the store, waiting for it to open shifting from one foot to the other like a 7 year old who has to pee really really bad) is unnecessary. We then cook bacon and eggs. It is then time to really time to start cooking.

I must actually get back to it so…Happy thanks giving one and all.

Toby

I will be adding more about the food when I have time.

So I now have my turkey brining with salt, sugar, thyme, sage, rosemary, onion, carrot, celery, an orange, and black pepper. I will let this brine for 24 hours. Tomorrow I am going to experiment with a buttermilk bath.

I have started a sour cherry, apricot compote. This includes, right now, Grand Marnier, orange zest, pinch salt. I will take this off the heat and stick it in the fridge for the night. Tomorrow I will reintroduce some more orange zest, homemade orange bitters, clove, and cinn. I will split that in half and add caramelized shallot to one half.

My stock pot is bubbling away merrily on the back burner. Smells like thanks giving. The sweet of the compote and the richness of the stock making my apt the happiest place on earth.

Edited to add what was on stove.

Toby

Edited by Alchemist (log)

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I just started the prep for T-Day.  And since I am doing this part alone I have had some time to think about the whole thing.  I like cooking with people, the congregating in the kitchen, and the smell of sage, thyme and orange on my fingers and roasting bird in the air.  The slightly greasy jelly jars of mimosa in the morning taste better than fine flutes at an expensive brunch.  The slightly greasy rocks glasses of wine bring more sparkle to the eye, joy to the heart and laughter to the lips than dusty bottles pulled from a cellar.

I think this could be because by the time I have nibbled my way through seventy some hours of cooking I'm just not hungry.  I like looking around my table of friends and seeing them enjoying themselves.  These Friends, here in NYC, are usually orphaned by distance from family, are a motley crew of bartenders, cocktail waitresses, cooks and artists.

Sounds like the "waifs & strays" dinners I used to make when I was single in NY. Thanksgiving, above all, is about sharing with people, the camaraderie, the memories. . . even of the funny incidents. But if you love to cook, it's also about the love you put into the meal.

Happy Thanksgiving, indeed!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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The responses are suggesting that my initial statement was true.  The traditional Thanksgiving meal (excluding family, friends, companionship, wine whoopee, memories----FOOD ONLY) is not that great.

Okay, well I neglected to say that I actually love most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods you mentioned. I love stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Roast turkey was my absolute favourite of all meats before I became vegetarian. But then, I must admit that I am in a minority. I don't know many people who like any of these dishes. One of the only times I've cooked meat for my husband was a couple of years ago when I made turkey for Thanksgiving. He was touched but said that I shouldn't have bothered as the turkey is his least favourite part of Thanksgiving. Come to think of it, when people talk about looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal it seems they're more excited about the opportunity to stuff themselves with a vast quantity of food than the rare treats which I personally look forward to all year, hehe...

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Sadly, I'm with you, mojoman. I just don't like the traditional Thanksgiving dinner much.

I don't really like turkey. There. I said it. It bland and boring and I don't eat it other times of the year - I don't care how good it is supposed to be for me, I just don't like it very much. I like chicken a lot more.

I despise yams. Mealy orange paste glazed in sugar so you can choke them down.

I don't like pumpkin pie. I recently discovered that it's not the pumpkin part of it I don't like, it's that overwhelming, overbearing combination of "pumpkin pie spice". I have a feeling I'd like it a lot more if it were spiced more lightly and with just one or two spices.

My favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table were always stuffing (cooked properly inside the bird - if it's that awful crunchy bread stuff cooked in a dish I'm not interested) and the green bean casserole, which I absolutely adore. Go ahead. Make fun of me. I'll just take my casserole and eat it over there.

And I won't even start on the cranberry sauce, jello or otherwise, and creamed onions, and that terrible fruit cocktail with a scoop of sherbet to start...

...not to mention that not ONE traditional dish is chocolate based! Oh, you can throw some chocolate chips in the pecan pie, but that's just lip service compared to holidays like Christmas and Valentine's, which wouldn't be complete without oodles of the stuff. (And ok, I like pecan pie, but it wasn't traditional in my family. Too "fattening". Like the rest wasn't. But I digress.)

