Traditional Foods

Sharon November 23rd, 2009

Perhaps because Thanksgiving is the one American holiday where even Americans who don’t cook do, at least a little, it is a good time to talk about food traditions.  So what’s yours?  What does your family eat at Thanksgiving or during the rest of the year that everyone else doesn’t?  What are you cooking this week?

Me, I’m not doing the cooking this year - my Moms are.  I’m in charge of the cranberry sauce, and that’s it, although I’m hoping to get my fingers into a few pies (metaphorically speaking, of course ;-) ), since I can’t imagine not doing any cooking at all on Thanksgiving!

So what are you cooking this week?

Sharon

45 Responses to “Traditional Foods”

  1. Karen says:

    I am in charge of apple pie & pumpkin bread – in large quantities. It is really the best of fall baking for me here in New England. Still yummy local ingredients around so it takes fantastic.

  2. Abbie says:

    My family is up to our necks in pie all this week. Since we started selling pies in our farm market when I was a little kid, this has been our busiest week of the year. We’ll bake 24-hours for the next few days, and open the doors at 6am to sell pies. Growing up, I remember skipping school, sleeping in sleeping bags on the kitchen or office floor, and baking, baking, baking! We’d box pies and label them, organize them, and act as runners for the girls on the register. As I got older, my brothers, cousins and I ran the show, baking all night, catching a few hours of sleep, skipping school and hopping on the cash register all day. Now that I have a real job, I can’t skip work but I’ll stop by afterwards tomorrow and Wednesday to relieve the folks on the register, who likely have been there all day.

    By Thanksgiving… it’s unanimous: No pie! We’ll make special pies that we don’t sell at the market, like great-grandma’s butternut squash, pineapple, or buy frozen chocolate mousse pies, since we’re so tired of the same old ones we sell!

  3. Deb says:

    Thanksgiving is much more laid back than Christmas as far as food goes in our household. Turkey with my mother’s dressing, sweet pototoes, 7 layer salad, a sweet bread and pecan pie. And lefse and stollen.

    Lefse and cookies are the two things that cant be missed for the holidays. We can do without gifts, without all the house trimming, without all the parties but we must have lefse and cookies. We do the tree right after Thanksgiving and take it down on January 1.

    My mother made 15 different kinds of cookies starting on Thanksgiving weekend and we gave cookie boxes to everyone–the mailman, the neighbors, the folks my parents worked with, the library lady, the pastor, the bus driver etc etc. She made a point of making sure the older folks got a box so they were always included in our baking frenzy. And they were all cookies she never made at any other time of year. Most were German or Norwegian cookies with anise and butter and lots of nuts. She was known for it and passed on all the recipes to me when she finally couldnt see to bake anymore.

    I’ve toned it down a bit, maybe to 4 or 5 kinds depending on the budget. I make the stollen for the extended family with the marzipan log in the middle. And this year, with both gramma’s gone, I’m nominated to make the lefse.

    I’ve never made it alone before.

  4. This year I’m only responsible for the non-vegetarian stuffing, roasted leeks, a cabbage dish, the gravy, and probably a savory pumpkin dish. All these dishes will feature food we grew/raised/baked ourselves. We’re a big clan, so we’ll have at least 20 dishes on hand, not counting the desserts.

    It’s not Thanksgiving to me without pecan pie; it’s a once-a-year treat for me. I *almost* put myself on the hook to provide my aunt with shelled hickory nuts (gleaned from her tree) to substitute for the pecans. But with fall chores the way they are, and hickory nuts the way *they* are, plus my lack of shelling experience/prowess, I just knew it wasn’t going to happen. But hey, there’s always next year.

    This year I’m giving up on my cranberry relish. Everyone prefers my husband’s cranberry chutney anyhow, so I’m “gracefully” acquiescing.

  5. Lynda says:

    I”m on the hook for a dessert, and my son, who is hosting the dinner, requested–weeks ago–his favorite, bread pudding. I recently came across a recipe for an apple tart that sounded really good. I told my son the other day I found a recipe for a good-looking dessert, and that I planned to make it for Thanksgiving. He said, “Does it rhyme with ‘ead udding’?”
    I’ll make his favorite, but will try out the new one too.

  6. Heather says:

    I’m bringing the appetizers and 1 of the pies. For my part I’ll bring veggies and dip and a cheese platter with local cheeses including a fromage blanc and a bleu cheese and chutney cheese spread as well. The pie I’m making is the one very non local thing, its a chocolate pecan pie. I just can’t resist.