I should state that, with the exception of yams, which I'm not eating for anyone, and mince pie, ditto, I don't really dislike any of these dishes enough not to eat them when served at a dinner that someone took the time and effort to create with love and present with pride. As mojoman said, it's about the companionship and sharing and memories and laughter.

But good grief, I wish the food was better.

So what am I making for Thanksgiving dinner this year? Reservations. And you can bet I will not be ordering turkey.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I guess I'm one of those rare people that adores the whole Thanksgiving meal. The turkey (granted, it is hard to do a good one, which is why we now buy them from the best little smokehouse in the Ozarks....the best smoked turkey in the world...I swear it's addictive!) we buy and it's the most important part. But we make everything else from scratch, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. My family waits all year for that meal (well, that and Christmas dinner).

I think it has a lot to do with tradition and childhood memories, but to me, it's just not Thanksgiving without those foods...it would just be another ordinary family dinner.

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I didn't realize there were so many who dislike tha traditional dinner. I love all of it Roast turkey, pototes, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie.

OK. I admit I don't like the candied yams and I loathe green bean casserole. When did this become "traditional" anyway? Oh! When Campbells started pushing it. Of xourse.

One thing I don't do is use canned "cream" in my pumpkin pie. Hate the gooey texture. I use half and half and a good slug of brandy along with the spices and it's lovely.

I can't imagine eating steak or prime rib or such for T-day.

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Count me as another who loves the traditional dinner (but hates green bean casserole). It's not that any one dish really stands out (and mojoman is right that a lot if it is often done very poorly). But the sum of all the parts (turkey gravy mashed taters stuffing and cranberry sauce/relish, all on one plate, with a pumpkin pie finish) is heaven to me. I'm sure some of it has to do with the good company and good past associations...but I don't get that particular mix of flavors at any other time of year, and I look forward to it.

You're right - there no one dish that I think is really great by itself. Together they are delicious.

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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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.

This has been my approach this year, just trying to make really good versions of a couple things that no one really likes to make. I'm making the stuffing (trying one of John Folse's cornbread stuffing recipes) and cranberry sauce (from whole cranberries instead of the can, with a little orange, mustard, and ginger).

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When people ask me what is my very favorite meal of all, and people do, you know, I always say that it's the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

My turkey isn't dry. It's moist and juicy. And it's covered with a very flavorful gravy flecked with bits of giblets and neck meat. It's served with cornbread dressing made from scratch, cranberry relish laced with orange and port, caramelized yams (not mashed), peas & mushrooms, green bean casserole (not my personal favorite but some members of my family like it so I fix it), home-baked honey ham, and for cool and crunchy, a classic Waldorf Salad and a relish tray, and rolls and butter. For dessert, pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

As I said, this is my very favorite meal and I and my family wait all year for it, and for the leftovers that we consume the next day.

One year, I just hadn't been feeling well, and I didn't want to cook, so I got the entire family, myself, hubby, three kids, and we went off to the fanciest restaurant in town, where they were having a Thanksgiving Buffet. It was a glorious spread, with everything anyone would ask.

As we sat in our large family booth, eating this sumptuous meal, I cheerily asked everyone if they were enjoying themselves. My twelve-year-old son said ruefully, "Well Mom, it's good. But this is NOT the stuff from which tradition is made."

And I heartily agree.

I never tried to pull such a stunt on them again.

:cool:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'm making the stuffing (trying one of John Folse's cornbread stuffing recipes) and cranberry sauce (from whole cranberries instead of the can, with a little orange, mustard, and ginger).

For the cranberry sauce, you might peruse this thread. It's got lots of good ideas and suggestions:

Cranberry Sauce

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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When people ask me what is my very favorite meal of all, and people do, you know, I always say that it's the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

My turkey isn't dry.  It's moist and juicy.  And it's covered with a very flavorful gravy flecked with bits of giblets and neck meat.  It's served with cornbread dressing made from scratch, cranberry relish laced with orange and port, caramelized yams (not mashed), peas & mushrooms, green bean casserole (not my personal favorite but some members of my family like it so I fix it), home-baked honey ham, and for cool and crunchy, a classic  Waldorf Salad and a relish tray, and rolls and butter.  For dessert, pecan pie and pumpkin pie.

As I said, this is my very favorite meal and I and my family wait all year for it, and for the leftovers that we consume the next day. 