  7. Wendy says:

    If I had to say what our “traditional” holiday foods are, I would name the same ones that everyone else would name: turkey, stuffing, potatoes … etc.

    The thing is, I’ve been thinking about this whole tradition a lot lately. Seems to me, the whole spirit behind the holiday is to celebrate the harvest, the “local” harvest, and to give thanks for the bounty that has been provided. As such, it doesn’t make much sense for someone who lives where no cranberries grow to include that in their “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner.

    So, I’m trying something new this year. Instead of just serving whatever is “normal” for this year, I’m trying a 100-mile feast with a twist – this year, we’ll be serving things we grew on our nanofarm or that we are able to purchase from local farmers. On the menu will be smoked rabbit (we raised), lobster (locally caught), potatoes, cranberry sauce, creamed corn, pumpkin bread, and other locally sourced delights …

    … unless we get guilted into going to the in-laws for the holiday, in which case, we’ll be having the usual stuff, and I’ll be bringing cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread, applesauce … and maybe a fresh, leaf-lettuce salad using some of the greens that are still growing in my garden ;) .

  8. Fern says:

    Well, one brand of refrigerator rolls is my son’s traditional choice, sigh. We usually have a turkey – one year we did duck and that rocked, too. We always have a corn bread pudding. This year we’re trying a steamed pumpkin pudding. There will also be a variety of other foods – two types of green veggies, a green salad, cranberry relish, baked sweet potatoes.

    And if the pumpkin pudding fails, we’ll bake apples.

    Pretty much everything except the orange in the relish and the rolls are local.

  9. Tara says:

    I agree with Wendy, and have been thinking about this a lot. We’re having my brother and his girlfriend over for Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and since the parents and our sister are not involved, we can start our own traditions this year. I really had wanted to cook one of our homegrown ducks for Thanksgiving, but after three failed hatches, that wasn’t to be. We’ll be having turkey instead, since I already had one in the freezer, and the sides will be a mix of homegrown and purchased – stuffing, corn pudding, greens, rolls, waldorf salad with dried cherries and cranberries, shoo fly pie and pumpkin pie (pumpkin pie is non-negotiable – it will also be my brother’s birthday, and it’s his favorite dessert).

  10. Cathy says:

    Woo-hoo — no dinner at my house this year — everyone in the family is going different directions so I am joining my neighbors Holly and Bruce for dinner. Think I will take Scalloped Corn as it is a family tradition. No cornmeal in my version though. (Or ‘Scalped Corn’ as my family calls it.)

  11. Thanksgiving is one of two holidays that my family would all be upset if I changed anything. Even though it is just my husband and college age son this year, I have to have turkey and dressing (not stuffing), broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. I’m the one who has to have cranberry in some dish.

    The only changes we have made with less people at the table is doing without sweet potatoes, bread, and other desserts.

  12. cecelia says:

    roasted brussel sprouts and chestnuts – with a butter sauce – I grew the brussel sprouts but the chestnuts came from the farmer’s market. I make this twice a year – T Day and Christmas. Even have a special old dish to serve it in – which also only gets used twice a year.

    My sister and I both love depression glass and added to what we inherited by picking up pieces at flea markets. T Day is when we go hog wild using all these unmatched but colorful
    plates platters and bowls. Table does look so pretty.

    I love this time of year – family and friends and cooking!

  13. Lynne says:

    I’m just sitting down to read my new copy of Independence Days :) My husband ordered it and “Soil not Oil” in secret as a present for me. just arrived today. Yay!

    Canadian, so Thanksgiving is in October for us, but one treat that my mom and sisters make is pumpkin roll, and I make pumpkin pie from home grown pumpkins if it’s my turn to cook. Pretty standard, but heavenly.

    I need to stay thankful for where I live and what I can grow. When I read about places where sweet potatoes and pecans are local and in season I get really jealous! Happy Thanksgiving to you all in the US.

  14. Lorna says:

    We’re generally straight up traditionalists; turkey, potatoes and gravy, squash, cranberries, apple and pumpkin pies. We want our traditional food and nothing innovative. But this year, I’m working on Thanksgiving and am having family over on Friday. Since they’ll all get a Thanksgiving dinner somewhere else and don’t want two holiday meals in a row (we did it last year and it was too much), I’m serving manicotti, salad, bread, and apple crisp for desert. It’s not traditional but this is a much loved meal at our house that’s often requested for birthdays and other special occasions. We’ll do the turkey and potatoes meal on Christmas Day this year.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Sharon, I’m very thankful for your blog. It’s a real ray of hope in this chaotic and unpredictable world.
    Lorna

  15. Raye says:

    Growing up, candied yams was a tradition. It was made with sweet potatoes, I think, but those were grown locally.

    In the last several years, though (now living in New England), my beloved and I make a cranberry chutney with one non-local ingredient, ginger. The rest is regionally local (apple cider vinegar, cranberries, cranberry juice, garlic). The hot red pepper when boughten is from far away, but this year we grew our own jalapeño and habanero peppers.

  16. V says:

    For my family’s gathering, I’m actually making the creamy quinoa and squash recipe from “independence days.”

    deeelish.

    this will be the first time I’ve prepared a dish for my extended family’s Thanksgiving meal.

    thanks.

  17. Claire says:

    We’re eating Thanksgiving dinner with my DH’s mom, brother, and brother’s girlfriend. My DH is in charge of the turkey. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey for me. The rest of the meal can be different from year to year, but turkey is a must.

    This year we are getting a fresh turkey from a small local grocery store which specializes in meats. I don’t think the turkey is local or raised in an ideal fashion, but at least the small local grocer is getting some of the money. I’ll find out more about the turkey itself when we pick it up. Next year we might be able to get a turkey from the local rancher from whom we get unprocessed ham at Easter. They tried raising turkeys for the first time this year. Hopefully they will have more success next year.

    My contribution to the Thanksgiving dinnner, and the one for-sure local dish this year, will be ‘Red Meat’ radishes from my garden. I guess this is the dish we serve that no one else does. These things are huge, up to softball-sized, and a gorgeous red on the inside with a green skin. My DH and I love them, and they store really well (I won’t have many left to store, however; must grow more next year.) They aren’t quite up to tradition status, but moving in that direction – for us, at least.

  18. Lori Scott says:

    Sorry to upset you all but we don’t have Thanksgiving over here. Possibly christmas is a big eating fest for some but as its the height of summer for us (and the hottest part of summer too) most aussies at christmas are happy to peel some prawns (shrimp) and seriously siesta after the presents.

    My biggest problem is that I buy a ham for christmas and want to make ham hock soup for new year when it can be even hotter. But you just can’t waste that soup. This year I might freeze it!

  19. Jean says:

    Spending the winter in an RV park in Arizona presents an interesting challenge when preparing holiday meals. This year our street is doing dinner together. Daughter and Son-in-Law are joining us. I bought an electric turkey roaster at Walmart so we could cook an 18# turkey. I know that sounds bad but we don’t have an oven in our RV and deep frying the turkey is totally off limits. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, local corn off the cob, and my home made pickles are my responsibility. Neighbors are contributing Honey Baked Ham, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, as well as various other side dishes and salads. Daughter had to buy rhubarb imported from Holland to make a pie from scratch. Local, sustainable and home grown have been preempted by our desires to enjoy our traditional favorites.

  20. The moms cook here, too but we will have some help … however …

    It is pretty much our only truly carnivorous event of the year, and high in fats and miles and such, too … I have been outvoted every year for thirty-three years.

    I’ll be baking whole wheat apple bread and mashed yams with roasted pecans on top, as well as some butternut squash, and maybe make a tiny token fresh salad — oh, and we’ll try out my new homebrew recipe..

  21. magpie ima says:

    I got a great deal on locally grown, organic cranberries through my buying club so I am in charge of all the cranberry sauces, an apple cake, and a big green salad with pears, almonds, blue cheese, and cranberry vinaigrette. Enjoy your holiday!

  22. Laurie in MN says:

    I am not in charge of Thanksgiving dinner — I rotate Christmas Day dinner with my sister-in-law who is a jeweler. Given the craziness of the retail jewelry scene in November/December, I usually do the honors. Am happy to, actually. I don’t mind cooking, and if I’m doing it, I can lounge at home in my jammies for most of the day. :) The only frustrating thing is that no one wants anything at all different — I can’t even do veggies other than frozen broccoli/carrots/cauliflower unless I want to end up eating it all by myself. I go overboard with Christmas cookies, though, so I guess that’s my unique contribution. Nothing too exciting there, either, but I use the real butter, real sugar, don’t skimp on chocolate or spices, etc. They are pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Need to give more away this year!