One year, I just hadn't been feeling well, and I didn't want to cook, so I got the entire family, myself, hubby, three kids, and we went off to the fanciest restaurant in town, where they were having a Thanksgiving Buffet.  It was a glorious spread, with everything anyone would ask.

As we sat in our large family booth, eating this sumptuous meal, I cheerily asked everyone if they were enjoying themselves.  My twelve-year-old son said ruefully, "Well Mom, it's good.  But this is NOT the stuff from which tradition is made."

And I heartily agree.

I never tried to pull such a stunt on them again.

:cool:

Thank you Jaymes, I feel exactly the same way. Since you said it first, I feel okay about also saying that I have never, ever cooked a dry turkey and I can really feel the pain of those who've had to endure sawdust turkey for Thanksgiving.

Thanks for starting such an interesting discussion mojoman. It must be Hell on Earth to have to endure year after year of foods you really hate especially if they are poorly done. But I think what you are saying is that you hate the taste of all of the traditional elements of the Thanksgiving meal, right? I had no idea that there were so many people out there who hated all of the traditional dishes.

However, I happen to love all the foods of Thanksgiving for the following reasons:

1) As I've already said, I have never made a dry turkey. Never. Most of the time I roast my turkey doing nothing extra special like dissecting the bird and cooking it in different parts or flipping the bird to breast side down half way through the cooking and then re-flipping it and back again. And for many years now I have never, ever repeatedly basted my turkey since I consider a total waste of time. The best turkey I ever made was done a couple years ago; it was a deep fried turkey that could not have been juicier and the skin crispier.

2) Buttery mashed potatoes. Love these too. What's not to love? Potatoes, butter, salt and your choice of dairy: half and half or whipping cream or creme fraiche, etc. And please no garlic smashed potatoes thank you.

3) Cranberry sauce/relish. Cranberries, sugar, diced apples, orange juice and zest, golden raisins, dark raisins, cinnamon and toasted walnuts. This is my version and one I really love. Again, what's not to like?

4) Sweet potato pie. A staple of the Southern Thanksgiving and a quite delicious one as well. I like pumpkin pie, but mostly no one in my family likes it but me since for their tastes and memories sweet potato pie is THE TRADITION.

5) Stuffing: This is one of the most versitile of traditional side dishes. Basic bread cubes with celery, onions, the cook's version of poultry seasoning, and chicken stock, or oyster stuffing, or cornbread/apple/sage/country sausage, or wild rice/mushroom stuffing, the sky's the limit and, when well made, is quite delicious.

Green bean casserole was never served at our house. Mainly it was green beans from scratch cooked Southern-style, some other green vegetable like collards or kale or turnip greens with turnips, and for some reason my mom almost always had sauerkraut which really is a great match for the turkey, stuffing, gravy and potatoes.

Another thanks to you Jaymes :smile: for the idea of adding port :wub: to my cranberry sauce recipe.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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This is a good topic - thanks for starting it, although I realy disagree about the meal.

I am very thankful to have a family full of really good cooks. My sister, who hosts the meal, prepares the turkey, the pies, and most of the vegetables. The rest of us bring a variety of sides. I love every single thing about the meal - turkey that's always delicious, never dry (brined!), lots of very good wine, two kinds of stuffing (traditional and non); jellied, whole berry and chutney cranberries; homemade pickles and relishes; root veg mash; Delicata squash, Brussels sprouts, creamed curried onions; and yes, "moldy salad" aka "the green stuff" - I remember seeing it the first year we did the meal all together and thinking "oh no!" - but it's refreshing, silly, halfway between salad and dessert. Many kinds of pie. Strong coffee. A long walk, and a nap.

The only "controversy" in my crowd is gravy - I always make the gravy because there are a number of folks who don't care about gravy - I need gravy - drippin's, port, giblets...it's all good.

Is the meal itself better than the leftovers? Tough call. Hot turkey sandwich with stuffing, gravy and cranberry chutney is pretty wonderful.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I love making the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I'm not all that wild about some elements, like cranberry sauce and overly sweet, sweet potatoes. So over the years I've made a few traditions of my own that offer options.