    My family’s Thanksgiving is awfully much of a muchness with everyone else’s here in MN — turkey, stuffing(sans sausage, cranberries, or chestnuts), mashed potatoes, gravy, maybe squash (step-mom makes it with sweet potatoes added), some other form of veggie, bread, pickle/olive plate, raw veggie plate, etc., etc. Not a whole lot that is different from anyone else’s around here except maybe for coleslaw. There are pies — pumpkin and pecan — neither of which I’m very fond of. Last year I talked (step)Mom into making coconut cream, which was met with much incredulity by my step-sister, since that’s usually the *Easter* pie. Honestly, all I did was ask. *grin*

    I’d love to do some more conscious cooking at Thanksgiving — focus on stuff that is actually harvested here in the Upper Midwest, and try some less bland (predictable) recipes. I’m not really holding my breath on that one, though. Thanksgiving will never be my responsibility — our house is too small to really hold even a small selection of my relatives, and I feel obligated to spend that holiday time with them as opposed to with my husband’s family, or just with my husband. So I just grin and carry on, even though my family seems to think I’m incapable of cooking. I know differently, and I try not to let it get under my skin.

    Huh — maybe the DH and I need to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, too. :)

  23. Glenn says:

    My wife always does sweet roll dough, either as cinnamon rolls or a Swedish tea ring for her father on holidays.
    This year she is also making dragonwheels, a homemade version of one of her favourite treats from a barbeque stand near where she used to live. Essentially cubed potatoes, onions, garlic, some kind of meat pieces, herbs and oil baked together. The commercial version involved pieces of barbequed pork, was wrapped in tinfoil, and cooked in the barbeque pit. Her version uses bacon ends, and is baked in a casserole dish in the oven of our wood stove.

    I’m not cooking, I’ll be under our cabin installing blocking, floor support reinforcements and insulation.

    We are thinking of slaughtering one of this year’s drakes though…

    Glenn

  24. knutty knitter says:

    Home grown sausages, broccoli, rice and carrots with home made ketchup :) A bit warm really but its what was handy.

    viv in nz

  25. Sonrisa says:

    Hawaiian Thanksgiving will always be my favorite. My family always invited anyone who didn’t have plans. It was semi pot luck. My mom would do a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and everyone else would bring “their best”. The variety was great! Everything from “local” favorites like Spam musubi, Hawaiian style macaroni salad (no, that doesn’t mean there is pineapple in it;)), Portuguese sweet bread, sushi, as well as the mainland traditional dishes. Everyone would load up a plate and grab a piece of floor, or go outside and sit on the grass and “talk story”. Good food, good people, and great times!

    These days Thanksgiving is just our harvest celebration. The menu is based on the best we have from what we grew this year. Last year we had a very traditional Thanksgiving, but last year we raised turkeys and we had pumpkins. We didn’t get around to doing Turkeys this year, and due to a stupid experiment we are pumpkin free (for the first time in 12 years). So, this year we’ll be having quail that we hatched from our own eggs. Stuffing from bread made with homegrown wheat and sourdough. Potatoes from the garden mashed with butter and milk provided by our goats. A salad (lettuce, tomatoes, green onions) from the greenhouse, with homemade dressing and quail eggs. And since we don’t have pumpkins but we have tons of eggs and milk, we’ll have a custard pie instead of pumpkin pie (crust made with our wheat and butter). It’s not spam musubi, but I can’t seem get my spam trees to survive the winter so it’ll have to do;).

  26. Traci says:

    I will be cooking a huge turkey grown by my farmer friend, Jonathon. (he lives about 3 miles away, lucky me :) As well as all the traditional food my family loves, stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and apple tart. Almost everything is either grown by us or is local. I love Thanksgiving! We have friends coming from out of town for the first time in a long time and I am so excited to have an enthusiastic helper in the kitchen.

    I am counting my blessings…

    Thank you, Sharon for inspiring and informing.

    ~Traci
    Vancouver, WA

  27. FarmerAmber says:

    Ironically, our family traditions are still very rooted in the harvest. It helps that my grandparents were farmers, so the food they had on hand when the traditions were forming happened to be what was harvested in their Arkansas Ozarks area. Turkey is a staple with dressing. There are always lots of veggies made simply – green beans cooked with a little bacon, corn with a little butter, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy (from the turkey).

    That said, there are several new-comers to the meal – strawberry fluff and 7 layer salad (which could be made with local ingredients but generally isn’t). The cranberry sauce dissappeared from the table a few years ago when everyone realized that no one was eating it.

    Dessert is somewhat non-local (lots of white sugar and processed flour around local-ish fillings). We have apple pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate pie and a couple of cakes to round out the meal.