But I learned a very valuable lesson about Thanksgiving that makes me enjoy it all the more and never take it for granted. Fifteen years ago I got divorced. What never occured to me was that there would be holidays completely alone, without my husband to cook for or my daughter to cook for because she'd be at his house with his new found ready made family, and my other family members were with their respective spouse's families. I dreaded that first Thanksgiving with no one to cook for and I was horrified and depressed. I mentioned it at work one day and was surprised at how many people face the holidays alone. So I invited them all to my house. I told them to bring anyone else they knew was alone. They just had to bring a dish and some kick ass, preferably very alcoholic beverage. I never had so much fun at Thanksgiving in my life. There were about 15 of us. I think the reason it was so fun was that there were no preconceived expectations on anyone's part, just gratefulness that they weren't alone. And gratitude is a great seasoning added to any shared dish.

Too this day I have people over that have no where to go. I've made some terrific friends that way, people I'd have never met if not for Thanksgiving. And I've tasted dishes I'd never have had and come to love. I've even had my share of moonshine. So if Thanksgiving isn't what you want it to be, make it what you want it to be. You'll be surprised. Happy Thanksgiving by the way!

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It seems that whether people enjoy their Thanksgiving meal or not is if they have good cooks in the family, when that happens, even the most traditional foods won't be bad. However, in our family as time has gone on, my sister and her husband have gotten tired of turkey because they normally have it throughout the year in the form of turkey breast dinners, and then when I added my husband, he didn't like cranberries or any kind of squash or yams (heavens!) so we started to rethink the dinner. Now we branch out although my mother still tries to sneak in traditional foods. This year I took the opportunity to make the dinner so while I concede to my mom who wants a baked ham, I'm adding a pork roast. She will also have her pumpkin pie made out of sugar pumpkins and her homemade crust and we always request this - she doesn't overdo the spices! That's about it for traditional foods.

I've happily spent the week on my lunch hour at work going down to the Pike Place Market and seeing what looks good and creating my menu from this. It's exciting and fun, yet I won't be burdened with all the cooking as my brother in law will make a salad and my sister will make parker house rolls. Anyways, I just want to add to the rest that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year - it is just an opportunity for me to do a bunch of cooking and it's comfort food.

I suggest you just make Thanksgiving into what you want of it. Gradually start branching out if you currently help in the cooking or try to create better versions of what you already do. It's worth a shot if you can then enjoy this great holiday.

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I'm making the stuffing (trying one of John Folse's cornbread stuffing recipes) and cranberry sauce (from whole cranberries instead of the can, with a little orange, mustard, and ginger).

For the cranberry sauce, you might peruse this thread. It's got lots of good ideas and suggestions:

Cranberry Sauce

Thanks a bunch, Jaymes, just getting ready to start cooking....I think I'll actually try one of those maple syrup/cranberry ideas....

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i can empathise with the sawdust turkey(no, liz. it isn't ok to roast the turkey for 4 1/2 hours at 400 the day before then reheat). so i have taken over the cooking for christmas and this year will be a heritage bird, mil's sausage stuffing, green beans with garlic, baked sweets and for sandwiches later my family's contributions portugese sweet bread and cranberry compote... and miracle whip for me.

actually this is the first year i haven't had to work the day after thanksgiving and the first time in about 8 years johnnybird will be here rather than up in his hometown.

well, guess that blows my thanksgiving dinner plans - pigs in a blanket. only pigs in a blanket. and a bottle of champagne.

in the past i have done lasagna and pizza, keemah and french onion soup.

i do love turkey breast, though and make it throughout the year in several different ways so it isn't as if i hate the tastes...

now off to finish the traditional thanksgiving eve dinner for john...

and pull that free range chicken, cranberries and green beans from the freezer. good thing i have chicken demi and potatoes for mashing

Edited by suzilightning (log)

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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There is a story here about the increase over same day sales in many restaurants by those travelling for the American holiday and in increase in take away pizza for those who are cooking.

as we were talking about the traditional American Thanksgiving food do you have any traditional Thanksgiving Eve foods ? and please feel free to chime in if you are north of the border since it's about 1 1/2 months since your own celebration, eh?(sorry, guys - 4 years of college in nw ny and i can still sing o, canada in my sleep - and in french and english)

i have just finished my family's traditional clam chowder. when i was a kid growing up we would be busy making breads(portugese sweet and oatmeal), setting the table, getting the turkey ready, chopping giblets, getting veg ready for the platters set out but we always stopped about 5 pm and had the chowder Pop had made and always with oyster crackers. That's a tradition I have carried out for the last few years for John. me? i'm eating bratwursts. i can't stand clam chowder.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I'm pretty sure I heard a recipe today for roasting turkey that guarantees new generations of future haters of Thanksgiving traditional foods for many years to come.

An office mate said she learned this method of cooking her turkey while living/working in Venezuela many years ago (my apologies to all Venezualans everywhere for associating your country with what follows):

1) The night before Thanksgiving, put turkey in oven at 200 degrees, covered with aluminum foil

2) Go to bed and cook for 7 - 8 hours overnight

3) Get up early and shut off oven

4) Let the turkey sit until about an hour before you want to serve it then blast it in a very hot oven to brown the skin.

She explained that this recipe never fails and that it's always best to cook your turkey twice to fully cook out the "toxic juices" :blink: (her phrase, I swear).

I don't think she's actually killed any loved ones yet, but a cooked turkey hanging out in an unlit oven for several hours sounds like a recipe for sawdust turkey a la Salmonella to me. I didn't have the nerve to ask whether this was stuffed or unstuffed. :rolleyes:

Edited to add: Since she cooked her turkeys for such a godawful amount of time I had to ask how large a turkey did she normally cook, assuming something in the 25 lb. range. When she said they were always about 15 lbs., I had to turn away quickly so she wouldn't see the look of horror on my face! :shock:

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Ouch...200 degrees....

See, I love cooking the meal, marginally like eating the meal, but LOVE (and this is really universal in my nuclear family) the leftovers. Seriously, it's all about the leftovers. After dancing with a turkey, ham, stuffing, gravy, stocks, sauces, pies, pastries, breads, veggies, potatoes, etc for 3 days, I don't even wanna look at the stuff glommed on my plate.

I really can't appreciate anything, its like a plate of weird multicolored hash, with a bite of everything, but nothing really shining. This can be said for the most painstakingly prepared from scratch moist, gourmet, perfect meal, as well as the sawdust turkey, canned corn, and instant potatoes, canned gravy nightmare (real menu, true story, almost ruined me on Thanksgiving forever). So, honestly, for us, it's all about the leftovers!

That way, if I want a stuffing sandwich for breakfast dotted with creamed onions, by God, I'm havin it. If I want turkey shreds sauteed with mashed potatoes and garlic, hell yeah. Cinnamon ice cream, with some leftover cranberry sauce eaten at 2 am? Bring it on! We love LOVE leftovers. That's why, this year, we're cooking a 22 lb turkey for 4 people.

As far as not liking the foods? Make other foods? I mean, they didn't even have turkey at the first Thanksgiving, start some new traditons, or go back to the very very old ones, go for a goose and a vat of oyster stew. Have duck! Look up some great old Colonial recipes and put a modern spin on them. Thanksgiving should be what you make it, not a trap or a meal to dread (unless you're heading to my step-sister's house, in which case, you'd be prudent to dread it.)

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I wish we had some kind of firm tradition, it sounds like such a nice thing. Our "tradition" is easy and often junk foody. It's a good night for delivered pizza, take out Chinese, hmm, last year I think it was red beans and rice, with chorizo. I'm thinking chili dogs, tonight. We're not swamped with prepping, so we have time to "cook".

Edited by Lilija (log)
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I love the meal and not the experience (I hope mom isn't reading this). Its one of two days a year (barring any deaths or weddings) when we're all together dealing with the underlying family differences. Actually we have a great, loving family, but everyone besides me in the family is just plain nuts!

But back to the food. I love how my family tradition is 300 White Castles (13 siblings on my dad's side), mounds and mounds of liver spaetzle with brown gravy (my mom's German side), Aunt Betty's cranberry sauce of the year that is always nasty but adventurously tantalizing, and Uncle Joe's bacon stuffed anything. All of that washed down with more wine than any of should consume at our increasing ages.

And yes, we always have a couple of turkeys that are a tad bit dry, green bean casserole that we all laugh at but leave not a drop, sweet potatoes with bagged marshmallows, and on and on. So what a great day and a great meal. For those of you who live outside of the US...you're not missing anything, and yet you're missing the quintessential US experience. I can't wait :biggrin:

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