    Our contribution this year will be the sweet potatoes for the pie (from our garden) and possibly a green salad (also from our garden).

    I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

  28. DEE says:

    This is my youngest son’s first married Thanksgiving so he is having the clan over….I’m bringing the turkey as we get it from a Mennonite farming family and,traditionally, do it on the Weber grill. For once I don’t have to make the pies, yipee. Will take some sweet ‘taters from the garden and enjoy not having to do the clean up!!! That will definitely be the best part….DEE

  29. Willow says:

    We do a non-traditional vegetarian Thanksgiving. Last year it was home-cooked Indian food. This year it is Enchilada Pie, refried beans, and rice with cilantro pesto. We will have pumpkin and apple pies, though.

  30. Anne says:

    We’ll do a New England traditional Thanksgiving menu: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, turnip, rolls, cranberry jelly, apple pie, pumpkin pie. Everything very local but the flour/sugar, the spices, and the turkey — and since we’ve just joined a meat CSA that gives the option of ordering Thanksgiving turkeys, next year the turkey will be too. Since I love the New England traditional Thanksgiving menu, it’s nice that we live in New England and can easily do it all locally. :-)

  31. Shannon says:

    We’ll have cranberry sauce made from wild mountain cranberries my friend harvested, and I’ll be stuffing and baking mini pumpkins.

    I was in the grocery store last night and a little girl – about 5, I’d say – saw the beautiful pile of pumpkins and said, “Grandma, look! Pumpkins! We can make pie!”.

    Grandma – “No, we don’t make pie from pumpkins.”

    AAAAGGGGHHHH.

  32. Shira says:

    I’m planning local, small and simple. I have a chicken (next county), cherries (bought from grower), and a bag of cranberries in the freezer; parsnips and some scraps of salad stuff in the garden; potatoes, onions and garlic in the cellar; and a bottle of drinkable organic wine from California.

    I like that cranberry ginger chutney concept mentioned above, since I bought the cranberries on sale last summer. We grow cranberries in Washington state, but the small farmers have been smacked around by larger competitors elsewhere.

    I’m thinking cherry pie with kamut flour, biscuits and roast chicken, steamed mashed parsnips and a pan of roasted potatoes and garlic.

    My adult children have been very loyal for years, showing up for a roast goose on the weekend after Thanksgiving after driving around for days and eating multiple family dinners with various relatives. We’re taking a break this year.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  33. Chris says:

    Mashed Potatoes! Harvested yesterday. I am already drooling…

  34. Glenn says:

    Not for Thanksgiving, but in general. Crab cakes. Winter sports crab season is open in Western Washington. Weather permitting, I go out in our daysailor to check the pots. We sometimes get only one, not really enough to just eat with garlic butter. My wife combined ideas from several sources, including Joy of Cooking, and my suggestions of using our home grown potatoes.
    Saute onion, garlic & bell pepper (if available). mix in bowl with an egg, 1/4 C. mayo, salt & pepper to taste, 1/4 C. fresh dill & basil, 1/4 C. bread crumbs 1/2 to 1 C. mashed potatoes and a pound (more or less) of crab meat.
    Make into cakes or patties, coat in more bread crumbs, fry in oil.
    Tastes better with Red Rock Crab than Dungeness. We add more spices with Dungeness.
    In our case, the crab, garlic, onion, potatoes, dill, basil and sometimes the eggs, are all ours.

    Glenn

  35. Marilyn says:

    We’re hosting my husband’s family tomorrow and my family on Friday. We’re having the traditional holiday meal with turkey and sage dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, etc. I usually make sweet potato pies rather than pumpkin because we like them better and we always have buttermilk pie. Thanksgiving was my MIL’s favorite holiday and the buttermilk pie was her signature pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving unless we made her pie.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    Marilyn

  36. Greenpa says:

    Chestnuts, of course! :-)

    For anyone struggling with the peeling:

    This is actually new- and I think a vastly better way to peel chestnuts; no burned fingers, no bandaids from cut fingers- no shells under the fingernails-

    http://www.badgersett.com/info/chestnuts/peeling.html

  37. Eleanor says:

    Geenpa, thanks for the chestnut video. I got some chestnuts, but didn’t realize it was going to take so long to cook them or be such a big deal. So they didn’t get done. But, we can do it for Christmas now.

    We had an organic traditional dinner with a local turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing, and, of course, pumpkin pie. Now that my DD is a teen, I am teaching her how to prepare it. We had a lovely time.

    Hope everyone else had a lovely Thanksgiving.

    Happy Christmas, Chanikka, Kwanza, or what ever holiday your family celebrates next, and Happy New Year!

    El

  38. Jill says:

    We rotate homes each year. My husband and I hosted last year, my mom and dad hosted this year and my in-laws host next year. We’ve done this since for the 7 years we’ve married. The entire family gets along great and this way every gets together and no one cooks an entire meal. The host does the turkey. I always bake fresh bread and pumpkin pie. My mom does a fruit salad and apple pie. My MIL does mashed potatoes and special requests from the kids. This year I did baked butternut squash and and everyone loved it. (from the farmer’s market because our plants only produced 3 squashes and those are long gone. pathetic, I know) I’m hoping to make next year’s fare a bit more local. Christmas dinner will have our own potatoes, carrots, onions, and local butternut squash. Local apples for pie and our own pumpkins for pie.

    Eating local and in season is a new idea to the my family. I’m trying to introduce them to it and make it seem doable and affordable. I think they’re catching on…

    Jill in MI

  39. Lauren says:

    We have two Thanksgiving celebrations. My aunt and uncle host on Thanksgiving Day. They provide it all, including homemade pies and a store-bought ice cream turkey (which is NOT turkey ice cream! It’s chocolate/coffee ice cream in the shape of a turkey.) We cousins reconnect while our kidlets play. This year’s highlight was the creation of a special soup — the boys (2-9) ran around with little baskets collecting fresh mint, rosemary, lemons, pomegranates, berries.

    The day after Thanksgiving, our family hosts both sets of in-laws and my brother. My mom brings the ham and my mom-in-law brings a free-range turkey from her local co-op (300 miles away.) My mom makes yams with marshmellows and my mom-in-law makes scalloped potatoes. My dad makes clam dip. My husband makes fresh steamed green beans. I used to make deviled eggs, but someone is allergic so those went by the by. I make dessert (a crumble including chocolate chip cookie batter, fresh pears, strawberries and blueberries.)

  40. Lauren says:

    Ha ha, I just re-read my entry above, and wanted to clarify that my mom-in-law travels 300 miles to visit us, bringing a turkey from her local co-op. :-) I thought it sounded pretty strange the way it was written.

  41. homebrewlibrarian says:

    Since I don’t live anywhere near my blood kin, I celebrate the holidays with my adopted kin – the Sullivans: matron Phyllis (of 82 years and with more energy than I!), daughter Helen, son Dennis and wife Tammy and their son Harmon (and sometimes some Tammy’s other kids by a previous marriage). Phyllis cooks turkey, green bean casserole, dressing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, provides a green salad and two kinds of olives (black and green with pimiento). Sometimes she makes rolls, this year she used store bought. This year she tried a new cranberry relish that had flaked coconut in it and it was fab. I now have the recipe (even though I doubt that coconut palms will ever grow in Alaska – at least not in my lifetime…). Pumpkin pie is standard although sometimes there are other pies. Tammy brings a low-fat baked mac-n-cheese and I’m in charge of the vegies.

    This year I provided beets, grown locally, and purple brussels sprouts, grown in my garden. Phyllis and Helen are both nuts for beets and love my roasted beets dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I did something different with the sprouts though. After steaming until just done, I sliced them thinly crosswise, put the sliced sprouts in a buttered casserole dish, drizzled some melted butter over them, topped with buttered bread crumbs (the bread is made locally and I turned some leftover heels into bread crumbs) and then heated until warm. Even Dennis and Tammy, no sprout fans, enjoyed the dish and Helen took half of what was left to enjoy the next day. I still have sprouts left over so I think I might do that dish for another gathering during the holiday season.

    I, like others, have been thinking about having an all local Thanksgiving dinner (or some other holiday meal) and the only thing we wouldn’t be able to do is sweet potatoes (I’d sub with mashed potatoes and get no argument). Green bean casserole could possibly still happen but I’m not having a whole lot of luck growing beans. Well, I’d sub something else, probably something with carrots.

    Happy holidays to everyone and may your tables be surrounded by loved ones!

    Kerri in AK

  42. Sarah says:

    Persimmon bread, wild rice with pecans (though we didn’t make it this year), pumpkin pie, sweet potato spoon bread, turkey. And as of this year, squash with shallots and almond butter. Seriously: squash, shallots, almond butter, salt, pepper. Puree. Put on toast. Possibly the world’s perfect food.

  43. Wild rice with pecans? Yum!

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